The transition to a new era of display technology always presents something of a chicken-and-egg problem for consumers. TV buyers, by and large, don’t want to invest in new displays until there’s readily available content, and content providers aren’t quick to deliver until there’s a sufficient installed base of displays. We went through it a little over a decade ago with high definition, and we’re going through it again now with Ultra HD. It’s true that 4K TVs are getting more affordable every day, but on the minds of most consumers—the non-early adopters that is — is one simple question: when will I have access to enough UHD content to make the upgrade worth it?
There’s still no firm answer to that question, but we’re one step closer to one. This week, at The Cable Show 2014, LG is showcasing a new Ultra HD cable box that goes way beyond the capabilities of the digital cable tuner you’re probably using right now. In addition to its obvious 4K capabilities, the LG Ultra HD box also supports content sharing via DLNA, WiFi, and MoCA, so even if there’s nothing worth watching on the tube, you won’t have to switch inputs to tap into your own stored video and audio content.
The company is also showcasing a suite of Android-based cable/IP/hybrid set-top boxes, all of which feature intuitive user interfaces, PVR capabilities, oodles of streaming video apps, and unified search functionality, along with seamless sharing capabilities with smart mobile devices.
There’s also a mini Android-based over-the-top set-top box (think Apple TV, Roku, etc.) with WiFi and HDMI pass-through, which seems to be positioned as a way for cable providers to add OTT services (think Netflix, Hulu, etc.) and web access to their cable boxes.
“We’re seeing increasing consumer interest in IP-based home entertainment and connected home services,” said Byunghoon Min, senior vice president of LG Electronics Home Entertainment. “With LG’s portfolio of set-top boxes and connected home products, cable operators have a comprehensive response that will satisfy subscribers’ entertainment and home automation needs now and in the future.”
LG has also been named the Official Ultra HDTV and Official Smart TV partner for The Cable Show 2014, which runs through May 1 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. In addition to its new lineup of set-top boxes, the company’s UHD displays are taking center stage at Imagine Park, an exhibit at the heart of the show.
In addition to two massive 84-inch LG UHD TVs, the exhibit features a number of 65-inch displays, as well as the new Imagine Film Challenge, where fledgling filmmakers can produce, edit, and present their own short films in high-definition (nope, it’s not dead yet) using LG’s 55-inch LED Smart TVs and LG 29-inch IPS LED monitors.