We had a short but sweet time with LG’s newest line of Smart TVs over the week-end. A 60-inch 3D TV greeted us as we checked in at the Picasso Boutique last week-end. It came with a number of accessories that we can play around with.
Aside from the 84-inch Ultra HD TV that LG launched several weeks ago, their line-up for 2013 includes the new LA8600 series with sizes up to 60 inches. This is the very unit we were able to preview during our stay at the Picasso.
The LA8600 series comes with a slight panel re-design, a much thinner bezel (about 1cm only) and an ergonomic stand that has built-in rollers to allow the entire set to swivel around freely and effortlessly.
LG’s new HD TV comes with a better Smart features that include the Smart Home — a collection of internet content from TV shows, movies, games, apps, social networking sites and other recorded media files.
The TV is controlled by two remote controls — one is the typical or standard type and the other is called the Magic Remote. The Magic Remote works like an air mouse and uses the same principle as the Wii controller.
An IR blaster allows you to move the pointer around the screen to control settings, select options and even draw the channels (you can draw the number of the channel and the TV recognizes it and switches to the right one).
There’s actually a third remote feature and it is controlled by your smartphone. Fortunately, we had our LG Optimus G with us and we download the LG TV Remote app on the Google Play Store.
The Android app is able to remotely control the TV as long as you share the same WiFi network and since both supports DLNA, we’re also able to display the content of the phone right into the TV wirelessly.
The remote app functions as a touch-based remote so it can also replace the functions of the Magic Remote. The best part is that the app can actually display the video being played on the TV right into the smartphone. That means you can go around the house with the phone and still catch up with what’s playing on the TV screen (there’s a slight delay of a few seconds).
Aside from acting as a trackpad and and soft remote, the app cna also function as a gamepad each time you want to play games downloaded from the Smart Home.
The mirror display can also act as a monitor — the TV can run on standby while the smartphone display still plays the video (probably to save on electricity?).
The Smart Home includes localized content and offers access to a variety of content providers such as Philippine Star, Inquirer and ABS-CBN as well as internet TV provider IWantTV.
We watched some TV shows via IWantTV and the experience was like live TV. Of course, the fast 3Mbps internet of the hotel helped with the smooth playback (so it is assumed that if you can afford to get this kind of TV, you cna also afford to spend on 5-10Mbps in internet subscription at home).
The built-in 720p camera at the top of the display is primarily used for Skype but it can also be used to record videos straight into the 8GB internal storage for playback.
The TV also has a built-in scheduled recorder that allows you to record a TV show based on time of the day. You can also record video on the fly and be able to replay them anytime, just in case you don’t want to miss that action shot or do an instant-replay.
Aside from Skype, there’s Facebook and Twitter apps you can access right on the display. The social features also allows you to post updates, comments live on your social media accounts while you are watching a TV show.
The 3D glasses now comes in a variety of form factors and styles — the regular set of frames that’s now more affordable (around Php1.6k for a set of 4), the frameless glasses for better comfort and style, the clip-on for folks who have graded eyeglasses and the dual-play glasses for gaming.
These set of 3D glasses no longer need any power, they are very light and comfortable but works much better than the old battery-powered set.
The dual-play glasses works a little differently since it’s just for 2D gaming but allows for each of the two players to see a different perspective of the game (as if they’re seeing the entire screen on their own) that virtually eliminates the split screen.
This is also the first time we’ve seen that the 3D settings can actually be manually set or calibrated depending on your tastes and perception. The older models will only display or convert 2D to 3D automatically.
Since 3D content is still somewhat limited in number, LG provided a number of 3D content which can be accessible straight from the Smart Home. They are mostly music videos and a few exclusive content for now.
It was a quick 12 hours or so with the LG Cinema TV. There were so many other things we wanted to discover with the TV but that short period of time just wasn’t enough for us to explore and remember all of them.
While this model is scheduled to be released some time this May, the 60-inch model does not have any SRP yet although the 55-inch variant sells for Php189,990.
Updated: The 60-inch model will sell for Php249,990 and will be available in the local market by May 1.