When we visit LG Electronics' booth at next week's Consumer Electronics Show, we expect to see a TV lineup that features some smaller-sized (55 and 65 inches) Ultra High-Definition (UHD) TVs, new features in its smart TV platform, an updated version of its gesture-based Magic Motion remote, and an all-LED LCD TV lineup that no longer includes any LCD sets with fluorescent (CCFL) backlights.
While we also expect to see demos of LG's 55-inch OLED TV, which was previewed at last year's CES, the set—which still has no price—won't actually be available until later in the year. (See our video, CES 2013 preview: What's ahead for TVs, for more information on what we expect to see at the show.)
For 2013, LG is also doubling its lineup of Google TVs this year, with two new series. Plasma sets remain in the picture for 2013, though LG has scaled back its assortment with just five models spread across three series.
For those looking for the latest technology, the 55- and 65-inch UHD TVs—which have resolutions of 3840x2160, four times the number of pixels as a standard 1080p (1920x1080) set—will join LG's larger 84-inch model, which was introduced late in 2012. Although prices won't be announced until CES, we expect these smaller sets to be priced well below the $20,000 commanded by the 84-inch model.
Smart TVs—and getting smarter
For its 2013 smart TV lineup, LG has updated its "dashboard" interface with new customizable "cards" that act as folders for organizing apps and other content. As we previously reported, the Magic Remote has be redesigned to include new "Voice Mate" technology, an enhanced voice-control feature that responds to more natural language commands when performing searches.
Another new feature on LG's smart TVs is called SmartShare, which uses a variety of options (including WiDi and Miracast) to mirror or transfer content from a portable device to the TV. The new 2013 smart TVs will also include Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to connect devices simply by touching an NFC-enabled smart phone or tablet to the NFC sticker on an LG Cinema 3D Smart TV. All smart TVs this year have dual-core processors.
Here are the models with LG's smart TV platform, starting with the entry-level models and moving up through the flagship UHD TV:
- The LN 5600 series has just a single 27-inch 60Hz 1080p model, with an edge LED backlight. The set doesn't have the Magic Remote, though it can be added as an option.
- The LN 5700 Series, in 32-, 39-, 42-, 47-, 50-, and 55-inch screen sizes. All are 1080p sets with direct-LED backlights, and all but the 32-inch sets have 120Hz technology. The Magic Remote is an option for these sets as well.
- The LN6100 Series appears to be the same as the LN5700 series, except it's available in only in a 60-inch screen size.
- The LA6200 series is the start of the 3D smart TVs. Offered in 42-, 47-, 50-, 55-, and 60-inch screen sizes, these are 1080p 120 Hz sets that use direct-LED backlights, and LG's passive 3D technology. Once again, the Magic Remote is an option.
- The GA6400 series sets—one of the LG's two Google TV series in 2013—are offered in 42-, 47-, 50-, 55-, and 60-inch screen sizes. These 1080p 120Hz sets have edge LED backlights, and come with a version of the Magic Motion remote control that includes a built-in QWERTY keyboard.
- The LA6500 series--the start of LG's new "Cinema Screen" design with a minimal bezel and a "Magic Stand" design intended to give the screen the appearance of floating—consists of just a single 27-inch model. The 1080p 60Hz set has an edge-lit LED backlight and the Magic Motion remote, but it's the only model going forward without 3D.
- The LA6900 series, in 47, 50 and 55-inch screen sizes, are 1080p 120Hz sets with edge LED backlights that can be locally dimmed.
- The LA7400 series sets, with 47, 55 and 60-inch screens, have the same features as the LA6900 except a faster 240Hz refresh rate.
- The GA7900 series models, available in 47- and 55-inch screen sizes, are the step-up Google TVs in LG's lineup. They are similarly featured, except they have a faster 240Hz refresh rate.
- The LA8600 series is LG's flagship 1080p series, offered in 55- and 60-inch screen sizes. These models have edge LED backlights with local dimming, a 240 Hz refresh rate, a pop-up HD webcam (for Skype), and come with the Magic Motion remote.
- The LM9600 series is where the 84-inch UHD TV resides, a carry-over model form last year. It isn't yet clear if the two smaller-sized UHD TVs will join this series, or if they'll be part of a new one. We expect all to have 3840 x 2160 resolution, 240Hz technology, edge LED backlights, and 3D, and come with the Magic Motion remote.
That's pretty much the round-up of LG's smart TV platform for 2013, though we hope to attach pricing to these sets after the LG press conference. We'll be filing a separate report on the details of LG's plasma line-up, as well as its non-smart TV LCD TVs, so check back later for more details.
Visit our CES 2013 page at ConsumerReports.org for all our coverage.
—James K. Willcox