LG’s 2014 TVs will be bigger, smarter, and slimmer than ever. LG has a range of new OLED TVs coming out in 2014 as well as new Ultra HD and Full HD TVs. LG is also introducing a new webOS-based Smart TV platform that looks promising. Could 2014 be the year where LG establishes itself as the leading Korean TV innovator? Here is our full 2014 LG TV line-up overview.
CES 2014 was quite a show for LG. They had everything people had hoped for; new OLED TVs, new 4K TVs, a much improved Smart TV platform, and aggressive plans to make everything available to consumers. For the first time in a decade, LG looked like the bigger brother of the two South Korean conglomerates. LG stole Samsung’s thunder and is rapidly emerging as the most innovative TV maker – if they can continue to build on their momentum.
LG is rapidly emerging as the most innovative TV maker with OLED, 4K & webOS
Let us start with the most exciting things first. LG is determined to take the lead in OLED technology and will release several new OLED TVs in 2014. First off, LG is planning to release a cheaper version of its existing curved 55” OLED TV, without the speakers in the see-through base.
Later this year, LG will release the first 4K OLED TVs with a new 77” EC980 and two 65 and 55” EC970 models, complete with all of LG’s most advanced features, including webOS. LG tell us to expect the 4K OLED TVs this autumn, which probably means that they will launch at IFA 2014 in September.
Speaking of webOS, LG has big plans. WebOS was originally developed by Palm for smartphones and later bought by HP. LG has acquired it from HP and has modified it to fit on a TV screen. It uses “cards” and is controlled with LG’s motion-enabled Magic Remote. It is a very simple and user-friendly, yet powerful interface, and certainly looks like a big improvement over LG’s old NetCast platform that never really took off.
The bad thing about webOS is that developers need to rewrite their apps, but the good thing is that it is easier than ever – at least according to LG. LG says that webOS has partial multi-tasking, which means that ten apps can be opened at the same time. This makes it easy and quick to switch between them. However, only one app can be active at any given time, meaning that you cannot listen to music while showing family photos. We hope that LG can finally create a functional and desirable Smart TV experience. One thing is certain; no one has managed to crack “Smart TV” yet.
WebOS will be available in all mid-range and high-end 2014 TVs from LG. One of the first apps to launch for the system is Netflix. Netflix and LG have partnered to make the Netflix app on webOS TVs compatible with 4K streaming via HEVC, as all of LG’s Ultra HD TVs and will support HEVC and HDMI 2.0.
An interesting aspect here is that most of LG’s Full HD TVs will also support HEVC decoding in up to 2K at 60fps. Potentially this is very interesting if streaming services such as Netflix decide to encode Full HD content in HEVC, too.
Other notable apps include YouTube, Picasa, twitter, Hulu Plus, Redbox, CinemaNow, Amazon Instant, and Pandora. Besides Netflix, LG has not announced any 4K partnerships, which means that there is still very little native content to watch on one of their new Ultra HD TVs. Hopefully that will change in the near future.
3 new Ultra HD ranges will be available, capable of streaming Netflix in 4K
LG has a range of new 2014 LED models coming out, too – with and without 4K resolution. All of them feature LG’s new webOS platform, HEVC and HDMI 2.0 inputs. They will be available in 49” all the way up to 105” sizes.
The flagship UC9 is an extra wide 21:9-format TV with a large, powerful speaker at the bottom. It will become available in late 2014 and will be expensive, but LG has you covered with three cheaper Ultra HD ranges called UB9800, UB9500 and UB8500.
LG also has a slew of new Full HD models coming out, with wildly varying features and capabilities. The most expensive Full HD TVs offer the new webOS platform, but it has been omitted in the cheaper ranges. We are basically talking about a mix of edge LED and direct LED based IPS panels with slim and elegant designs, and an almost bezel-free designs.
LG has also included several other features, including Miracast screen mirroring, DLNA streaming and MHL that lets you connect a smartphone or tablet. LG continues to go all-in on its motion-controlled Magic remote that has become more accurate in recent generations.
LG will continue to offer Cinema 3D - or in other words passive 3D. One of the clear advantages of passive 3D is that the glasses are inexpensive and require no batteries. They are flicker-free and easy on the eyes. However, passive 3D also halves the resolution of the panel, but on an Ultra HD TV you can actually enjoy a Full HD 3D experience with the same lightweight, inexpensive 3D glasses that you know from movie theatres.
LG is not really promoting 3D, but continues to offer it as a side feature, possibly because the combination of passive 3D and 4K makes it more or less as good as the much more expensive active 3D technology.
LG will launch the first 4K OLED TVs later this year. Full HD OLED TVs are out now
What is left to say? Ohh yeah, LG has a few new plasma TVs too, but it is clear that LG is not putting many resources into plasma technology at this point. The new plasma TVs are anonymous entry-level and mid-range TVs – not very interesting to say at least.
All of LG’s 2014 LED models will be available this spring together with the new cheaper OLED TVs. LG’s 4K OLED TVs will be available in Q3 or Q4.
LG EC9700 (4K OLED)
Say hello to the first 4K OLED TVs. LG will launch its first 4K OLED later this year. You should be excited.
Last year’s EA9800 will continue to sell in 2014 along with the slightly cheaper EC9700 without speakers in the transparent base. Both are considered 2013 models, so there is no webOS platform built-in.
EA8800 is also a 2013 model and LG’s only flat model that was exclusively sold in Europe. It will continue to be available in 2014 without webOS, but with extra powerful speakers in the “gallery” frame. It has also arrived in the US.