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LG TV - 2024 Lineup Post-CES Interview

LG introduced a whole lot of screen innovations and updates at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and here we go through many of them with product specialist Erik Svalberg, including the 2024 standard lineup, the Alpha 11 processor, AI, gaming specifics, the M wireless model, or the futuristic T transparent variant.

Audio transcription

"Hi Gamereactor friends, CES in Las Vegas is now over but we still have time to talk some of the interesting products that we learned about and some of the many of them. One company that introduced a lot of products and a lot of interesting, even futuristic products was LG and today we have the pleasure to talk with Erik, thank you so much for joining us, about all things LG TV, right? So first of all, before we talk present, I wanted to ask you about future because I was completely amazed by the transparent screen you guys introduced, the T series if I'm correct, in this year's show. So what can you tell us about this? How can we picture it? For what uses and how can we expect transparent screens to be part of our lives in the future?
Well I think that product in particular, I know you say it's a bit of a future vision or a vision into the future, to us it's very much aligned with kind of the problem we've been struggling, not just looking towards the future but actually for the last many years. One of the biggest issues with TVs is that we notice the screen size is getting larger and this clashes for many people with the concept of interior design and how they want to decorate their home because let's face it, when the TV is off in a traditional sense, when the TV is off, you basically just have a huge black rectangle on your wall and for those of us who are tech nerds, we love to have all our gadgetry on display and we like to show it off but that might not be what they want for their living room or for their family room. So that's been one of the struggles and if we look way back to the CRT TVs that were just huge and thick and these gigantic boxes, obviously the transition to flat screens has gotten people more conscious of how you can make it look a bit more elegant, look a bit better and that's why for the last few years or last many years, I'd say the last decade or so, especially with OLED, we have been working a lot to sort of make it a bit classier, make it a bit more elegant. Now one area where you see this is of course with the gallery design that we started with a few years ago, now the G-series, the M-series which is completely wireless so you can get all of those devices stashed away in a shelf, a bookshelf or something like that, off to one side, get away from this traditional TV bench. But the T-series is actually an extraordinary example of another way you can go with this, which is what if we just eliminate the element of the black rectangle? The big black mirror, right? So I can imagine a use for it for example on museums where you put the screen on top of something happening in the background of course and then you use the transparent part of it to overlay but at home I just imagine people watching from both sides but of course that makes sense for some type of content, not for others. So we'll see, we're pretty excited to see it working in the future. Let's talk present or at least near future, right? So we have been in love with LG TVs, OLED TVs for a good while, we're in love with the G3 and we've been in love with the several C models. So what can you tell us about the 2024 models that you guys introduced and how they differ from what we've been seeing in the past year, both for tech savvy people and for those who are just looking to buy a new TV this year and why should they be waiting for the new lineup?
Absolutely, well I mean in one way you could say it is a very natural progression throughout the entire lineup. We will still have a B-series, a C-series, a G-series and an M-series and the M-series I think is going to be seen a lot more. This year the M-series was just introduced, or sorry, previous year the M-series was just introduced. We were kind of showing the concept, trying to get people to just understand what it was and I feel it's going to come in much more like a real product or a more widely adopted product this year. It's obviously still a very exclusive model but it will hit the market in a different way this year. The G-series continues and these two TVs will kind of work, these two models will work a bit in tandem because obviously for the M-series you have this fantastic zero connect solution, the ability to just have all your stuff somewhere else and like not even need a TV bench, not even if you have you know like many of us at home with maybe two or three video game consoles that you want to have all connected at the same