No doubt that AI is going to be a massive theme of this year’s CES Las Vegas show.

First major name out of the blocks this year is LG with the introduction of ThinQ artificial intelligence (AI) and an advanced image processor in its newest OLED and SUPER UHD TVs.

Basically, ThinQ allows the implementation of hundreds of voice requests utilising the company’s own open smart platform as well as third-party AI services.

Strictly speaking AI is perhaps not the best description of what is on offer here, its more accurate to talk about enhanced voice activation and access to more third-party products through voice, rather than actual AI. However, as the concept bites, expect AI to be used more and more to describe enhanced functionality of this type.

LG users will be able to speak directly into the remote control to access all the features of today’s advanced voice assistant technology. LG’s ThinQ TVs are also designed to work as as smart home hubs, offering access to other smart home products such as robotic vacuum cleaners, air conditioners, air purifiers, smart lights, smart speakers and many other devices that can connect to the TV via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

Picture quality is also said to be getting a boost, with LG’s newest α (Alpha) 9 processor powering the company’s OLED TVs. LG Nano Cell SUPER UHD TVs also employ Full-Array Local Dimming (FALD) backlighting with the aim of providing deeper blacks and enhanced colours, as well as nuanced shadow details for life-like images. Perhaps even more than any other brand in recent times, LG has delivered decent jumps in image quality, so it will be interesting to see how the new sets compare.

Access to Google assistant is included, countries covered however are yet to be confirmed

Intelligent design

LG is hoping to move voice activation up a notch with Natural Language Processing’ (NLP) to deliver intelligent voice-activated control and connectivity based on LG’s own deep learning technology, DeepThinQ.

With a streamlined setup process, viewers should be able to easily and quickly connect to gaming consoles and external soundbars. Users can search for information, images or videos featuring specific content by making a verbal request through the TV’s remote control.

LG TVs with ThinQ AI supports services based on Electronic Program Guide (EPG) to deliver information in real time or change to a channel that offers the content requested. Instruct the TV to ‘search for the soundtrack of this movie’ or ‘turn off the TV when this program is over’ without repeating the name of the program or entering a specific time. Customers in certain countries will be able to use the Google Assistant to control smart home devices such as lights or activate third-party services, no detail on which ones as yet however.

Picture Quality

LG’s newest α (Alpha) 9 intelligent processor has been created to provide true-to-life images with rich colours, sharpness and depth for more realism. A core innovative element of the α (Alpha) 9 is the four-step process of noise reduction, which boasts twice as many steps compared to conventional techniques, says LG. This algorithm allows for greater finesse in noise reduction, improving the clarity of images affected by distracting artifacts and enabling more effective rendering of smooth gradations.

The processor also improves colour performance, thanks to the advanced mapping capabilities which make colours look closer to the original content. The improved colour correction algorithm allows for more natural colours by expanding the reference colour coordinates seven-fold compared to before. α (Alpha) 9 is designed to support high frame rate (HFR) for producing smoother and clearer motion images at 120 frames per second for better rendering of fast-action content such as sports and action movies. As a result of the new image processor, 2018 LG OLED TVs can display any content at maximum quality.

New processing power ups the ante

Maximising Nano Cell with FALD Backlight and α (Alpha) 7

In 2017, LG took steps in improving image quality with the intro of its Nano Cell SUPER UHD TVs. By combining Nano Cell, FALD backlighting and the α (Alpha) 7 processor, LG’s 2018 SUPER UHD TV offers have been made to go one better including deeper blacks, enhanced image rendering, improved shadow details and accurate colour from wide viewing angles.

This year’s SUPER UHD TV with FALD allows for denser backlighting zones throughout the display, as opposed to edge-lighting where backlights are positioned on the edges behind the TV panel.

So what about HDR? These new OLED and SUPER UHD offer something LG is calling ‘4K Cinema HDR’, which has been introduced to offer a more ‘cinema’ feel to the experience. The TVs add support for Advanced HDR by Technicolour, building on a legacy of supporting most major HDR formats, from Dolby Vision to HDR10 and HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma). LG’s 2018 OLED and SUPER UHD TVs process HDR images dynamically frame by frame using LG’s own algorithm, Enhanced Dynamic Tone mapping. Both 2018 OLED TVs and SUPER UHD TVs also come with Dolby Atmos object-based surround sound.

Brian Kwon, president of LG’s Home Entertainment Company, sums up, “LG is continually seeking to innovate in home entertainment and LG ThinQ along with the α (Alpha) 9 processor will deliver a TV viewing experience that is unrivaled in the industry. At LG, our interest is in improving user lifestyles and convenience, which our 2018 TVs amply deliver.”

LG is showcasing all this new tech at the CES show on booth #11100 in Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Centre.

LG hopes its TVs can become a smart hub for all the user’s entertainment and info needs