Not one to be upstaged by fierce rival Samsung, LG has introduced a swathe of new TVs onto the Australian market for 2013. The company is doubling-down on two new technologies -- Ultra HD, and OLED -- and isn't afraid of showing off its commitment.
Where Samsung's 2013 TV line-up was largely dominated by its premium LED and plasma TVs, with the inclusion of its 85-inch S9 'easel' UHD TV, LG is giving equal weight to its Ultra HD and OLED TVs.
LG 2013 TV: Ultra HD
LG is betting on the future of Ultra HD being the eventual successor to Full HD, and will release three Ultra HD TVs in 2013. The company made headlines in the middle of 2012 when it announced the first of these TVs, the 84-inch , pricing it at $15,999 -- not exactly cheap, but much cheaper than Sony's $24,999 84-inch UHD.
The new Ultra HD TVs are priced from $6,999 for a 55-inch Ultra HD panel, to $8,999 for a 65-inch, and peaking at $15,999 for the existing 84-inch, the new TVs will be available this year -- although no firm release date was set for the two smaller models. The 84-inch screen has been available since December 2012.
These new prices, for the 55- and 65-inch screens, are surprisingly affordable. They're extremely specialised products -- there's nothing UHD to show on them -- but the prices really only represent around a 50 per cent jump from an equivalently sized Full HD TV, which is promising.
LG 2013 TV: OLED
LG took the wraps off a 55-inch, curved OLED TV at its launch, with a screen that's designed to mimic the curvature of a human eyeball when sitting at an appropriate viewing distance. The screen is only 4.3mm thick at its edge -- although it bulges with the necessary electronics in the middle.
The company is accepting pre-orders for the TV in its native South Korea at around US$13,500 -- so a local price is likely to be in the $14,000-plus price range, although pricing and a release date hasn't been locked down just yet. That price would put the 55-inch curved OLED directly in competition with LG's 84-inch Ultra HD LED panel.
Curiously, LG hasn't said anything about a regular OLED TV launch in Australia -- not a peep. We expect that if there's a non-curved OLED TV launching in Australia in 2013, it'll be the 55-inch model announced at CES 2012, with a projected price of around $10,000. An LG representative told PC World that "at this stage, LG hasn't confirmed or ruled out a non-curved OLED for this market."
LG 2013 TV: LED and plasma
Far more relevant to the vast majority of consumers is LG's non-flagship models, the entire LED and plasma TV range. The company has 23 LED/LCD TVs ranging from $279 to $4,899, and five plasma TVs from $999 to $1,799.
Unlike in 2012, the top 2013 LED TV is not given the '9600' model number, which is being reserved for its Ultra HD panels. The top non-UHD screen is the 1080p Full HD LA8600, available in 55- and 60-inch screen sizes. This TV is a 200Hz, LED-backlit screen with LG's new 'Magic Swivel' stand, thin bezel, twin TV tuner, a built-in Skype and motion control camera, and LG's existing Cinema 3D technology. All these features generally trickle down to the rest of the range.
Stepping down from the top LED model are the LA7410 and LA7400, which are 60- and 55-inch panels respectively. The LA7410 is a 'Slim & Narrow Design' television while the LA7400 inherits the top model's Magic Swivel stand and nearly-borderless Cinema Screen design.
Down in the sweet spot of LG's TV line-up, the company's mass-market appeal comes from its LA6620 and LA6230 Cinema 3D TVs. The LA6620 is the classier model of the two, with the Cinema Screen thin bezel, and will be available in 55-, 50-, 47-, and 42-inch sizes. The LA6230 is available in 60-, 55-, 50-, 42-, and 32-inches, and has a slightly thicker border around the screen. Both TV series are 100Hz LED edge-lit LCDs that have all of LG's Smart TV software built-in.
The rest of LG's 2013 TV line-up is not Cinema 3D. The LN5710 -- 60-, 55-, 47-, and 42-inch -- has Smart tech inside, while the lesser LN5400 -- 50-, 42-, 39-, and 32-inch -- does without. The company is also releasing five non-Full HD screens in smaller screen sizes, with no Smart or Cinema 3D tech -- the 32-inch LN541B, the 27- and 22-inch MA53D, and 26- and 22-inch MA33D.
Mirroring every other TV manufacturer's slow but inevitable shift away from plasma TVs, LG only has a grand total of five plasmas in its 2013 line-up. The 60-inch Full HD PH6700 -- there's also a 50-inch -- is a bang-for-buck favourite at $1799, and has the Smart TV and Active (not Cinema) 3D tech of competing LG LEDs and Samsung plasmas in its price range. There's a non-Smart Full HD PN6500 in 60- and 50-inch, and a non-Smart non-Full HD 50-inch PN4500 which will open the bidding at $999.
All of LG's 2013 Smart TVs from the LA6620 upwards will include the company's motion- and voice-controlled Magic Remote controls, with premium models getting a stainless-steel finished Magic Remote Premium. Lesser Smart models are compatible with an optional Magic Remote which can be purchased separately.
LG has only included a built-in video camera in its top LA8600 Full HD LED TV, with an optional camera able to be purchased for any of its Smart range including the Ultra HD and OLED screens. Skype is included as an app on the Smart TV feature-list, and the cameras can be used to track a user's hand motions for remote-free control.
All of LG's 2013 TVs will be released at various times from May onwards, with premium models and larger sizes generally hitting stores later in the year than the cheaper, mass-market models.
LG 2013 TV: Ewan McGregor
As a bonus, the Korean electronics giant has signed actor Ewan McGregor on to star in a series of commercials to promote its new televisions, with a focus on the premium Ultra HD and OLED screens. The actor was in Sydney to promote the launch, and was happy to speak candidly about his role in the commercials -- he told the assembled crowd his job was "just to say they're f**king good tellys."