Tag: LG

SiriusXM now streams radio stations to your Apple TV

SiriusXM is now available on 4th generation Apple TVs and Apple TV 4K. Subscribers with streaming access can use the SiriusXM app to access its over 200 channels, which can be customized with MySXM. Users will also be able to access archived programming on demand and the app's user interface has been optimized for Apple TV.

The SiriusXM app has already been available on LG, Roku, Samsung and Sony smart TVs as well as Amazon Fire TV and Playstation. Apple TV owners also recently just got access to the Amazon Prime Video app.

To start listening to SiriusXM on your Apple TV, just go to App Store and search for SiriusXM. Then click "Get" to install, sign in with your SiriusXM username and password and you're good to go.

Source: SiriusXM


Sharp wants a ‘Japan alliance’ to boost OLED TV competition

Sharp wants to gain a foothold in the OLED market by teaming up with rival company Japan Display. Sharp's chief executive, Tai Jeng-wu, told reporters at the Tokyo Stock Exchange that he wants to form a "Japan alliance" to better compete with the South Korean makers that are dominating the industry.

Reports earlier this year suggested Sharp was planning to introduce OLED TVs to its production lines, but just a month later South Korean rival LG, already a leader in OLED products, revealed its plans to invest a further 7.8 trillion Korean won ($7 billion) into its OLED businesses over the next three years.

Tai said he plans to consult the government about forming the all-Japan alliance, as well as discuss potential investment in JOLED, an affiliate of Japan Display, which has recently made headlines for its plans to mass-produce "printed" OLED panels.

There's a huge demand for OLED products, both from manufacturers and, increasingly, consumers. But with only one or two key players producing them, it's been a challenge taking the technology mainstream. This "Japan alliance," if successful, could make strides in opening the market for everyone.

Source: Reuters


Tesla’s Gigafactory might be behind a global battery shortage

Tesla has been besieged by reports of production delays and quality control issues lately, and now it's coming under fire for problems at its Gigafactory, which have led to a global shortage of cylindrical batteries. According to sources quoted by etnews, it's now "impossible" to purchase cylindrical batteries in Japan -- where most of the world's electronics manufacturing happens -- because Gigafactory has hoovered up the supplies needed to create them, but has failed to do so.

Sources say that Panasonic has given most of its Japanese battery supplies to Tesla in order to kick-start production, leaving companies that need batteries knocking on the doors of Samsung, LG and Murata (formerly Sony), to no avail. As a result, global IT, electric vehicle and home appliance companies are unable to get the materials they need, "and it will not be easy for them to secure additional supplies until the end of the first half of 2018."

Sources have blamed Gigafactory's operational structure for the shortfall, claiming that its inaccessible location in the Nevada desert has resulted in a shortage of manpower, and that its reliance on renewable energy has caused production problems. Tesla has famously never turned a profit and sinks $1 billion a quarter into the business, which many would say is a noble endeavour in pursuit of a cleaner, brighter future, but its admirers will no doubt be less enthralled when its ventures start having a detrimental effect on the rest of the world.

Source: etnews


LG replaces mobile chief to reverse its smartphone fortunes

LG's mobile sales are a not only a drag on its other businesses, but an embarrassment next to its nemesis, Samsung. To address that, the company has made a "sweeping realignment" of its businesses, naming Hwang Jeong-hwan as president and CEO of LG Mobile in the place of current chief Juno Cho. It also named former Harman CTO and current software head Park Il-pyung as its new chief technology officer (rival Samsung acquired Harman last year for $8 billion). The moves are aimed at "enhancing competitiveness," LG said.

LG is faring strongly in the television business, thanks to OLED and other models that are considered some of the best 4K TVs available, and its appliance business continues to do well, too. LG Mobile, however, managed to lose $331 million last quarter, while Samsung made over $3 billion on mobile alone, netting a whopping $12.9 billion operating profit -- nearly 50 times more than LG.

The reasons for its phone woes are pretty clear. While Samsung continues to produce well-regarded devices like the Galaxy S8 and Note 8, LG's new flagship V30 is decent, but not nearly as compelling.

