LG does not have a booth on the show floor of CEDIA, but as in years past, the company hosted a press reception off site. On display at this year's soiree was the 55EA9800 1080p, curved OLED TV ($10,000) along with the 84LM9600 ($17,000), 65LA9700 ($6500), and 55LA9700 ($4500) UHDTVs, all currently available at Magnolia outlets within some Best Buy stores and soon to be sold at other retailers. Also on hand were two new models of UHDTV—the 65LA9650 ($5000) and 55LA9650 ($3500).
Photo by Mark Henninger
Why are the new sets less expensive than the LA9700s? Because the LA9650s are LED-edge-lit rather than using full-array backlighting with local dimming. Even so, LG claims they provide "local dimming" with 12 zones, which I find hard to accept, just like any other edge-lit LCD TV that purports to offer any sort of local dimming.
One interesting feature of the new sets is the implementation of H.265 decoding—LG claims these are the first TVs to have it built in. Even more interesting was the rep's assertion that, if UHD ends up using HEVC (high-efficiency video coding, another name for H.265), these sets will be ready for it. Aye, there's the rub—it's not yet known if this will be the codec for UHD, so implementing it seems a bit premature.
As is LG's wont, the new sets will provide passive 3D (in my opinion, much better than active glasses, especially with UHDTVs), smart TV functionality, and LG's Magic Motion remote with gesture and voice recognition. LG is particularly proud of its upscaling engine, which had better work well since the vast majority of content played on these sets will be 1080p, at least for a while.
The LA9650 UHDTVs will be available in October, just in time for the holiday buying season. And who knows—maybe the lower prices will induce more people to jump onto the leading edge of the UHD curve.