time and you can actually have them stashed away somewhere that isn't right below the TV. But outside of that, the G-series and the M-series are basically the same TV, the same display technology, the same processor, you know, you name it. Now for those models we have a completely new AI processor. We've worked in the past and you guys are familiar of course with the Alpha 7 and the Alpha 9 series. We introduced also the Alpha 5 for our mid and entry level TVs but this year we're introducing an Alpha 11 processor and it does some pretty exciting stuff. Now I mentioned it's a gradual evolution of the concepts that we've worked with in the past which is things like keeping an accurate rendition of for instance cinematic content, being true to what that movie is supposed to look like, not just do some upscale circus show where all of the colors are saturated and yes the details are maybe detailed but maybe they're completely wrong. So our focus is still on getting an accurate picture and our focus is that if you are for instance a movie lover then you want to get your TV to show what the cinema would have shown. And for that the Alpha 11 has some really interesting tech. One of the most interesting ones to me is the fact that it can actually understand color composition. So in the film business there are certain conventions when it comes to color compositions, how you use them in a narrative sense and for instance if you add a blue filter here or if you have you know red shades on one side of the screen and then green shades on the other side of screen, all of these things matter to where the director is trying to put your attention or what emotion the director is trying to give you. And having a processor that can actually take all of that theory into account which is basic color psychology programmed into a chip. It's kind of crazy but it means that it can actually recreate the image and upscale the image and where maybe another processor might not really understand why that certain green tint was there and in some case might change the picture, it will actually understand the purpose for those for the color composition and maintain it and enhance it and help out to recreate what that content should have looked like. The way it would have looked like if you had you know your perfect completely lossless 4k blu-ray player with you know which let's face it we're all streaming. Yeah not anymore right?
Where we can and since we don't have that perfect content to begin with this processor is doing a lot for that. So let me try and get this right. So this this new Alpha 11 processor which of course you're introducing also in the T-series if I'm correct right? That we mentioned as well. You know what I'll have to confirm when it comes to the actual specs on that one. So you told me a bit about this AI process that it utilizes to make it more like the creators want it right? So how are you sort of consulting for this or are you sticking to some sort of format or you just because we are talking about AI so what does the model do? Is it learning from from you know movie creators in a way or how do you educate the model? So you might have heard us talking about our processors with you know Gen 5, Gen 6, Gen 7. The generation refers actually to which generation of AI algorithms they're using. Now the AI is trained by using different types of content in different levels of compression from different sources and it's basically trained to compare the upscaling to the end result that it should be obtaining by having the original content the untouched sort of lossless content as reference. So year after year we're training this AI to sort of basically use regular machine learning, deep learning to figure out which algorithms are giving it the best result and getting it the closest possible to that lossless content that it actually started out as. So it is working towards sort of recreating and understanding from the get-go what the end result should look like. So the idea is having basically a processor that when you feed it content it doesn't go through some standardized process it actually studies the content you give it, figures out what that content would have looked like if it had never been compressed or if it had never been distorted and then runs the algorithms that's going to get it to that point and that's sort of the basis behind you know everything that we speak about as AI processing. Then of course depending on which processor you have you'll have maybe more power, more resources for it to give a better result. It might be able to study or split up the screen into smaller details and give a more focused result. So that's obviously where these different steps come in. The five, this year actually not seven, eight because we've sort of given it a rebranding the Alpha 7 because it's so much closer to the Alpha 9 series."