New president Hwang Jeong-hwan has "years of experience in R&D [and] was closely involved in developing one of LG's first smartphones in 2009 as head of the CTO's Multimedia R&D Lab," LG's press release notes. That could signal that LG aims to fight its way out of its mobile hole via improved technology, which makes some sense. Right now, Samsung is eating its lunch in terms of screen and camera quality, for instance.

One area LG has been successful with in smartphones is on the audio side, which might explain its decision to appoint former Harman CTO Dr. Park Il-pyung as CTO. It probably doesn't hurt that he also headed Samsung's Intelligent Computing Lab, to boot.

LG needs to turn mobile around soon, as its other businesses are about to face new problems. Following complaints by US appliance-maker Whirlpool, the US International Trade Commission recommended anti-dumping tarifs against both Samsung and LG, with Donald Trump set to make the final decision in early 2018. Suffice to say, that probably won't go LG's way, and unlike Samsung with its chips and diverse businesses, it can't afford a blow to its primary moneymaker.


How to find the best 4K TV for your space

There has never been a better time to buy a new TV. Huge 4K sets are cheaper and look finer than ever. Perhaps more important, there are finally a few new technologies that make upgrading from your old set worth it: HDR (high dynamic range) video and a wider color gamut. And if your budget allows, OLED TVs are well within reach. It's easy to get overwhelmed with these new options, so let's break down what you need to know before buying a new TV.

Sizing it up

The first thing you have to ask yourself is pretty straightforward: How large does your new TV need to be? Given how much prices have fallen, it might be tempting to go as big as your budget will allow. But that could easily lead to buying something that looks ridiculously oversized in your space.

A good way to figure out the best screen size is to measure the viewing distance from your couch to your TV stand. Once you've got that, just plug it into this tool from the TV review site Rtings.com, which uses viewing recommendations from the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. A 50-inch set, for example, should sit 6.8 feet away for mixed-use viewing (basically, a combination of TV, movies and gaming). At that point, it's taking up 30 degrees of your field of vision. If you're a cinephile and want to truly immerse yourself, though, you'd need to sit five feet away so that it covers 40 degrees of what you're seeing.

Most living rooms could easily fit a 50- to 55-inch set, but if you've got a large space to work with, then a 65-inch model might make more sense. Of course, your existing TV should give you an idea of what fits in your space. But keep in mind that newer TVs are thinner and have smaller bezels, so you might be able to fit something larger than your aging HD set. If you really can't fit anything bigger than a 42-inch TV in your space, though, then you're better off not upgrading. There's just no point in getting a 4K set that small.

The 4K HDR basics

OLED TV sets in a Sony store.  During the May Day golden...

While 4K is the marketing term you'll see attached to new TVs, it's not an upgrade that you'll immediately notice. Technically speaking, 4K sets have four times as many pixels as 1080p, or "Full HD," TVs. But most people won't see a significant difference from their couch.

Instead, the bigger benefit with this generation of TVs is the addition of HDR, which highlights bright and dark content better than we could ever see before. There's also support for wide color gamut (WCG), which, as you'd expect, lets you see a larger variety of colors. Together, they add more detail and contrast to what you're watching -- in many cases, the image "pops" off the screen more than with older TVs.

In Daredevil, on Netflix, for example, you can see much more during the show's many night fights. One scene in the first episode, where Matt Murdock is showing off the giant neon billboard right outside his apartment, demonstrates how HDR can juggle both extreme brightness and darkness in the same shot.

Currently, there are two competing HDR formats: HDR10, which is widely supported across the industry, and Dolby Vision, which works only with select TVs, players and content. When buying 4K equipment, just make sure it supports both formats. They each do everything we described above, but Dolby Vision technically looks better. It uses dynamic metadata, which allows it to adjust color levels and contrast settings for every scene. HDR10, on the other hand, relies on static metadata, which gives it only one set of instructions for every piece of content.

Unfortunately, we can't demonstrate the impact of HDR and WCG with a screenshot or video; it's visible only on displays that support the technology. You'd have to stop by an electronics store for an in-person demo. Once you do, though, you'll notice the difference immediately. For the most part, HDR and WCG best serve newer films and TV shows, which were likely produced with the technology in mind. It's a more contentious addition to classic films, since it effectively changes what the original director and cinematographer wanted you to see. HDR in the 4K version of Goodfellas, for example, actually makes the film look worse.

