LG Expands 4K Ultra HD OLED, LED LCD TV Series
LG Electronics revealed at CES 2016 in Las Vegas Tuesday an expanded lineup of 4K Ultra HDTVs supporting both high dynamic range (HDR) and wide color gamut (WCG) using both its OLED and ColorPrime LED LCD TV technologies.
Tim Alessi, LGE USA new product development director, said the company is anticipating a rapid expansion in sales of 4K Ultra HDTV models, moving from 5.8 million unit shipments in North America last year moving to nearly 100% of all TVs in screen sizes larger than 55-inches over the next 12 to 18 months.
This year, also, 4K UHD models supporting both HDR and WCG will represent a long-growing share of the market this year and beyond, and LG will be among the industry leaders driving the technology using both organic light emitting diode (OLED) and LED LCD TV displays, Alessi said.
Not surprisingly, OLED technology will be the main pillar in LG’s TV marketing plans for the year. The technology, which saw LG enjoying exclusive market share in 2015, has moved into the “categorization” stage, across both 4K UHD and Full HD resolution levels, curved screen models, flat screen models and different screen sizes.
Read more on LG’s 2016 TV lineup after the jump:
OLED TV Offerings
This year, LG is also placing its flagship 4K Ultra HD OLED model in its new “Signature” product series, which is being positioned as a “differentiated brand” that features high style and innovations. The lineup, developed by a special design team, represents a “family of products of the finest quality that delivers a sense of exclusivity to its owners,” LG said.
The LG Signature Series will launch with an OLED TV, washing machines, a refrigerator and an air purifier, and might expand to encompass other products and categories over time.
The lone Signature OLED TVs will be in LG’s G6 Series (pictured at left up top next to an E6 OLED model), offering 77- and 65-inch screen sizes. Both feature 4K Ultra HD resolution “Wall Paper Screens” that appear as a floating picture on glass and fit tightly against the wall. The sets continue the look for 360 degrees around the set, by using a glass “crystal back cover.”
Non-Signature Series OLED TV models for 2016 will include the E6 Series with 65- and 55-inch screen sizes; the C6 “Blade Slim Curved” Series in the 65- and 55-inches; the B6 “Blade Slim Flat” Series in the 65- and 55-inch screen sizes and the currently available carryover EG9100 55-inch Full HD curved screen model.
Alessi said the new E6 and the G6 OLED series “bring design to a new level,” and have been recognized with Consumer Technology Association (CTA) Innovations Awards. Picture quality attributes will be consistently high throughout the 4K UHD OLED range. The EG and G6 sets use new materials, including glass for the back cover rather than plastic or aluminum. They also have audio treatments optimized for how they look and sound hanging on the wall.
LG’s current EF9500 and EG9600 OLED models will carry through the first part of 2016 in both the 55- and 65-inch screen sizes.
Pricing of all new LG TVs will be announced later.
“From the design standpoint, we are on a quest for more and more beautiful designs with narrower bezels and slim panels and in 2016 we will see what we call Blade Slim, which will really take advantage of the new technologies both in LCD and in OLED. Some offer ultra-slim profiles and new designs,” Alessi said.
Alessi said LG will continue to promote the advantages of OLED displays over LED LCDs stressing their perfect black levels; wide viewing angles, ability to display HDR starting at .008 nits of black level up as many as 20 camera f stops of light to more the 500 nits of brightness; clear, clean light cutoff that eliminates any halo effect around bright objects; and a wide color gamut reaching 99.3% of the DCI-P3 color space used for professional digital theaters.
“HDR will be the underpinning of all the picture quality stories for OLED,” Alessi said.
4K Ultra HD LCD Introductions
In 4K Ultra HD LED LCD TV, LG is setting a tiered approach to the model line, offering a three-series upper tier called “Super UHD” that will be differentiated by performance, including the ability to handle HDR and wide color gamut at varying levels going up the line, while providing improved Motion Response, and expanded viewing angles with improved In-Plane Switching (IPS) technology. All LED LCD TVs will be edge lit.
LG’s selection of “Super UHD” as its premium tier moniker is similar to Samsung’s SUHD 4K UHD model tier that distinguishes its top performing LED TV series.
Upper-tier LCD models will include: the ability to show a billion rich colors; produce Super Luminance that boosts brightness to make bright parts of the screen brighter; new IPS panels; a 240Hz Motion Response; Color Prime LED phosphor technology producing more than 90% of the DCI-P3 wide color gamut for more life-like colors.
Alessi said the new IPS technology offers two-times better off-angle color accuracy (60 degrees), and a contrast ratio that will maintain more brightness and black level even at wider viewing angles. The UH7500 and UH8500 Super UHD LED series will use new double-layer anti-glare film optimized to reduce reflection by 45%. The flagship Super UHD UH9500 series goes a step further using triple anti-glare film layers for even better black levels and wider viewing angles.
Although LG will not have any full-array LED models in the 2016 lineup, the sets will use a combination of local dimming and some detail-enhancing algorithms to improve black levels together with a dynamic contrast circuit that analyses the TV in three dimensions, looking at depth and improving the contrast to create a better sense of reality, according to Alessi.
The UH9500 and UH8500 series will have a true 10-bit LCD panel in 2016. The company will also have an expanded assortment of models with Color Prime technology, to produce a wider color gamut, 3D color mapping and the ability to map (not fully display) colors in the Rec. 2020 color standard.
Meanwhile, the new flagship Super UHD LED TV series, UH9500, has a reduced panel depth, measuring only 6.6mm thin, and a narrow bezel treatment. LG’s Cinema Screen design has been improved in the series to offer thin bezels around all four sides of the screen, instead of just three.
