LG40 HDTV: Color Accents for the Home
LG today unveiled at CES a slew of new products across a variety of consumer electronics categories. One consistent theme across LG's product line: design. We mean design both as it relates to physical aesthetics, and design as it relates to ease of use. Here's one such example: LG's 32-inch LCD HDTV, the LG40. The LG40 has stylish accents, including a curved pedestal and red front-drop bezel. Ideal for the bedroom, home office, or den, this model helps eliminate clutter with its built-in side-mounted, slot-loading DVD player. The drive boasts three HDMI 1.3 ports with Deep Color support, LG's Clear Voice technology to enhance voice dialogue, and LG's SimpLink connectivity to control other LG equipment. See our ongoing CES coverage at http://www.pcworld.com/ic/CES/. -- By Melissa J. Perenson
PG60 Series of Plasma HDTVs
Available in 50- and 60-inch versions, this new model has a eye-catching design highlighted by its completely flush front-bezel finish. The plasma panel itself is rated for 100,000 hours of use, is ISFccc Calibration Ready, carries THX Display Certification, and has four HDMI 1.3 ports (with Deep Color support). Like some other LG devices, this model also has USB host input for viewing JPEG slideshows and listening to MP3s. Also new this year: the 50-inch and 60-inch PG30 Plasma HDTV Series, the 42- and 50-inch PG20 series (the only 720p models in LG's plasma line), and the 50- and 60-inch PG70 Series. The flagship PG70 Series, due out in the third quarter, has an optional wireless component; the 802.11n wireless will let you eliminate messy wires by allowing the cabling to go to the optional wireless box, which in turn transmits the image to the TV.
LG60 Super-Narrow LCD TV
This super-narrow 42-inch LCD model emphasizes design in its own way: It has a red back (with red accents visible from the side and front), and is super-slim (it measures 1.7 inches thick, which is notably thinner than competing LCD TVs, but not the thinnest announced at the show--that honor goes to JVC, which announced a 1.5-inch LCD TV). The LG60 Series will have 15,000:1 contrast ratio, TruMotion 120Hz technology (which is great for fast-motion action), and 24p support (for matching the output of films on Blu-ray and HD DVD). Like other models, this one has four HDMI 1.3 ports with Deep Color, a USB port for viewing JPEGs and listening to music, and Clear Voice for enhancing dialogue. The TV has integrated speakers, but you can't tell from the smooth front bezel: The speaker actuators are located behind the cabinet. The LG60 Series will be available in 32-, 37-, 42-, 47-, and 52-inch versions. The 42-inch LGX Super Slim has all the same features--but has LED backlighting.
LG75 LED Backlit HDTV
This TV shares many of the features of other LG high-def LCDs introduced at the show. Among its standout features: 120Hz technology, 24p support, four HDMI ports with Deep Color, and a sensor for automatically optimizing the brightness and color of the display. The LED backlight has local dimming capabilities (it's divided into 128 light-emitting diodes, which LG says translates into better energy efficiency and improved image quality.
New Life for Old TVs
LG showed two analog-to-digital converter boxes, both scheduled to ship in the first quarter of 2008. The box is eligible for the $40 rebate offered in the government-sponsored coupon program launched on January 1, to ease the transition from analog to digital signal when broadcasters make the switch. In the first 48 hours of the coupon program, 700,000 Americans claimed 1.4 million coupons (each household can request up to two coupons). One of the boxes LG introduced will be sold under LG's Zenith brand, and LG is making the other for a private brand. The $60 Zenith DTT900 will have composite audio/video outputs, plus V-Chip parental control and user-customizable digital closed captioning. The EnergyStar-compliant box (it requires less than 1 watt of in passive mode and less than 8 watts in active mode) will also have its own remote control, a trilingual (English, Spanish, and French) on-screen display as well as a simple electronic program guide (based on the program data encoded with the ATSC broadcast), the capability to display 4:3 and 16:9 content, and tuning for channels 2 through 69.
Digital Picture Plus DVD
LG announced its first digital picture frame at CES, joining the hordes of companies offering digital picture frames. The company also went one step further, too: Its DP889 is both a portable DVD player and a digital picture frame. The unit has an 8-inch LCD screen, integrated memory, a USB port, and a 3-in1 memory card slot for viewing photos. LG rates the battery at up to 3.5 hours, and includes both home and auto power adapters.
External Multiformat Blu-ray Burner
LG builds on its line of Blu-ray and HD DVD combo drives with an external version of its GGW-H20L. The new external GGW-E10L is also a Super Multi Blue drive that reads and writes Blu-ray discs, and has HD DVD discs. It records BD-R discs at up to 6X, and BD-RE (rewritable) discs at up to 2X. It also reads HD DVDs at up to 3X, and writes to DVD-R and DVD+R at up to 16X--which is practically on a par with the write speeds of a standalone DVD burner.
This CDMA handset is one of two prototypes LG is showing at CES. The handset uses LG's new MPH (Mobile-Pedestrian-Handheld) chipset. The chipset helps enable mobile digital television broadcasts; this prototype will be used in consumer trials in 2008. The unit has a simple whip-style antenna for VHF/UHF DTV reception.
This prototype also uses LG's new MPH chipset. The device shown here has a 4-inch screen and is intended as a personal digital television handheld gadget. Think of it as the next-generation Watchman (remember Sony's age-old attempt at creating a portable TV device that replicated the Walkman's portable audio success).
Tabletop HD Radio Audio System
The LG Tabletop Audio System PC12 represents LG's first foray into HD Radio. Due out at the end of January, this versatile, egg-shaped audio system does far more than HD Radio, though. The unit also has an AM/FM tuner, a slot-loading CD player, USB media host for playing MP3 and WMA files, and a Made for iPod Direct Docking station. The PC12 can display broadcast information, including station name, artists, and song titles. The perfect bedside companion, this amped up $199 clock/radio has alarm and sleep functions, too.
NetFlix on Your TV
On the eve of CES, LG announced its partnership with NetFlix. LG will be developing a set-top box to stream movies and other programming directly to an HDTV. The networked player is expected to ship in the second half of 2008.