Hosting a tech demo in the shadow of Real Sports Bar and Grill’s monolithic giant-screen TVs means that whatever’s being shown off needs to be damn impressive to hold anyone’s attention.
LG did not disappoint at its recent event, introducing Toronto to its smart TV and home entertainment ecosystem. In between quaffing cold beers and munching on Real Sports executive chef Tony Glitz’s signature sweet chili Thai chicken wings, tech heads and gadget freaks got a chance to play with all the toys that promise to transform our living rooms into a limitless hub of content.
For some savvy geeks, the benefits offered by smart televisions have been achievable by pricier, more complicated and decidedly less elegant means. Connect a run-of-the-mill computer (often referred to as a “home theatre PC”) to an HD television, run a broadband connection through it and suddenly all those YouTube videos you watch hunched over your laptop can now be enjoyed from the comfort of your couch. Your television is instantly transformed from a passive one-way broadcasting device into an interactive media portal with all the fun of the Internet at your fingertips.
The centerpiece to any home theatre is, of course, the screen. LG’s LW9800 is a 55″ 3D-enabled LED television with full Smart TV capabilities. Your ancient universal remote will be put to shame by the magic motion controls, which give the user an onscreen cursor that’s manipulated intuitively by a Wii-like wand. Online content is accessed through a responsive, streamlined interface that pulls descriptions of TV shows, movies and more from an ever-expanding cloud of data. Virtually anything you’re used to watching on a computer can now be streamed effortlessly on your TV.
While it’s impossible not to be impressed by taking in a Jays game on Real Sports’ mega-sized projection display, after playing with LG’s interactive controls and catching a glimpse of the razor-sharp 3D image, it all seemed, well, so 20th century. You mean, I can’t watch what I want when I want and, if I feel like it, pause the whole bloody thing so I can play a quick round of Sudoku? Once you get a taste of the future, the present just seems so limiting.
Of course, none of this would be all that impressive if it only came packaged with a pricey new flat screen. Is there any hope for those who are not yet ready to part with recently-purchased “dumb” TVs? Absolutely. All the capabilities of the Smart TV are bundled in stand-alone products like LG’s BD670C 3D Blu-Ray player and ST600 Smart TV Upgrader Box. Either device will seamlessly enable all the features you’d get from a brand new set.
Sadly, with so many enthusiastic nerds in attendance, we could only play with LG’s goodies for so long. While Real Sports Bar is a great venue for a bunch of guys to get together to talk tech and eat chicken wings, nothing beats unwinding in the comfort of your home with full control over your entertainment. Plus, you’ll never get Buffalo sauce on your shirt when you eat naked.
Image courtesy of LG Canada.