LAS VEGAS -- By introducing, at the Consumer Electronics Show here Monday, a new line of cinema 3-D television sets with higher-resolution, bigger screens and a "smart TV ecosystem" designed to turn TV more and more into an Internet platform, LG Electronics committed a major piece of its future -- and to some extent, the whole consumer electronics industry -- to 3-D TV.
This is looking like a safer gamble than a year ago, when analysts predicted slow sales for 3-D TV and perhaps a fading of the 3-D "fad."
But, according to research firm NPD's DisplaySearch unit, 3-D TV sales by the end of 2011 had exceeded 21 million, with at least 15 million anticipated this year. The percentage of LCD TV sales for 3-D by the end of the third quarter 2012 is expected to approach 25 percent.
This is all good news for LG, whose new 3-D TVs are looking bigger and fancier than ever before, led by the 55-inch class (54.6-inch diagonal) 3D OLED TV and the 84-inch class (84.04 inch diagonal) 3D Ultra Definition (UD) TV, Its "fully matured" Smart TV ecosystem, according to Wayne Park, president and CEO of LG-North America, contains more than 1,200 apps and premium 3-D content.
"The 3D and Smart TV revolution is just beginning and LG is committed to convincing consumers the world over that these technologies are the future, not just a fad,” said Havis Kwon, President and CEO of LG Electronics Home Entertainment.
Indeed, consumers might no longer have a choice, Along with companies like Panasonic and Samsung, whose pricing strategies have become more aggressive and whose 3-D technologies are increasingly cost-efficient, LG is flooding the market with more 3-D options while de-emphasizing 2-D TV. Indeed, in Monday's dawn press conference at the Sands Convention Center, attended by more than 2,000 media early-birds, not one two-dimensional mention escaped the LG executives touting the company's new gadgets.
"Life's still good at LG, and the best is yet to come," said Park.
On the other hand, the 3-D revolution still faces a measure of consumer resistance. According to the most recent Nielsen survey, 57 percent of consumers insist they won't buy a 3-D because they still dislike 3-D glasses. And Deloitte, the consulting firm, reports that 83 percent of TV buyers remain indifferent to a television's 3-D capabilities. As Dorothy Parker might have said, "You can lead a viewer to 3-D, but you can't make himm peek."
Meanwhile, among the other emphases of the LG presentation was the new top of LG's smart mobile phone line, called "Spectrum." Tim O'Brien, LG's marketing vice president for mobile phones, was especially proud of the Spectrum's 1280/720 "true" HD resolution on a 4.5-inch display, with a 16:9 aspect ratio.
O'Brien, using a video clip of ESPN sportscaster Stuart Scott, demonstrated the Spectrum's upgraded display and introduced the exclusive ESPN Score Center application -- one of many apps -- available in the new phone. Scott called viewing sports highlights on the tiny but crystal-clear HD screen an "I'm-never-going-back [to standard resolution] moment."
The Spectrum, among its numerous other attractions, operates on Android 2.3 Gingerbread (Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade available the first half of 2012), with support for Google Mobile Services including Gmail, YouTube, Google Talk, Google Search, Google Maps and access to more than 300,000 downloadable Android apps.
Spectrum supports Dolby® Digital Plus, which can stream up to 7.1 channels of surround sound through home entertainment systems.
Perhaps the funkiest innovation introduced Monday by LG was the "Blast Chiller" feature in its new "smart" refigerator. The "groundbreaking"
Blast Chiller, according to Ellis Mass, brand product manager for home appliances, offers "instant total gratification," with the ability to cool down a lukewarm can of beer to brain-freezing cold in temperatures in only five minutes.
LG's new fridge -- after a little touch-screen data entry -- can also "manage" a family's diet by keeping track of the food inside, the calories and expiration date of each food item, the dietary regimen of each family member, recipes for meals possible from the ingredients of the fridge, and an interface with an LG's "smart" kitchen range that gets the stove started early on preheating for the meal that the refigerator has planned for family dinner.
Going beyond this dream kitchen, Mass added, “LG has not only upgraded individual technologies for each product, but has also greatly enhanced connectivity throughout the home. By creating new possibilities for chore management, such as allowing consumers to monitor washing machines through their TVs or smartphones, LG is enabling homeowners to rethink the concept of household chores.”To read EE Times' full CES coverage, please visit here.