"It carries so many of those features, so many of that capacity. The Alpha 9 is still around and then the Alpha 11 added on top of that.
Alright and going back to the lineup you mentioned several, I know you want to talk about M, you mentioned it several times and even though I thought you know transparent is very futuristic I think wireless signal sending is also very interesting and of course getting rid of so many cables I currently have around. So let me draw a bit of a comparison. I remember back in the day when the Wii U was introduced it was really interesting technology because you could play away from the console itself and it sort of compressed the picture in different packages and it sent it to the device and it was uncompressed and you got a signal which was much faster than those years, those times HDMI signal because of the processing and everything else was removed and it was very fast. It was kind of precursor to what you guys are doing now. What can you tell us about this technology and how we can get of course much bigger, much more detailed pictures with apparently no lag at all? Well it's really just a question of getting a strong enough, reliable enough signal. It's running a 60 gigahertz signal on 30 gigabits per second so it's a very potent signal running in a frequency that it's not going to run into a lot of other distortions or other signals in the house. So it keeps it away from things that would cause problems normally."

"You can have it at a pretty fair distance up to 10 meters distance if you have it well-directed but most of us will probably have it maybe 2-3 meters but the idea of giving it that range is also sort of a testament to reliability. You want to say well if it can perform at 10 meters then when you have it at 5 you're going to be fine. Same thing with you're probably not going to be running 144 frames per second all the time but if you can do that at 10 meters with 144 your 60 hertz content is going to be fine. That's kind of why we in many ways sort of over spec because we know that 144 hertz 4k signal can be rare. Not many people are going to be using that. You might have your super gaming rig set up and even there many times it won't be rendering that at 4k level. So if our TV can perform that high then we feel that we can reliably promise that you're going to be fine with everything you do at home. The idea there is kind of the same. All of the work is being done in the box and then what it's sending over is sort of just the image signal. Completely lossless, completely uncompressed. Obviously that's why we need the bandwidth. But it is doing the work and then just sending the image. All right looking forward to seeing it live performing. And speaking about over specing. Our colleague Magnus wanted to know about the Z or C series and its 8k panel. Are we seeing it this year? Why are we not seeing it this year etc? So we're not going to see a Z4 because to be honest the 8k market still hasn't really caught on. And in that sense I mean being realistic of course we want to offer an 8k OLED but the Z3 is still going to be available with a lot of retailers. It won't be a problem if that's what you're going for. We just don't see that the market has space right now for another 8k OLED. And to be fair the world is right now going through a bit of a rough patch. The tech market and the TV market in particular isn't really where it has been in the past. And also a lot of people bought new TVs during the lockdown years. So it doesn't feel like we should be forcing another high-end TV when there are basically other innovations that take much more attention and honestly might offer more to consumers based on what they want right now. I mean the T is another example of that. You have this amazing technology and you're bringing that into the market. And we also have of course the wireless technology bringing that into the market. Getting OLEDs brighter, getting them more powerful. And with all of that going on it just didn't feel like 8k was the point to focus on right now. I understood. Let's talk about software. You guys of course have been evolving your systems and the software you provide with both new TVs and also the ones we can update in older TV models. So what can you tell us about the current status of all these and what can perhaps users of older models look forward to this year?
Well when it comes to webOS I think many users who have TVs from the last few years might have noticed during the during 2023 that we did a bit of an update on webOS where you had the option to import the new UI."

"But that was a bit of a reskin to be honest. It wasn't really that we were able to bring or port the entire OS to the older models. But we were able to offer that reskin and some of the functionality absolutely. For those of you who are out there and got that update and didn't notice that it was optional you can actually turn it off and go back to the previous layout as well."

