LAS VEGAS — 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 programs.”
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 notice.”
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.)
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