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Smart appliances, big TVs on deck at LG

LG's 2013 product lineup includes NFC-equipped home appliances and a $12,000 TV

  International CES 2013 opens tomorrow, but LG used its press conference on Monday to drive home its new tagline: "Touch the smart life."

What does that phrase mean, exactly? Well, for LG, the "smart life" encompasses a slew of devices that you can interact with in the home or on the go. From washing machines that diagnose their own problems to TVs you can talk to, LG aims to make its electronics more interactive this year.

Appliances get smarter

Internet-connected ovens, refrigerators, and washing machines are nothing new, but LG is ramping up its appliances' intelligence with near-field communication capabilities.

Each appliance in the company's 2013 lineup is equipped with an NFC tag you scan with your smartphone to connect to the devices. After your refrigerator (or washing machine, robotic vacuum, or oven) is synced to your phone, you can control the appliance remotely.

The possibilities of remote appliance control are endless. Send the vacuum on a cleanup mission around the house while heading home from the office. Diagnose a washing machine's maintenance issue without calling in a professional. Can't remember if you have ketchup? Check your fridge's inventory on your phone while at the grocery store.

LG Chief Technology Officer Scott Ahn at the Monday press conference said "consumers are not embracing" smart appliances because connecting the devices is "almost rocket science." Price is also a factor, but Ahn didn't mention what the NFC-equipped appliances will cost.

Ahn said NFC tagging is designed to walk buyers through the process of setting up their new appliances and connect all of their devices. The NFC-enabled 2013 product lineup will hit stores later this year.

TVs get larger, more expensive

LG's press conference wasn't all smart ovens and connected washing machines. The company finally gave us the price and release window for its OLED televisions, which will be available in March for a mere $12,000.

LG also spoke more about its plans for Ultra HD. By working with content providers such as Disney, LG hopes to increase the amount of 4K content available. Even with these partnerships, however, it will be some time before we see an abundance of available 4K content that takes full advantage of these ultra high-resolution displays.

Though most other companies have moved away from the platform, it looks like LG is giving Google TV another shot. The company's latest Google TV offering runs the latest version of the Google TV OS, and uses LG's new Magic Remote. The Magic Remote allows you to control your TV using gestures, and features a built-in microphone that uses natural dictation software to understand your commands without you having to speak like a robot. Think Siri, without the unnecessary sass.

Last, but not least, is LG's Laser TV: A projector that serves up an image up to 100-inches in full HD. What helps set this TV apart from other projection televisions is the fact that it's a smart TV, and the unit can be as close as 22 inches from the surface you are projecting on. LG's Laser TV looks like it might be a must-have for people looking for the complete movie theater experience, and we'll hopefully hear more about it once the show floor actually opens.

For more blogs, stories, photos, and video from the nation's largest consumer electronics show, check out our complete coverage of CES 2013.


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