Choosing a TV: LCD or OLED?

The 55-inch TCL Roku TV in our holiday gift guide is one of the best deals we've ever seen. It supports both HDR formats, has great image quality and currently retails for a mere $650. Don't worry if you've never heard of TCL before. They've been making sets for years (including for Samsung), and as of 2013 they were the third-largest TV maker in the world. And if you're looking for an upgrade, Vizio's P-Series line is among the best we've ever seen. Reviewing and comparing TVs is time- (and space-) consuming work, so I'd also recommend following Wirecutter's excellent breakdown of the best TVs on the market.

As I noted during CES in January, OLED TVs are finally getting their chance to shine. While LG's B6 lineup started at $4,000 when it launched in 2016, it ended up as low as $1,800 by the end of the year. And the comparable 2017 model, the C7, is now selling for around $1,700. Sure, that's a significant leap over the TCL set above, but it's still a steal if you've been following OLED TVs over the past few years.

So what's the big deal about OLED? Simply put, these panels look incredible. They can produce pure darker levels, wider viewing angles and a higher contrast than LCDs. Altogether, that makes OLED sets look brighter, though it's worth noting that newer 4K LCDs are also much brighter than they used to be. Again, you'll have to see them in person to truly grasp the benefits. But if you're the sort of person who's been holding out for a serious upgrade over your existing HDTV, OLED will likely be worth the extra cost. (Confession: I bought an LG OLED last year, and it still wows me every time I use it.)

When and where to buy?

There's a reason we're publishing this piece before Black Friday: Now is the best time to seriously look at a new TV. Plenty of retailers have discounts running all week long, while others will have deals ready on Friday. If you're following the best prices, where you buy probably won't matter to you. In general, though, I like ordering TVs from Amazon, since its delivery service will also set them up for you. (Installing a TV stand on your own isn't fun.) Physical stores are also good options if you can transport a large set, and of course it's easier to return large items on your own rather than shipping them back.

If you're still on the fence about upgrading, though, there are advantages to waiting. For one, OLED prices will eventually drop even further. And you can be sure that next year's TVs will offer minor improvements over the current models. I wouldn't expect any significant upgrades, though. The 4K standard won't be changing any time soon, and while Dolby Vision and HDR10 will see some revisions, they won't change much. (And there's a good chance those revisions will also trickle down to existing sets.)

What else do you need?

Since most TVs today have streaming apps built in, you don't really need a set-top box. Still, the new 4K dongles from Roku and Amazon are great options if you prefer their interfaces. And if you rely on iTunes, then the new Apple TV 4K is worth considering (especially since it'll upgrade your existing library to 4K). As for 4K Blu-ray, it's not worth the investment for most consumers, since it requires a new player (or an Xbox One S or X). It's best suited to cinephiles who want the best possible picture and audio quality and don't mind the added expense.

A more essential upgrade: sound. Even the best TVs on the market typically have mediocre audio, so it's worth snapping up a soundbar, at the very least. Vizio's 36-inch 5.1 wireless system is a solid entry point for surround sound -- especially at the current price of $179, when it typically retails for $250.

Wrap-up

If you've been anticipating a new TV for a while, now's the time to pull the trigger. After years of sounding like marketing hype, 4K/HDR sets are finally here and cheap enough for most people to afford. While they won't offer the night-and-day difference that HDTVs did, compared with older sets, they're still a significant step forward. And they'll make binge watching all the more worthwhile.


Engadget giveaway: Win an LG V30 smartphone!

