LG in Berlin
Technology’s Little Village: LG @ IFA 2013
Editor of What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision Simon Lucas went to IFA in Berlin – Europe’s vast technology show – and took a tour of LG’s phenomenal display.
There are stands as big as LG’s at the Messe Exhibition Centre in Berlin for IFA expo. There are stands as full of enticing technology. There are stands staffed with women just as unnecessarily attractive. But there are no stands as pristine, as bright or as white as LG’s. If it’s dazzling, orthodontic cleanliness you want, the kind you could eat off, LG in Hall 11 is where it’s at. In fact, ‘stand’ is too flimsy a description for what LG has installed here. It’s not a stand, it’s a little village.
Of course, it’s not all ice-white style and no substance. There are innovations everywhere you look in LG Village. The most obvious – thanks to its prime position and the absolute scrum of people trying to get a look – is the world’s largest 4K (ultra high-def) OLED TV. At 77 inches it’s imposing despite its vanishingly minimal depth and, thanks to the combining of two cutting-edge technologies, the images it’s delivering are just staggering.
Bright, detailed, super-smooth and super-solid with motion, amazingly high-contrast… there’s simply no downside to the way this screen performs. Except, of course, that it’s displaying your classic ‘technology expo’ footage of citiscapes at night, flowers in bloom, willowy models with their hair being tousled by a gentle breeze… It’s not LG’s responsibility to provide the software to display on its incredible news TVs, of course, but until the content is available this astounding new technology is going to remain a tricky sell.
It’s not all theoretical benefits in LG-land, naturally. The company’s a big noise in white goods, and tech-heavy dishwashers, vacuum cleaners and washing machines are given just as much prominence as the ‘sexier’ technology. But, let’s face it, it’s the home entertainment stuff we’re here for, and on that score LG isn’t about to let us down.
As well as that stupendous 77in 4K OLED, there are other variations. How exactly would you like your OLED TV, anyway? Gently curved for a more immersive viewing experience? Surrounded by an elaborate and rather fetching frame a la the Louvre (so that better speakers than usual can be concealed within and so that you can enjoy pictures of great artworks when you’re not watching TV)? LG has you covered. And what about getting your 4K jollies? There’s a whole district of the LG experience given over to ultra high-def TVs, which range in size from an imposing 55 to a frankly intimidating 84 inches.
At the other end of the scale, size-wise, there’s a considerable ruck of journalists and civilians surround the new ‘G’ products. The G2 smartphone is certainly a thoughtful design packed with impressive technology (it looks a particularly good bet for the amateur photographer, plus can handle hi-res 24bit/192kHz music for the audiophile-on-the-go), while the G Pad 8.3 is slim enough and slick enough to give the ubiquitous iPad Mini something serious to think about.
Elsewhere (at the edge of LG-town, mostly, while the main drag deals with the real showstoppers) there are all the products du jour that no self-respecting global concern can afford to be without. Soundbars (some hefty enough to support the weight of a 55in TV), wireless Bluetooth speakers, Blu-ray players with 3D capability and Smart TV functionality… all available in numerous varieties of colour, finish and specification. Henry Ford might be rotating wildly in his grave.
And on top of all this there’s a simply huge 3D demonstration featuring a screen the size of a multi-storey car-park. There are, of course, enough 3D glasses available to allow a festival’s-worth of viewers to enjoy it all at once. But then it’s this sort of scale that the LG ‘stand’ is all about.
Find exactly what whathifi.com made of the LG’s latest technology here
Simon Lucas is editor of What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision magazine