LG Announces New NanoLED HDTVs, Sound Bar

LG has started the race for bigger, badder, better LED-backlit HDTVs with a bang today, announcing two new lines of HDTVs that use the company's new Nano Lighting Technology, as well as a new sound bar with six speaker drivers and a separate wireless subwoofer.

Nano Lighting Technology refers to LG's new method of using LEDs in HDTVs. Earlier LED LCD TVs either placed the LEDs on the edges of the display and relied on a dispersion matrix to spread the light across the screen, yielding a very thin TV that sometimes looked unevenly lit, or placed a full LED array behind the TV, which produced excellent picture quality but cost a bit more and couldn't achieve the thinness of edge-lit LED LCDs.

LG's Nano LED TVs, however, embed the LEDs behind the LCD panel in a thin film that disperses the light across the set. It's too early to tell how well these sets will perform in comparison to current LED models, but LG clearly hopes that its Nano LED technology will combine the advantages of edge-lit and back-lit LED displays while eliminating their disadvantages.

Another feature included in the Nano LED lineups is an improved local dimming feature that LG calls Micro Pixel Control, which enables 20the TV to dim and brighten individual LEDs, producing blacker blacks and brighter whites. Local dimming features are important for an LED LCD set because, if implemented well, they allow the set to dim the backlighting in certain regions of the display selectively, so darker scenes will look very dark.

Classic CCFL-backlit LCD TVs couldn't completely block out the backlighting, which made scenes that were supposed to look black look dark gray instead, but earlier implementations of local dimming in LED LCDs had their own problems--read "Plasma vs. LCD: The State of the HDTV" for more details.

The two new TV lines are called the LW9500 and LW7700 Nano Full LED TV series. The former boasts a 480Hz refresh rate, while the latter has a 240Hz refresh rate. Both models incorporate an "Anti-Reflection Panel"--probably a matte cover of some sort--which reduces glare and reflection from external light sources. This is noteworthy because some previous-generation LED LCD TVs, such as the Sharp LC52LE820UN, suffered from glare issues. Also, both lines will support 3D TV content via active shutter glasses. The smallest in these lines will start at 47 inches, while the largest will be 60 inches. Both of the lines are passing through the THX certification process, so they'll probably have THX-certified preset modes.

The LG HD Sound Bar (LSB316), meanwhile, is a 280-watt sound bar with six built-in speaker drivers in a bar that is designed to complement LG's 42-inch TV lineup, plus a wireless subwoofer unit for 2.1 virtual surround sound. The LSB316 can be mounted on a wall or placed under the TV, and it supports streaming-music Bluetooth devices, so it will work with Bluetooth-equipped smartphones and portable media players, or stream to your Bluetooth headphones if you need to keep things quiet.

Stay tuned for more coverage and a full review.

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