With smartphones becoming the center of portable media capture, LG's V30 feature set positions it near the top of available options. Plus if you're an Android user and have been eyeballing all the tall OLED displays out there, now's your chance. On the back, you've got a dual camera setup with both 16-megapixel f/1.6 aperture and 13-megapixel wide-angle lenses set to capture the world. If video is your thing, the V30 has a powerful set of features, including point-zoom and color presets that provide a professional touch to your content. Audio quality on this handset is also notable with strong speakers and a built-in Hi-Fi DAC to pass natural sounding audio to your headphones. The V30 is also a sleek and comfortable handset to hold, so if you'd like a chance to take one for a spin, you're in luck. This week, LG has provided us with an unlocked 64GB V30 for one lucky reader. Just head to the Rafflecopter widget below for up to three chances at winning this LG V30 smartphone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • Entries are handled through the Rafflecopter widget above. Comments are no longer accepted as valid methods of entry. You may enter without any obligation to social media accounts, though we may offer them as opportunities for extra entries. Your email address is required so we can get in touch with you if you win, but it will not be given to third parties.
  • Contest is open to all residents of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec), 18 or older! Sorry, we don't make this rule (we hate excluding anyone), so direct your anger at our lawyers and contest laws if you have to be mad.
  • Winners will be chosen randomly. One (1) will receive one (1) LG V30 (US998 Unlocked / Silver / approximate value $830).
  • If you are chosen, you will be notified by email. Winners must respond within three days of being contacted. If you do not respond within that period, another winner will be chosen. Make sure that the account you use to enter the contest includes your real name and a contact email. We do not track any of this information for marketing or third-party purposes.
  • This unit is purely for promotional giveaway. Engadget and AOL are not held liable to honor warranties, exchanges or customer service.
  • The full list of rules, in all of its legalese glory, can be found here.
  • Entries can be submitted until November 22nd at 11:59PM ET. Good luck!

LG has steep Black Friday discounts on its premium OLED TVs

Even if you don't follow 4K TV technology closely, you probably know that OLED TVs have the best picture available and that they're hella expensive. If you've been drooling over one but don't quite have the cash, now might be the time to pounce, as LG is offering all of its 2017 models with deep discounts for Black Friday starting today.

As a reminder, LG's 2017 OLED sets all have support for most HDR formats, including HDR10 and Dolby Vision, giving you the best possible picture for Netflix or Ultra HD Blu-ray streaming. Other features include LG's webOS 3.5 Smart TV system for quick switching between streaming and broadcast TV and LG's Magic Remote.

As for the image quality, OLED sets are widely regarded for their deep blacks, thanks to the fact that each OLED pixel provides its own light source and can be shut off completely. They also cover 99 percent of the demanding DCI-P3 gamut, giving you the maximum colors, gamut and accuracy. OLEDs aren't known for their great brightness, but LG managed to boost levels by 25 percent on many models this year. The only thing OLED panels still aren't is fast, so don't count on the TVs for super-accurate gaming performance.

Between November 19th and 27th, LG's 55-inch and 65-inch B7A models will be on sale for $1,499 and $2,299, respectively, discounts of $800 and $1,000 over the regular prices, LG says. As mentioned, all ten of its TVs, including the slim B7 and C7 models, the "picture-on-glass" E7, the high-end G7 and wall-mounted, one-tenth-of-an-inch thick W7 LG Signature OLED, will be discounted by varying amounts.

Source: LG


YouTube TV app arrives for newer Samsung smart TVs

YouTube TV arrived in April of this year, making it Google's de facto live television service. It's available in over half of the homes in the US, and we've been waiting patiently for the rumored big screen TV app so we could stop sending live TV from our phones to our Chromecasts and Apple TVs. The Xbox and Android TV versions of the app have been out for a few weeks, now, while Google tweeted out the availability of the YouTube TV app specifically for owners of newer model Samsung sets.

According to Google's blog post, you can see YouTube TV via a native app on Android TV (but not Xiaomi's Mi Box), all three flavors of Xbox One and 2017 and 2018 Samsung and LG smart TVs. It will also show up "soon" on 2014 and 2015 Samsung and LG TVs, Sony Linux TVs, and Apple TV.

Source: Google


The best smartphones you can buy right now

Smartphones get better every year, but 2017 has seen a string of particularly impressive devices. The benefits are obvious -- there's never been a better year to be in the market for a new phone -- but that also means that making a decision is harder than ever. Since we've tested all of 2017's major releases to date, we've put together a list to help you figure out which phone is the best choice for you, broken down into sections that'll give you a better idea of where these devices excel.

