LG Electronics celebrated its status as one of the first TV brands to offer smart TVs carrying the new Netflix Recommended logo by bringing Netflix representatives to a New York press event showcasing the smart TV capabilities of LG’s webOS 2.0 platform.

Netflix has approved 11 LG models (all carrying webOS 2.0) as Netflix Recommended from the TV maker’s spring TV lineup, for their ability to offer easier app access, new smart-TV features, instant-on capability in handling apps, and prominently displaying the Netflix app after the set is turned on. Other criteria include: a dedicated Netflix button on the TV’s remote, the latest Netflix app and fast playback start.

More on LG’s Netflix Recommended TVs, OLED TVs and Wide Color Gamut 4K Ultra HD LED TVs after the break:

LG was one of seven TV brands with sets earning Netflix Recommended status. Other brands include: Hisense, Insignia, Sony, Sharp, TCL and Vizio.

LG pointed out that: “LG is the first and only brand to have 4K Ultra HDTVs designated as Netflix Recommended TV” at the time of the press conference.

Scott Mirer, Netflix device partner ecosystem VP, reminded the audience that LG was the first partner to offer Netflix streaming through a connected Blu-ray Disc player in 2008, and was the first to deliver Netflix on a smart TV the following year.

“We have a long history of working with LG, of doing things that are innovative and that helped us give our members our service,” said Mirer. “The innovation that I am most excited about is webOS, because when we started in 2008, it was with these devices that were sort of bolted onto the side. But webOS was the first time that a TV had been designed from scratch to bring network experiences into this platform in a way that was just as accessible, at parity with the traditional use cases of either changing channels or connecting things to inputs.”

Another large element in the day’s discussion was the picture quality benefits of LG’s 2015 4K Ultra HDTVs, particularly the latest OLED smart TV models.


William Cho, LG Electronics U.S. CEO, said: “We are committed to pushing the boundaries of technology… No other manufacturers are producing OLED TV, and believe me, it is not because others have not tried. But having the best picture isn’t enough. We believe that the home entertainment experience should deliver even more.”


Matt Lloyd (seated left), photography director for the new Marvel “Daredevil” series premiering on Netflix this week, said that “what’s been going on in TV far too long is that we’re forced to work to the lowest common denominator, meaning that we’ve had OLED technology on set for some time now, and we’ve looked in this monitor and had to hedge our bets – on a CRT it’s going to be this, on a tablet it’s going to be that, on Rec-709 it’s this on an extended display it’s that. You’re having to do a lot more guess work… Now we’ve taken control of the delivery again in a way that is incredibly exciting. I think [OLED] technology is going to elevate that in terms of knowing what you’re getting at home and pushing the boundaries and have the sort of strength and support you need from the viewing experience.”

LG’s 2015 Netflix Recommended models include: 65- and 55-inch EG9600 “Art Slim” curved 4K UHD OLED smart-TVs; a 65-inch UF9500 Prime Ultra HD LED TV with wide color gamut technology; 60- and 65-inch UF8500 3D Ultra HD LED-LCD TVs; 60-, 65- and 70-inch UF7700 series 4K UHD LED TVs and 43-, 49- and 55-inch UF7600 4K UHD LED series TVs. LG expects to deliver additional Netflix-recommended TVs in the second half.

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Meanwhile, LG said the webOS version 1 interface in its 2014 smart TVs will be upgraded via a free firmware update in July to add most of the capabilities of webOS 2.0 found in the new 2015 models.

The first of LG’s 2015 4K Ultra HD OLED models, the 65-inch 65EG9600, will carry an $8,999 UPP when it rolls out this month in Best Buy’s Magnolia Home Theater departments before hitting other dealers. The 55-inch 55EG9600 will roll out in May at a $5,499 UPP.


Meanwhile, Tim Alessi (pictured above), LG new product development director, stressed “the perfect blacks” that OLED TVs deliver as being a driving factor in the technology’s superior picture quality benefits over LCD.

“It’s the screen’s ability to generate black that sets the foundation for all the picture quality attributes – like color and brightness – combining to deliver an excellent overall picture. Our competition knows this to be a fact. They know that only OLED can deliver perfect blacks,” Alessi said.

The “crown jewel” in LG’s 2015 4K Ultra HD LED TV line is the UF9500 series, which offers LG’s wide color gamut technology. The LG-developed technology uses a blue LED backlight along with a new phosphor formulation to expand the color gamut approximately 25 percent over the current Rec-709 standard and approaches the Digital Cinema Initiative’s DCI-P3 color recommendation, Alessi said. The UF9500-series models feature an ultra-thin LED LCD panel, measuring less than 1.5 inches deep.

The sets also include an Auditorium stand, and an audio system developed with Harman/Kardon. The 65- and 55-inch UF9500 models are available at $4,499 and $3,699 UPPs, respectively.

Alessi told HD Guru the company elected not to introduce the 9400 series of quantum-dot enabled 4K UHD LED TVs that were announced at International CES because LG’s proprietary wide color gamut technology in the UF9500 series was felt to deliver comparable or better benefits with less intellectual property cost.

Other new 4K Ultra HD LED TVs available for the first time this spring are the new UF8500, UF7700 and UF7600 series. The UF8500 series features LG’s slim-bezel Cinema Screen design, and also includes enhanced Harman/Kardon sound.

UPP pricing is as follows:

UF8500 series 3D UHD LED with Cinema Screen:

65-inch, $3,199;

60-inch, $2,999;

UF7700 series UHD LED:

70-inch, $3,999;

65-inch, $2,999;

60-inch, $2,499;

UF7600 series UHD LED:

55-inch, $1,999;

49-inch, $1,699;

43-inch, $1,399.

By Greg Tarr

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