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CES 2014: Curves of LG Electronics UHDTV model merit a ‘Wow’

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LG Electronics Inc. (KRX:066570) may have placed second behind Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (KRX:005935) in the lively revenue competition among global flat-panel television brands last year, but the South Korean companies finished in a dead heat in the industry-recognition race in the video-displays category at the 2014 International CES in Las Vegas this week.

LG and Samsung each was honored with one of the 20 Best of Innovations awards and five of the 11 Innovations Design and Engineering awards in the video-displays category, mostly for ultra high-definition televisions (UHDTVs) on exhibit at the world’s largest annual consumer-electronics technology trade show that runs through Friday.

The awards are made in the context of a competition recognizing outstanding design and engineering in consumer-electronics products, according to the CES-sponsoring Consumer Electronics Association.

LG’s award-winning TVs at CES 2014

Recognized with both a Best of Innovations award and an Innovations Design and Engineering award was LG’s 77-inch curved organic-light-emitting-diode (OLED) UHDTV (77EC9800).

Recognized with Innovations Design and Engineering awards were LG’s 105-inch curved UHDTV with a 21:9 aspect ratio (105UC9), 65-inch UHDTV (65UB9300), 55-inch UHDTV (55UB9500), and OLED TV with Gallery Mode (55EA8800).

Before CES 2014 began, LG showcased its 105-inch curved UHDTV in a company blog post last week.

OLED and UHDTV technologies: Ideas whose times have come?

Speaking of display technologies associated with LG’s dual-award winner, H.H. (Hyun-hwoi) Ha, CEO and president of the firm’s Home Entertainment Co., said in a statement Wednesday: “It has been widely predicted that 2014 will be the year that the OLED TV market will finally take off. With a solid foundation of [research and development] and the establishment of advanced manufacturing facilities in strategic countries around the globe, we are confident that LG can and will drive the market for OLED TVs going forward. This year will also see the launch of outstanding new [UHDTVs].”

LG said in the same statement it had introduced its share of world firsts in OLED TV displays, initially flat, then curved, and now flexible. According to the company: “Using the accompanying remote, the curvature of the flexible OLED TV display can be altered to suit the viewing situation and environment, such as number of viewers and viewing distance. Since the curvature is adjustable, audiences can enjoy the best TV viewing experience possible.”

LG also said it is looking to drive the UHDTV market with a lineup of models ranging in size from 49 inches to 105 inches, adding it has plans for “more affordable TV products, enabling a wider audience to enjoy the incredible immersive qualities of 4K entertainment.” So-called 4K UHDTVs have more than 8 million pixels of resolution, four times the resolution of their predecessor HD sets.

The global marketplace may or may not eventually embrace curved, flexible, and OLED TVs, but UHDTVs appear to constitute an idea whose time either has come or is coming. Of course, both the costs to producers and the prices to consumers will have to be cut drastically before mass adoption on the hardware side. And, of course, more content will have to be made available on the software side. But isn’t that par for the technological course?

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