LG Magic Remote and Kinect-type sensor pictures and hands-on
The 2012 TV line up from LG isn't just about screen technology. One of the most interesting things that the company is up to in the AV space is in developing how we might want to control our sets from now on. Like Samsung, LG is now all about gesture, voice and simply waving your arms.
The first, more obvious, part of the experience is with the LG Magic Remote. Previously, consumers have been able to use the thing as a pointer, much like a Wiimote, but now you can talk to it as well. While we're not convinced that voice control is entirely relevant in TV watching, it was hugely impressive that the system managed to figure out what we said correctly in five out of our five attempts, in our plummy English accent and in a packed, noisy conference centre.
Much like voice entry on Android phones, the Smart TV platform offers you the choice of hitting a little microphone icon next to text entry fields, and on the soft keyboard, to take up the voice option at which point you have to talk to the Magic Remote as if it were a microphone.
As impressive as that was though, what we found more stunning was the hands-free control system as supplied by LG's version of the Kinect sensor which you can plug in as an accessory to your telly. It takes some getting used to but it's a one hand operation with your palm open to move around a pointer. Once you've found something you want to select, you close your hand into a fist and open it again to effectively click it.
Much like a computer cursor, you can also keep your fist clenched and use the system to drag and drop as well as pan through menus. It's not fully ready at the moment but the added ability of turning up and down the volume by moving your hand in circles will also be joined by switching channels by waving to one side or the other.
It's not perfect yet. Indeed, it may never be, but it's certainly interesting and fun to use. Quite whether the novelty would ware off in the long term is another thing.