8am in the bowels of the Venetian Hotel, Las Vegas, and the aroma of poorly rested technology journalists hangs heavy in the air. LG is kicking off CES 2011 and the room is packed beyond capacity, self-important cameramen jockeying for position with scant regard for their (or anyone else’s) wellbeing.
‘Smart’ is the word we’ll be hearing most here. Smart TV piques our interest the most, of course, and LG announces Smart TV as an entirely new platform for interactive TV. A new dashboard, featuring apps (from the brand-new LG apps store) and premium content from a plethora of providers, tidies up the look, offers a more comprehensive experience and a more intuitive interface.
LG has struck out on its own where 3D TV is concerned. Insisting that its research confirms consumers far prefer passive 3D to its pricier (but higher-resolution) active alternative, its 2011 range of ‘Cinema 3D’ TVs is weighted heavily towards passive 3D technology – and, for the first time, from screen sizes beginning at just 32in.
There’s no denying LG’s contentions that a) people are used to passive 3D from their experience at the cinema and b) there’s no effective difference between passive and active technologies when watching Sky’s 3D broadcasts – after all, Sky is the major driver of 3D in this country.
The fact that LG is continuing to offer active 3D sets too is spun, inevitably, as a gesture towards consumer ‘choice’ – but I can’t help thing LG is simply wary of putting all its eggs in one basket. If you’re convinced of consumers’ preference for passive 3D – and given its advantages (particularly its relative lack of expense, the expendability of the 3D glasses and the reduction in crosstalk) it’s certainly plausible – then have the courage of your convictions.
[EDIT - Later in the day, at a separate LG Displays event, senior company officials claimed that its active-shutter 3D TVs would be phased out 'very soon']
LG is also displaying a prototype of that holiest of Grails, 3D TV without glasses, as well as a 31in OLED 3D TV and 3D projector. What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision is taking a VIP tour of the LG stand later today (that’s ‘the middle of the night’, UK-time) and will report back with further details.
But for now, the LG press conference is over – journalists hot-foot it to their next appointment and the cameramen charge to the front of the room with the sort of cavalier regard for their own (or anyone else’s) safety for which their profession is legendary.