UPDATE: Our video of LG's entire press conference is now live!
Our live blog coverage of CES 2009 kicks off with LG Electronics and their press conference. The press is filing in and as expected, the products being shown off are mostly TVs and computer monitors. I've also spotted some speakers, some portable devices, and what looks like a hard-drive enclosure for network storage.
I'll be bringing you the product lists when the presentation begins. More recent updates are found lower in the story. Chronologically and such.
8:00AM PST - Michael Ahn, CEO of LG Electronics North America, takes the stage. "Last year was a very important year for LG Electonics." He points to America's perception of LG as a stylish brand with smart technology. Sales increased to 13 billion in 2008, 16 percent increase over 2007 above goals. This growth was based on focus on consumers with products that are stylish and "fit into consumer's everyday lives".
LG will not reduce marketing spending or R&D despite the economic recession. It will maintain LG as a premier brand with industry leading products.
It will continue to add LED backlighting to its HDTVs and move to 240Hz refresh rates, as well as incorporate Blu-Ray into future products. Wireless TVs are also part of the company's future.
LG will partner with Yahoo!, YouTube, Netflix to deliver content directly to consumers.
It hopes to provide the best customer service in North America and notes that its call-center response-time is already under 30 seconds per call. Even with the recession, LG is positive about the future.
8:10 AM PT - Dr. Woo Paik, President and Chief Technology Officer, takes the stage.
Wireless HD -- Uncompressed Lossless, 1080p, 60fps over 60Ghz radio with a smart antenna. This incluses pure sound and 3Gbps. Very impressive.
LG also believes that 3D will be the future of home entertainment and will be pioneering a 3D format to incorporate into future displays with a new chipset.
120Hz is officially old and busted as LG is moving toward 240Hz, which they are calling "TruMotion". LED backlighting will also be incredibly important as it will allow for greater pixel quality while reducing energy use.
Guess what? The new TVs are going to be thinner and looked even nicer.
LG will also upgrade its Netflix-enabled devices with new software improvements and will be the first company to bring YouTube integration to a Blu-Ray player.
8:15 AM PT - LG is now showing off a new innovation for mobile phones called "DSE", which utilizes a second microphone on the back of a phone and some signal processing to eliminate background noise. Expect the first devices to show up during the second half of 2009. Can I have this feature on my iPhone, please?
LG's new environmental policy will commit the company to reduce its CO2 emissions by 150 kilotons over the next year and 30 megatons of CO2 by 2020. It will also continue to reduce product energy consumption.
Now Dr. Paik is taking a call from a new prototype watch phone. The device is very slick and has a loud speakerphone. The watch will use a touchscreen interface and supports Bluetooth. "It's something you'd expect to see in a James Bond movie". Production is expected to begin on a consumer device later in 2009.
8:20 AM PT - Peter Reiner, Senior VP of North American Marketing and Strategy, is up to bat to tell us about LG's 2009 product lineup. Stylish design and smart technology will combine in "perfect harmony that fits consumers' lives."
LG has noticed that due to the economic conditions, consumers will stay home more, but will demand the same amount of content (Report: Roper GFK 2009 Consumer Outlook).
LG has a few core technologies like Invisible Speaker, Clear Voice II, and Picture Wizard, which are available on all TVs 32 inches and above. For the advanced TVs, it adds the previously mentioned TruMotion 240Hz and LED backlighting for higher contrast ratios. All LG advanced models use full LED backlighting instead of "edge lighting".
They are also introducing "NetCast", which surfaces internet content through a built-in ethernet connection. LG will begin rolling this out to their TV's, not just Blu-Ray players.
As mentioned, they will be partnering with Yahoo! to provide widgets and YouTube to provide videos of people getting nailed in the nards.
Additionally, it'll introduce their first networked hard drive enclosure that will be able to share media with networked devices as well as read and write Blu-Ray discs.
LG will introduce nine new LCD TVs and three new Plasma TVs. Two of these TVs will include the NetCast feature. The company will launch two standalone NetCast devices and three Blu-Ray home theater systems with the feature.
LG will also launch three LCD monitors that also support 1080p and TV tuners.
8:30 AM PT - Mobile phone time. LG has enjoyed a 33 percent increase in sales in the US in 2008 and it is the #1 CDMA device maker in the US.
The company has examined a few trends that are going to drive the mobile market. It found that cellphones are replacing landlines up 10 percent from 2007. Consumers are also becoming "carrier agnostic" and being driven by the devices available (iPhone, hello!). LG also finds that cell phones with different colors to bring out someone's personality. Finally, text messages have overtaken voice communications, with many consumers demanding a full QWERTY keyboard.
Time to recap the 2008 products. The LG Incite (its first enterprise phone on AT&T) and Decoy, which combined a phone with a built-in Bluetooth headset. The square LG Lotus is a phone aimed at "fashionistas" that doesn't sacrifice features. Finally, the Dare, which they believe is the ultimate camera and video phone. It is also pointing out the phone's accurate "drawing pad", which users are using to make MS paint art on the go. Whatever.
Here's something! A solar-powered Bluetooth car kit. Finally, I will never run out of battery on my headset while driving. I was supposed to get a free one for showing up, but they ran out. My diligence in getting a front row seat prevented me from getting a free product as the line to leave was too long. Curses!