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LG's futuristic TVs

LG previewed its latest TVs in Auckland this week, highlighting a couple of interesting telly trends in the process.

The Korean company's headline new set is a curved OLED TV that supports a 4K (or ultra high definition) picture on its 77--inch display. It is - or will soon be - the biggest telly  available in NZ that includes all of these state-of-the-art features.

If you want to keep ahead of the Joneses, this is your television.

A price has yet to be set, but LG Electronics NZ national marketing manager Glen Chean tells NBR it will be in the region of $30,000 to $40,000.

That's a reasonable wallop for the privilege of being first on your block with a giant, curved OLED 4K TV.

And neither was it perfect. The set being demo'd midweek had some motion artefacts, or thin black lines raking across the screen during fast-motion sequence of the Walking With Dinosaurs (I'll give LG the benefit of the doubt there was still some setup tweaking to be done).

Almost all reviewers are convinced OLED screens provide the best possible picture. OLED (or organic light emitting diode) TVs don't have any LED backlighting. Each pixel, essentially provides its own light. That allows for amazing contrast (whiter whites and blacker blacks). Certainly, it knocks me over.

Previously, you've had to choose between an OLED TV or a 4K - at least is you want a large screen. LG's new flagship set combines both with it monster 77-inch display. 

A couple of provisos: as yet, there's little 4K content (4K, or Ultra High Definition, has four times the resolution of HD or High Definition). It will likely be years before content makers adopt 4K as standard (so far, there's only a smattering of showpony content). And we're some time away from broadcasters like Freeview and Sky TV supporting it.

And I'm still not completely sold on the curved design LG is using for a number of its OLED TVs, whose screens bend at a 5 degree angle.

LG says the curved design is inspired by the fact the human eye doesn’t see lines as straight, but at a 4.7 to 5 degree angle on the horizon line. Replicate that angle on a television, and you’ll get a more immersive feel, the thinking goes.

And it works, but only if you sit in the “money seat”, front and centre, at just the right distance.

Sit anywhere else, and it doesn't feel so right. 

LG also previewed its new Hybrid TV (from $1499 with a 42-inch display). The Hybrid is being billed a the first TV with a built-in decoder that can handle terrestrial and satellite Freeview.

It's also got 5GB (gigabytes) of storage built in. That's convenient, but limited. For context, even budget PVRs have 250GB; Sky TV's My Sky HD+ has 1 terabyte or 1000GB.

LG's Mr Chean points out you can also plug in a hard drive, giving you storage options all the way up to 4TB. 

His company also provides a free cloud storage option of up to 5GB, with paid add-ons in the works. For me, this is the most exciting bit. Through in some more realistic capacity, and a UFB connection, and you can say goodbye to any real-life recorder, whether it's inside your TV or sitting on top of it.

Smart TV apps and the cloud are looming larger in its future since its purchase of Web OS.

Potential partners are circling. Mega's marketing man, Finn Batato, was in attendance at LG's Tuesday night event, for example - returning the favour after Mr Chean headed to Dotcom Mansion for the Good Times launch.

There was a small splash of co-marketing around Good Times, with LG logos appearing on banners for Dotocm's new CD in JB Hi-Fi stores.

But as for a rumoured tie-up with the Dotcom-founded Mega online storage service, or a Mega app being pre-installed on LG TVs or smartphones, Mr Chean says he's closely monitoring various developments in the cloud and app markets, but it's not something he's considering at this point.

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Comments and questions

I don't think my family would appreciate it if I sit in the money seat. No risk of spending that sort of money on. TV anyway.

The first big plasma TV's were around the same price when they came out. In fact the first ones when I was at Monaco had big noisy fans. They typically got sold to wealthy individuals who didn't pay retail.

Absolutely. I was editor of home theatre title >>FFWD when the first wave of plasma TVs hit NZ - $20K for a 40-inch widescreen.

Today you can get an LG 50-inch plasma from JB Hi-Fi for $599.

With the Hybrid TV, how many tuners does it have.

I struggle sometimes with my TIVO that only has 2 so I am not sure how people with MySky+ make do with just 2(?).

I note the new TIVO's in the US have 6 tuners

It is sad the quality and innovation included in the modern TV set is not reflected in the quality and innovation of programmes that they screen.

I would not pay $40,000 to watch rubbish, regardless of the definition.