LG at CES 2014: webOS TV, 105-inch curved 21:9 TV, Lifeband Touch and more
It's over bar the shouting, the CES trade show is about to close its doors for the final time this year and it's been a great event for establishing new tech trends.
One of the major manufacturers at the heart of the new wave of home entertainment kit is LG. The Korean company used CES 2014 to unveil and launch a number of key television products that prove two things: nobody is really promoting 3D any more and if you want to ensure you are future-proofed, you'll need a UHD TV with a 4K resolution.
Here are the products LG announced and showed at CES this year that we think you need to keep an eye on.
105-inch curved 21:9 TV
One of the big concept, flag-waving products shown by LG was its 105-inch curved UHD TV with a 21:9 cinematic aspect ration and 5120 x 2160 pixel resolution.
Hugely impressive but perhaps out of reach for mere mortals. So it's debatable whether LG will actually release this set for consumers or whether it has been designed purely for the wow factor of a show floor. If a price tag is put on it, it will be massive.
One of the other big TV products from LG to debut at CES was the first to use the webOS operating system the company acquired from HP a while ago.
Powering the telly's Smart TV functionality, webOS offers an experience different from what we've come accustomed to on TVs. For a start it features an animated character named BeanBird. Shaking the magic remote that comes with the set wakes the bird up and it helps guide you through the connection and set-up process.
And instead of a screen full of apps, one of the many UI design touches of the webOS system is a Launcher that displays the numerous content options and services you have available to you.
Lifeband Touch and Heart Rate Earphones
Just about every major manufacturer and many minor ones announced a fitness band during CES 2014. LG was no exception as it unveiled its Lifeband Touch and the add-on accessory, the Heart Rate Earphones.
The Lifeband itself features a touch-enabled OLED screen that can also tell the time and alert you when you've received a text or incoming call if you link it via Bluetooth with a phone.
Combined with the LG Fitness app, the band will also provide a wealth of fitness-based statistics, including steps taken, calories burned, that sort of thing. It is also compatible with MyFitnessPal, Runkeeper and MapMyFitness too.
The Heart Rate Earphones combine with the Lifeband Touch and can track blood flow signals, translating that to sound to play in your ears while you're training, so you can hear your own heart rate. Spooky.
Like several of the other TV manufacturers appearing at CES this year, LG confirmed that it will be offering 4K Netflix on its UHD TVs.
The service will come as an option within the Netflix application that appears on compatible sets. The second season of House of Cards has already been confirmed as being available in a 4K resolution.
77-inch flexible OLED TV
While there is no doubt that the major manufacturers are to push curved TVs in the next few years, one idea that will suit all tastes is that of a television that can turn from a flatscreen to a curved display at the touch of a button.
LG's version - as Samsung also showed one during its press conference - is a 77-inch OLED display. It's also 4K, so ticks every box. Where it differs from Samsung's similar set is that there are plans for it actually to be released later this year or early next. Price though has not been discussed.
Strangely (or not, depending on your view), 3D has not really been a talking point at this year's CES. In fact, it seems that television manufacturers have agreed as one to shrug it off, certainly as a selling point. Instead, the main buzzword for 2014 is UHD (Ultra High Definition).
There has been a far greater presence for UHD TVs with 4K resolutions at this year's show, and the new format is to take off in a big way. LG has a number of sets in a few UHD ranges, with its UB9800 series being its consumer flagship.
Available in 65, 79, 84 and 98-inch screen sizes, it utilises LG's Tru-Ultra HD Engine Pro technology for upscaling and other picture performance tweaking. There's also a 4K HEVC decoder, ready to present your 4K content from H.264 or H.265 sources in both 30p or 60p.
Aside from actual products, LG also showed off its HomeChat service, a messaging technology that allows you to communicate to home appliances through texts.
The company's 2014 smart home appliance range will be HomeChat-compatible. You can text your fridge, for example, and tell it that you are going on holiday. It will therefore enter into holiday mode and save power. Or you can ask your HomBot robot vacuum cleaner to start picking up dust.
You will even be able to send pictures to different devices through HomeChat, which can be displayed on, say, the fridge door.
As is usually the way for CES, LG didn't just highlight TVs and wearable devices, it also had a healthy line-up of home entertainment kit.
Standing out among this range is the company's own entry into the speaker base market, the SoundPlate. It sits under a TV on a desktop stand and helps improve the set's own audio output. There are two models, the LAP340 with 4.1 channel output and 120W of power, and the LAB540W which adds a wireless subwoofer to the mix.
The latter device also provides 320W of power, Wi-Fi with LG Smart TV app support and an integrated 3D Blu-ray player.