After fitting its flagship ThinQ televisions with the Google Assistant last year, LG is starting 2019 by adding Amazon Alexa too.
This means the company's lineup for 2019 will include the two most widely-used voice assistants on the market. Both can be used to answer questions spoken out-loud, and to control smart home devices like connected lights and plugs.
- CES 2019 preview: What to expect from the world's biggest technology show
- Samsung Q900R hands-on: Is it time for 8K televisions?
- Is LG ThinQ the most complete smart home platform yet?
LG says the inclusion of Alexa Alexa creates a visual experience as much as an audible one. This means the televisions will act like huge Amazon Echo Show devices, showing graphics when you ask about the weather forecast, for example, or when playing music from a streaming service like Spotify or Amazon Prime Music.
Alexa Routines can be created via the television, where a single voice command can serve up traffic and weather information, adjust smart home devices, and switch the TV to a particular channel.
Alexa in LG televisions can also be used — as it can on the Echo Show — to run visually-enhanced skills, like the one from the Food Network which displays recipes.
You can also use the Kayak skill to plan a holiday by speaking to Alexa on the television.
Both Alexa and the Google Assistant sit on top of LG's own ThinQ artificial intelligence. This, the company says uses "conversational voice recognition…[to] allow for more complex requests, meaning users won't have to make a series of repetitive commands to get the desired results."
LG's 2019 televisions - including the new 88-inch Z9 OLED - are among the first devices to offer native support for both Alexa and Google Assistant — something we expect to see from a range of new products through 2019. Sonos will also soon offer a dual-assistant system with its smart speakers, which currently have Alexa and will gain Google Assistant this year.
Back to LG's 2019 televisions, and the company says the second-generation Alpha 9 processor offers a "higher level of AI picture and sound experience quality." This is similar to the AI system Samsung uses for upscaling HD and 4K video to 8K with its own flagship televisions - a key feature, given there isn't really any 8K content available yet.
To further improve picture quality, the LG televisions have an ambient light sensor to understand the lighting of the room they are in, then adjust the display accordingly. The Google Home Hub performs a similar trick to make images look like printed photographs.
AI is also used by the televisions to create "convincing" virtual 5.1 surround sound with a simple two-channel system, LG says.
The new second-generation processor will be available on LG's Z9, W9, E9 and C9 series of OLED televisions as they become available through 2019.
Hands on with LG W7 Watch www.youtube.com