Thursday, January 1, 2015

LG Ultra HD 4K LCD TVs at CES 2015: ColorPrime time


LG is touting its ColorPrime branding on its 2015 lineup of 4K LCD TVs, which includes models with Quantum Dot and others with Wide Color LED technology.

LG has already announced its Quantum Dot TV ahead of rival Samsung at CES 2015, and now the second-biggest Korean TV maker has teased its entire lineup of 4K LED LCD TVs, focusing on a technology it decided to brand "ColorPrime" -- perhaps because Optimus Prime was already taken.
LG is touting its ColorPrime branding on its 2015 lineup of 4K LCD TVs, which includes models with Quantum Dot and...

Even more confusingly, the ColorPrime brand seems to include the QD TV as well as other TVs (LG did not yet specify which ones) with "Wide Color LED technology." This "utilizes different phosphor-based LEDs to display greater color depth and more lifelike images and a 25 percent increase in color gamut." Meanwhile, LG says its quantum dots realize a 30 percent increase in color gamut.

Now is when I feel compelled to reiterate that wider color gamuts require new color specs like DCI or Rec 2020, and home video content that adheres to those specs is nonexistent today. And quantum dots or no, these are still LCD TVs, and we don't expect them to match plasma's quality, let alone that of OLED.

LG's announcement today makes no mention of OLED, sticking instead to good ol' LED LCD, but I definitely expect the company to announce new OLED TVs at CES too.

In total, LG says its 2015 4K lineup will comprise nine series of LED LCD TVs. From most expensive to least, in the US they'll be dubbed UC9, UB9800 (both are 2014 holdovers), UF9500, UF9400, UF8500, UF7700, UF6800 and UF6700.

All use LG's IPS 4K panels, a technology that in the past we've found to deliver inferior black levels and contrast compared to VA-type panels. Local dimming will be available on certain models (the release did not specify which ones) to perhaps ameliorate this issue.

Like other name-brand 4K TVs from 2014 and later, the LGs offer built-in HEVC decoding and compatibility with 60p 4K content (a.k.a. HDMI 2.0). LG has improved its webOS Smart TV suite to version 2.0, said to offer 60 percent faster bootup time as well as more customization of the launcher bar.

The five highest-end series, starting with the UB8500 and up, sport LG's "Ultra Surround System" with multichannel, forward-firing speakers developed in partnership with Harman Kardon. According to the press release, "the premium UF9500 series features an integrated Auditorium Stand designed to reflect and centralize sound for maximum performance."

LG also talks up the improved styling on the new sets, a few of which (it's unclear which ones) get CinemaScreen and UltraSlim monikers. On some select high-end sets the "cabinet depth reduces the size to just millimeters," approaching OLED's depth.

We expect to be able to publish more details on LG's new sets soon. Stay tuned, and of course we'll have wall-to-wall coverage of CES 2015 from Vegas starting the first weekend in January.