— LG Electronics is making
their 4KTVs smart and incorporating access to Netflix’s 4K content, the company
said today as CES begins in Las Vegas. LG’s 2014 4KTVs, aka
Ultra HD TVs, will use the company’s webOS Smart TV platform to
support 4k content streaming from Netflix. LG acquired the webOS open source
technology from HP last February.
LG said its new 4KTV line will comprise 12 models with integrated HEVC 60p
decoders to handle 4K, for which there has yet to be established a distribution
standard. The LGs are said to decode broadcast signals in both H.264 and HEVC H.265
formats, in either 30p or 60p. All 14 models are being debuted at CES.
LG notes that the webOS interface allows “users” to “move back and forth between
services in a more intelligent manner enabling smoother, faster transitions between
screens. Additionally, the webOS’s Live Menu offers a variety of information, features
and content including TV show recommendations, a search bar and previously viewed
Netflix is in the running to be the first over-the-top TV provider to do 4K
streaming when it launches the second season of “House of Cards” next month. Amazon has also announced that
Amazon Studios will produced in 4K, and YouTube has committed to supporting 4K.
Traditional TV providers—broadcast, cable and satellite—have yet to determine
if and how they may deliver 4K content, and at what specific resolution, format
and color depth (8-bit being considered by many to be insufficient).
The LG announcement does not mention the bandwidth necessary for a broadband
connection to be able to stream 4K, just that, “Internet connection and certain subscriptions required and sold
separately. Content and services vary by product and are subject to change without
4KTVs, which the Consumer Electronics Association dubbed “Ultra HD TVs” last
year, possibly to avoid association with the failed marketing of 3DTVs, have
just started infiltrating the market. The CEA’s economist and director of
research, Shawn G. DuBravac said 60,000 4KTVs were sold in the United States
last year, and that 500,000 are expected to move in 2014, according to Variety.
Set prices currently range from $150,000 for Samsung’s 110-inch 4KTV to less
than $1,000 for a 50-incher from Chinese manufacturer TCL. (See “McAdams
On: A New Year, a New $150,000 TV Set” for more on 4KTV pricing trends.)
Image from evleaks.