"However something that we are starting with now and we want to explore the option of bringing it to older models as well but really starting with this year's lineup we will be able to promise a five-year upgrade plan. Basically when you buy a TV you're gonna have the latest webOS for five years. So next year you'll get the 25 OS and so on. Now we have obviously been talking about this internally for some time. It really was just a question of making sure and I guess we're kind of back at the topic of overspeccing. We wanted to make sure that the hardware inside the TV was strong enough that we don't have that sort of negative impact of you know we upgrade you and we upgrade you and then five years later your TV is slow because it can't really keep up with the OS. So that's kind of why we've been waiting until now but we want to offer that possibility and it will be of course full upgrades so you're not just getting a reskin you're not just getting you know some new layout it really will bring a new functionality new options to your TV. Because I mean a TV especially when you are investing in more you know more advanced products and better technology you don't want to do that every year you don't want to have to feel like it was outdated and even if you're buying the best TV you might sit there next year and just hear oh there's this new feature and then you get annoyed that maybe I should have waited. Or that you need a different box to go next to it to run all that. So when it comes to at least you know what we can update and what we can upgrade which is the software we want to offer that as well. Okay final one we've mentioned gaming several times of course we are about gaming as well so for those with a general use at first but for those specific enthusiasts that are looking to upgrade their living room gaming oriented panel which model would you recommend and what sort of a specific feature should they be looking really carefully at? Well wow there are so many things to bring up to be honest but obviously one of the things that I think is very important to any gamer is input lag and that's something we've been working with really much really hard to make sure that we have low input lag that we have a really good you know performance from our TVs. We want to make sure that we keep you know picture quality and everything that is you know it needs to be impeccable that's what our brand is really depending on but we want to make sure that we can do that fast enough to actually have good input lag and now when it comes to that OLED is obviously going to carry a very high advantage because it's got such a huge advantage in in just the response time of panel and the fact that you can have you know less than 0.1 milliseconds gray to gray in an OLED panel that just you know it makes such a big difference and it makes a lot of difference also just to motion clarity because you can have smooth motion by just having a very high frame rate like we're introducing 144 Hertz right now to the C-series and above but if you don't have a high enough response or a short enough response time those frames those extra frames are just gonna blur together so that is one of the things I think you know people need to understand and I know that on the PC side people tend to have a bit of a pretty decent understanding of that yes but console gamers I think it's usually one of those specifications that is completely lost on them because they'll just go okay well there's a 60 Hertz TV there's 120 Hertz TV and then they don't look further than that but the response is so crucial for clarity then of course depending on if you're a PC or console user I mean console users PS5 Xbox X and S-series and they will of course want FreeSync we're offering that in our in some of our Q&ED models and most of our Q&ED models and the entire OLED segment G-Sync for PC users with Nvidia cards obviously they will want to go for an OLED model that's where you get G-Sync compatibility and this will of course make sure that you get a smoother performance out of everything. They are also learning about variable refresh rate and also about variable resolution when some games need to do that in order to keep performing so how how would you say your new lineup upscaling with AI and with the Alpha 11 can help those games that you know are perhaps not top resolution all the time look better while at the same time keeping that fast response that you were talking about well I mean there you have there's always gonna be a bit of a trade-off of course if you have your if you have your processor running at max capacity obviously that will impact response or that will input impact your input lag but there are a lot of things that can be done from the TV side without adding to the input lag at all and so for instance you can of course let the AI picture run and the fact that for instance the Alpha 11 has I think it's it's around four times the performance level AI of the AI performance of its predecessor and I mean it is very fast so it can still do a lot of upscaling it can still do a lot of improvements to the picture but another thing is of course that you have a lot of functionality throughout the entire TV range through our game optimizer and that is basically this you know dedicated menu dedicated sort of console which lets you tweak all of the settings that are exclusive to gaming and so for instance being able to go into the black stabilizer and making sure you tweak that perfectly so you have the right amount of detail right amount of clarity in those dark areas which could otherwise get lost I mean those having access to that functionality means that you can actually get you know situation like if you are a FPS gamer and you tend to get shot when you run into a dark area because you didn't see the guy crouch in the corner things like that will really help and if you notice that oh well you know I didn't see the zombies were there then you have every option to make sure that you're getting clarity out of that picture and being able to perform obviously with good HDR performance and that is also another key area you know yeah getting the best content out of your console or your PC and they're one of the things we've been working with for the last few years also is being you know being synced up with HGIG making sure that all of our screens support HGIG so that when the console is sending out that metadata it's actually providing you with a picture that's optimized for your screen and so there's there's so much you can do I mean that is a topic that would never end no no no and on a topic of HDR it's it's really like we are seeing now how not only manufacturers are dealing with it and are taking care of it but also finally both game developers and users really want the HDR to look nice and to look bright and to have more contrast yeah and for anybody who is looking for a new TV this year I think my best advice I mean I can talk about the specs and I can talk about the features but for instance there's so much happening with color there's so much happening with increased brightness increased peak brightness is increased HDR making sure that highlights can be more defined and that's something that you know anybody can talk about it but you really can't tell how good it is until you see it so I know we're in the age of online shopping but if I can give everybody with just one piece of advice go in see it for yourself especially OLEDs there isn't a TV commercial or online video that can ever really reflect how they look and how amazing they look there's nothing like seeing it for yourself okay Eric well it's been really nice meeting you and we are looking forward to seeing LG's 2024s lineup hit the market and also of course the more futuristic offerings by both the the wireless M series and the wireless and transparent T series so thank you so much for your time and see you next time thank you see you tomorrow take care take care"

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