All of LG’s 2016 4K Ultra HD LCDs will be HDR compatible, with different levels of HDR handling performance going up the line. At minimum all models will able to decode the PQ Gamma curve for the open base level HDR standard known as HDR 10. Ultra-Luminance is another feature that Super UHD models will include for an up to 30% boost in brightness to select areas of the screen with minimal additional draw on power, Alessi said. It will also have circuitry to boost the dynamic range from standard dynamic range source material.
All models in LG’s three entry 4K UHD LED TV series will use the company’s controversial RGBW technology that adds to the red, green and blue sub-pixels a fourth white sub-pixel that is shared by two adjoining pixels to boost panel brightness with only subtle sacrifice of color saturation. Competitors have said RGBW does not conform with the CTA’s sub-pixel standards (and others) for 4K UHD TVs and are therefore not true 4K UHD TVs. LG counters that the sets conform to other international standards for 4K performance and therefore do qualify as 4K UHD TVs.
Model series using the RGBW panels include the UH6100, UH6500 and UH7500.
The UH6100 series includes the 43-, 49, 55-, 60- and 65-inch screen sizes, all of which feature a 120 Motion Rate and slim-cabinet design.
Alessi said wide color gamut support begins in the UH6500 series this year. Basic Color Prime produces about 110% of the Rec. 709 color gamut standard for HDTV; and that translates to about 84% of the PCI-P3 recommendation for professional digital theaters.
The UH6500 series includes the 43-, 49-, 55-, 60-, 65- and 75-inch screen sizes, each of which adds Color Prime technology to boost the color gamut, and Ultra Luminance brightness boosting technology for HDR, in addition to a 120 Motion Rate, and a slim-panel design.
The UH7500 series includes the 65-, 60-, 55-, 49- and 43-inch screen sizes, all of which will feature an In-Plane Switching (IPS) LCD panel, Color Prime, Ultra Luminance-Plus, 120 Motion Rate, and ultra-slim cabinet design, and Cinema Screen three-sided slim bezel depth framing three sides of the screen with a slightly wide base trim.
The new Super UHD 4K LED LCD TV lineup will include three series:
The UH7700 will include the 49-, 55-, 60-, and 65-inch screen sizes. All models feature an IPS LCD panel, Color Prime, a Billion Rich Colors using a new 10-bit dithering technique for “close to true 10-bit results”, Super Luminance, 240 Motion Rate, and an ultra-slim cabinet design.
The UH8500 will include the 49-, 55-, 60-, 65- and 75-inch screen sizes, all of which will feature an IPS panel, new Color Prime Pro wide color gamut, Billion Rich Colors using a new 10-bit dithering technique for “close to true 10-bit panel results,” Super Luminance circuitry, 240 Motion Rate, ultra-slim panel and new Cinema Screen cosmetic with three-sided thin bezel frame.
Alessi said Color Prime Pro, found in the UH8500 and UH9500 series, goes up to about 125% of the Rec. 709 color gamut standard for HDTV and around 91% of PCI-P3 for professional digital theaters. By comparison, he said, 2016 OLED TVs will be just shy of 100% of PCI-P3.
The UH9500 series will include the 55-, 65-, 79- and 86-inch screen sizes, all of which will include IPS panels, Color Prime Pro wide color gamut technology, Billion Rich Colors with a true 10-bit panel, Super Luminance brightness boost, 240 Motion Rate an Ultra-Slim-Plus (4.4mm) panel, and new Cinema Screen design with a four-sided even-formed bezel frame.
All of LG’s 4K Ultra HDTVs in 2016 will feature the new webOS 3.0 operating system with a number of enhanced features including a new Magic Remote that adds a power button for a cable or satellite box, TrickPlay feature, a Magic Mobile Connection that can register up to five smart phones, Magic Zoom that will enlarge the picture up to 500% without distortion, 10-channel My Favorite Channels, and the ability to register specific programs display first for the viewer.
Alessi said it plans to continue supporting Full HD 1080p models in 2016, but the assortment will be significantly reduced, and the maximum Full HD screen size will be 55 inches.
“We are still talking to retailers now to sort of test and see what we should offer in Full HD. We had a couple of 60-inch models this year that we may try and carry over if the market still demands them but our FHD offering is going to be dramatically cut back next year,” Alessi said.
At CES, LG also revealed plans to support the Dolby Vision HDR format in 2016 4K Ultra HDTVs in addition to the baseline HDR 10 format called for as a minimum performance attribute for Ultra HD Alliance certification. LG is showing here this week 20th Century Fox’s The Martian on its HDR-enabled OLED TVs, using the Vidity video player from Western Digital. The popular movie has been HDR-remastered, making the film’s fantastic space scenes look even more spectacular.
LG is also showing a dark room designed specifically to display HDR video clips from deep space shot by NASA and produced by Harmonic, the official UHD partner of NASA.
LG is also demonstrating an advanced HDR broadcasting technology in cooperation with Las Vegas local broadcaster. Developed by the Advanced Television Systems Committee, ATSC 3.0 standard-implemented broadcast draws on HEVC (High Efficiency Video Code), the next generation video compression technology in the United States, and advanced frequency transmission to greatly improve picture quality.
In other news, LG said it is looking to introduce its first 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player in the second half of 2016, citing relatively low volume of compatible Ultra HD Blu-ray software to support players in the early months of the year.
Alessi said the standards were set too late for speedier chipset development. The company is also taking “a more conservative approach” in launching products as it waits to see how the market develops before jumping in.
By Greg Tarr
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