Yesterday brought rather surprising news that Korean consumer electronics titan, LG, isn’t waiting around for CES to divulge details on the better part of its 2013 A/V product lineup. In what appears to be an effort to get the jump on its competitors, the company began a four-day announcement campaign by unveiling a considerably expanded line of Google TV-enabled LED televisions. Today, LG continues its guerilla marketing tactic by releasing details on the new sound bars, speaker docks, portable speakers, home theater systems, and Blu-ray players it will be showing off at next month’s landmark trade show. To help you wrap your brain around the rather sizable announcement, we’ve broken down the most notable points for each product division below. Let’s dig in.
In total, LG will offer four new sound bar models next year, but the NB4530 and NB3730A are easily the most interesting.
At just 1.38-inches tall, the NB4530 sports a super-sleek design which allows it to fit neatly under LG’s Cinema Screen TVs. Of course, the sound bar can also be discretely wall mounted if preferred. Since the NB4530 supports ARC (audio return channel) the only wire needed for connection will be a single HDMI cable. The sound bar also supports wireless audio streaming via Bluetooth and features a 2.1 speaker compliment powered by a 310-watt total amplifier.
While the NB4530 touts a higher model number and a slimmer cabinet, the NB3730A offers a rather unique feature set which has us thinking it may be the more attractive option for many consumers. The NB3730A is the first sound bar we’ve heard of which will feature a built-in Smart TV platform. Users will be able to stream content from Netflix, Vudu, CinemaNow, Pandora and Internet radio stations directly from the sound bar. This two-in-one approach might be a particularly attractive option for those that have or plan to purchase a TV without streaming media capabilities. Additional sound bar models include the NB3530A and NB2030A.
LG is jumping headlong into the speaker dock and portable market with a total six new products planned for next year. The speaker dock category is headlined by the ND8630, a dual-docking unit that offers a hard-dock connection for both Android and iOS devices. The 80-watt cylindrical speaker also supports both Bluetooth and Apple Airplay for wireless audio streaming. One final and somewhat unexpected features is a “mood lamp” which provides some sort of lighting effect that adjusts according to ambient lighting. The rest of LG’s speaker dock series will include the ND5630, ND2531 and ND2530
The NP6630 is the better of two portable speakers LG has in store to show us next month at CES. The speaker packs a relatively modest 20-watt amplifier and a built-in rechargeable battery. Most notably, the speaker will support Airplay, Bluetooth and NFC for wireless music streaming while on the go.
Home theater systems
While we’re generally underwhelmed by home theater-in-a-box systems, LG’s newly announced BH9430PW 9.1 system sports specs impressive enough to have us interested in checking the rig out. LG doesn’t discuss speaker sizes or power output ratings, but does make a big deal out of a couple of interesting features which reach outside of the typical one-box audio solution.
If room-rumbling audio isn’t on the menu, the BH9430PW offers a “private sound mode” which will wirelessly stream audio to certain smartphones so that listeners can listen in with headphones without having to stretch a wire halfway across the room. The surround sound system also features NFC for wireless audio and video mirroring from compatible smartphones and tablets. For iOS device owners, NFC is off the table (at least for the time being) but LG gets around this by offering a hard-wired connection which will both charge the devices and provide access to stored content. LG rounds out its home theater system offerings with the BH9230BW, BH6830SW and BH6730S.
The big news around LG’s new Blu-ray players this year is centered around speed in performance, and a Smart TV search feature which behaves a lot like Google TV’s platform-wide search engine. This year’s Blu-ray player line-up is headlined by the flagship BP730 which will feature a dual-core processor for snappy app navigation and speedier app loading times. Like many of LG’s new products this year, the BP730 will offer NFC functionality for wireless content mirroring.
LG is tossing in its Magic Motion remote in with the BP730 for point-and click navigation and will make searching for content on available video-on-demand services such as Netflix, Hulu Plus and Vudu easier by offering a platform-wide search feature which will scan all available services for specific movies. LG also told us its new Smart TV platform will allow more intelligible search terms, allowing users to search based on movie genre, actor names, etc. LG will produce only three Blu-ray players this year, rounding out its line with the BP530 and BP330.
Of course, LG is keeping details on prices and availability of these new products to itself. We’ll have to wait for CES to get those details. Still, that LG is letting the cat out of the bag in advance of CES indicates the company will probably have other aggressive strategies in store for next year, which could include record-low pricing.
Tomorrow will bring even more news on new LG products for 2013, so be sure to check back in with Digital Trends for the latest developments.
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