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LG's 2018 TVs will have Google Assistant built in


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From the Verge: 

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LG ThinQ AI

LG is getting ready to announce its lineup of new OLED TVs at CES this year (), and as a tide-me-over, the company has announced that its new TVs this year are getting Google Assistant.

In the past, LG has shipped its TVs with a webOS-based operating system that included the company’s own voice assistant, but the company is taking things a step further by including Google Assistant on its OLED and “Super UHD” LCD displays under its “ThinQ” artificial intelligence branding ().

LG’s integrated assistant strategy seems to be two-fold. You’ll be able to use the ThinQ AI for more contextual, TV-specific tasks, like asking to “search for the soundtrack of this movie” or “turn off the TV when this program is over.” But users in some countries (LG hasn’t yet specified which ones) will also have access to Google Assistant on top of that for controlling smart home devices or accessing anything else Google Assistant can do. LG also says that its ThinQ AI TVs will be able to serve as a central smart home hub, too. The TVs will likely still run webOS underneath these new ThinQ features.

Alongside its updated ThinQ AI initiatives, LG is also introducing a new image processor on its upcoming TVs, the Alpha 9, which the company claims will allow for improved noise reduction and better color performance, and offer support for 120 fps high frame rate (HFR) content.

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With its monstrous  still sweeping headlines, LG has formally announced its full TV line for the new year, just a few days ahead of CES 2018. The lineup will see the return of the  which garnered significant attention and critical acclaim last year, along with three other OLED models and a full suite of LG Super UHD LED televisions. The common thread throughout most of LG’s 2018 TV line are significantly faster processors for better picture quality and overall performance and the addition of Google Assistant to the company’s smart TV platform, webOS.

Though processing may not be the most exciting discussion point for new TVs, it’s certainly one of the most important aspects pertaining to picture quality. Picture processing is what separates the good from the great and, sometimes, the decent from the deplorable. LG’s new a9 intelligent processor will mean better color rendering and super fast smart TV operation for LG W8, E8, and C8 OLED TV owners, and a slightly scaled-down version will run the B8 OLED and  line.

Also along the smart TV vein is the addition of Google Assistant, which will take over for any voice inquiries that webOS can’t handle. In 2018 you will be able to use normal language to tell your TV to turn itself off when the show you are watching is over, or change the channel to a specific network, but with the addition of Google Assistant, you could also order a pizza, call an Uber, view Google Photos, and check traffic through Google maps. The new TVs will also be addressable through other Google Assistant products like the  and  speakers. LG says that its TVs will also be compatible with .

While LG’s 4K OLED lineup will look similar to last year’s models, the company’s Super UHD LED TV line is seeing some improvements which should have significant positive impact on picture quality. Most notably, LG is moving to use full-array local dimming backlights in the top two series and is touting an improved “nano cell” IPS display technology which not only reduces glare and reflections, but considerably improves off-angle color performance.

As for HDR, LG will continue its pledge to support most (but not all) , with Dolby Vision, HDR10, , and  all available in OLED and Super UHD TVs.  is not supported this year and it isn’t clear if LG ever will support it.

Finally, 2018 sees the addition of high frame rate (HFR) enabling native playback of content at 120 frames per second (fps). Currently, there’s not much in the way of 120 fps 4K video, but some Hollywood types see it as a natural progression away from the 24 fps we’re used to seeing in film, and LG appears to be getting on board with the idea early. It’s important to note, however, that none of LG’s 2018 TVs support , so 120 fps for game consoles won’t be possible with any of these models — 120 fps content will only be .

Here’s how LG’s OLED TV line looks broken down by series, features, and screen sizes:

Series/Model number W8 “Wallpaper” E8 C8 B8
Panel OLED OLED OLED OLED
HDR/HFR 4K Cinema HDR + 4K HFR 4K Cinema HDR + 4K HFR 4K Cinema HDR + 4K HFR 4K Cinema HDR or 4K HFR
Sound Dolby Atmos 60-watt 4.2 channel Dolby Atmos 60-watt 4.2 channel Dolby Atmos 40-watt 2.2 channel Dolby Atmos 40-watt 2.2 channel
Design Picture-on-Wall Picture-on-Glass Blade Slim Blade Slim
Smart webOS with Google Assistant webOS with Google Assistant webOS with Google Assistant webOS with Google Assistant
Sizes 65- and 77-inch 55- and 65-inch 55-, 65-, and 77-inch 55- and 65-inch

Along the same lines, here’s what LG’s premium Super UHD LED TV line will look like in 2018:

Series/Model number SK9500 SK8500 SK8000
Panel Nano Cell Display Nano Cell Display Nano Cell Display
Dimming Full Array Dimming Pro Full Array Dimming Local Dimming
HDR/HFR 4K Cinema HDR or 4K HFR 4K Cinema HDR or 4K HFR 4K Cinema HDR or 4K HFR
Sound Dolby Atmos processing Dolby Atmos processing Dolby Atmos processing
Smart webOS with Google Assistant webOS with Google Assistant webOS with Google Assistant
Sizes 55- and 65-inch 55- and 65-inch 55-, 65-, and 75-inch

Finally, here’s the balance of LG 4K TV offerings:

Series/Model Number UK7700 UK6500/70 UK6300
Panel 4K IPS with Nano Cell 4K IPS 4K IPS
Dimming Local dimming Local Dimming on 55-,65-,70-inch Local dimming on 55- and 65-inch
HDR 4K Active HDR 4K Active HDR 4K Active HDR
Sound Ultra Surround Ultra Surround Ultra Surround
Smart webOS with Google Assistant webOS with Google Assistan webOS with Google Assistan
Big Screen Sizes  N/A 70-,75-,and 86-inch N/A
Sizes 49-,55-, and 65-inch 43-,50-,55-, and 65-inch 43-,49-,50-,55-, 65-inch

That’s it for our LG 2018 TV overview. Be sure to bookmark this article and check back next week when we’ll be updating this post with live, hands-on video of all the new models, including that 88-inch 8K OLED TV.

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