The Best of LG Tech Show – 2013

A look at the two most important technologies from the LG Tech Show – 2013 that stood out in terms of innovation.

Of the 70-odd products showcased at the LG Tech Show – 2013, a sizeable chunk comprised of its home appliance repertoire, comprising of wonders such as seemingly sentient robotic vacuum cleaners, big-ass front-loading washing machines, and refrigerators that seemed to have materialised straight out of the last Tron film. However, within the Orwellian face recognition-equipped corporate security systems and ridiculously large outdoor commercial displays lay some really cool gadgets and technologies that were showcased for the first time in India. Let's take a look at the two most important technologies from the show that stood out in terms of innovation.

 The Best of LG Tech Show – 2013

The image projected by the LG Laser Display didn't look washed out despite the bright show floor lights


LG "Hecto" Laser Display
When I walked into the demo room showcasing LG's latest display touting laser projection technology, I couldn't possibly have figured out that it was a projection system at all. Yes, it was downright humongous at 100 imposing inches, but then again I had seen another 84" LED-backlit LCD display on my way to that room, so anything was in the realm of plausibility as long as screen sizes were concerned.


For starters, the room was unusually bright for a space that's meant to house a projector. Moreover, since the gadget that resembled an oversized Blu-ray player was placed barely a few inches away from the screen, that simply made it hard for me to equate it with anything that's remotely supposed to resemble a projector. That's when I read the description and came to terms with the fact that the stupendously large image was projected and still didn't look washed out under the bright room lights somehow. That's the "Hecto" Laser Display for you.

Priced at a cool Rs 7.25 lakh, this puppy employs laser diodes to project a 100" image from a distance of just 22". The price includes the screen, which features a special high-gain reflective treatment to enhance image quality. High-gain screens usually achieve this by incorporating fine metallic and glass reflectors that generally tend to cause unwanted bright spots at different viewing angles. The Hecto, however, didn't seem to suffer from this gremlin and instead subtended a rather vibrant image with a surprising amount of black detail, despite the unusual lighting conditions.


It can project a 100" image from a mere 22" distance from the screen



The Hecto Laser Display may seem expensive, but it really seems worth the price considering the fact that it offers projector-like size without any hassles of large unwieldy throw distances, connectivity woes, and the debilitating need to keep the room darkened. Then you also get native 1080p support and goodies such as WiDi (wireless display) and smart TV capabilities as well. Showcased earlier at CES 2013, this definitely is a product to look out for when it will be launched later this year in India.

Being a videophile, I have always been a big fan of emissive displays (CRT and plasma), whereas modern transmissive/reflective (LCD) technologies have never managed to enamour me. Like they say, life isn't fair and that's probably why the best emissive display technologies have either died (CRT) or are dying a slow death (plasma). Well, all except OLED technology, which has been thriving in smaller smartphone screens. While larger TV-sized implementations of OLED have been displayed as prototypes in the past, but LG set a welcome precedent by showcasing its 55" OLED TV. In fact, this one's actually meant as a commercially viable product that's slated to hit the store shelves by the latter half of this year. In what comes as a pleasant surprise, the LG rep informed us that the OLED TV will be launched in India as well.


Her expression is justified in this case


The TV looked positively breathtaking largely due to the sheer fidelity of the colours that popped off the screen with consummate ease. OLEDs, like all emissive displays, aren't known for their brightness, but this one easily held up a rather resplendent image despite the strong lighting on the show floor. The bright colours and even deeper blacks underscored the excellent contrast ratio that allowed it to overshadow its 84" and 100" brethren despite its diminutive 55" dimensions. It easily emerged as the veritable emissive equivalent of David amongst the host of transmissive Goliaths. Thanks to its slim bezel and a ridiculously miniscule thickness of 4mm, it was also the most beautiful TVs of the lot.

While LG remains silent on the pricing of the unit, OLED panels of this size generally are valued at anywhere between $18,000 to $20,000. While that may seem like a lot of money, let's not forget that the displays are expensive even when used as smaller mobile screens, and like any nascent technology this will also need time to trickle down to affordability. Having said that, its ability to display a wide gamut of rich colours in perfect contrast and replete with the deepest of blacks makes it well worth the price. It should be interesting to see how the Indian consumers react to the concept of OLED TVs and whether it will at all be able to displace LCD technology, or face a similar demise as its other emissive brethren.


Can you spot the OLED TV?

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