Bear in mind, having the best comes at a cost, and all of the options below cost at least $600. We have a separate guide for smartphone shoppers on a budget, and we're also working on one for the best mid-range phones, for folks not looking to spend a small fortune. If you simply have to have the best, though, have a look at our short list.

The best smartphones for most people: iPhone 8 or Galaxy S8

Chris Velazco/Engadget

This may seem like a cop-out, but we're legitimately torn: Samsung's Galaxy S8 and Apple's iPhone 8 are the best smartphones out there for most people. It really just boils down to where your platform loyalties lie.

Of the two, the Galaxy S8 ($725) is the more physically attractive device, with its 5.8-inch Infinity Display and its meticulously crafted, water-resistant body. It's plenty powerful, thanks to its Snapdragon 835 chipset, and Samsung managed to squeeze in a few features, like a headphone jack and expandable memory, that some of its rivals have given up on. While we've seen devices like the Pixel pull off amazing camera feats, the S8's 12-megapixel sensor is nearly as good.

When it comes to design, performance and features, you'd be hard-pressed to beat the Galaxy S8. The S8 also enjoys wide carrier support, and since it's been such a popular device this year, you can often find it for less than the usual asking price through sales and carrier promotions. Oh, and if you'd rather have some extra screen space, there's always the larger Galaxy S8 Plus. It's mostly identical to its little brother, so all the same praise applies, but its 6-inch screen is a pleasure to take in, and it has slightly longer battery life, to boot.

But some of you are already heavily invested in Apple's services, and that's fine too. If that's the case, your best bet is to check out the iPhone 8 series. These devices are both incredibly powerful, owing to their shared A11 Bionic chipset, and they offer access to Apple's huge catalog of polished apps. The iPhone 8 ($699) is a great machine on its own, and is well suited to people who don't like the idea of carrying around a bigger phone. It also just might be the last, best iPhone of its kind, so you'll benefit from years of refinement that the iPhone X simply doesn't have yet.

That said, the 8 Plus has some distinct advantages that make it the more powerful choice between the two. Its bigger battery means fewer trips to the power outlet (or the wireless charging puck, if you prefer). More important, the iPhone 8 Plus uses a 12-megapixel dual-camera setup that is simply superior to the iPhone 8's single sensor. We still prefer the Pixel 2 as an all-around shooter, but the 8 Plus's camera is nearly as good and benefits from true optical zoom.

Samsung and Apple have both done some impressive work this year, and we think you'll be satisfied with any of the devices we just mentioned. These phones are also great entry points if you've spent more time using one platform over another: We've seen plenty of people switch from iPhones to Galaxy S8s and enjoy the transition, and vice versa.

The best big-screen smartphone: Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Chris Velazco/Engadget

There's no questioning Samsung's mastery of smartphone screens, and if you're looking for something exceptionally big and bright, your search should start with the Galaxy Note 8 ($929). At 6.3 inches, this is the biggest display that Samsung has squeezed into a phone since the Galaxy Mega, back in 2013. Size isn't everything, though: The panel's 18.5:9 aspect ratio means it's much longer than it is wide, making it surprisingly easy to hold with one hand. (It also helps that there's hardly any bezel surrounding the screen.) And, of course, it's simply stunning to look at. AMOLED screens are known for their bright colors and deep blacks, but the Note 8's display was tuned to give colors a little extra oomph without sacrificing overall accuracy. Such vivid hues might not suit everyone, but the Note 8 is nothing if not thrilling to look at.

It's worth noting that the Galaxy S8 Plus has a screen that's nearly as big as the Note 8's, and that it's less expensive too. While the S8 Plus represents the better value for most people, the Note 8 makes better use of that space. That's mostly thanks to the included S Pen. Taking notes and doodling on the Note 8 works exceptionally well, and having all that screen real estate means you can keep jotting for longer before having to start a new page. Other features, like onscreen translation, make the S Pen even more capable, and the combination of these features, plus an excellent display, make the Note 8 the big-screen smartphone to beat.

The best phone for music buffs: LG V30

Chris Velazco/Engadget

Just about everyone uses their smartphone to listen to music, so why do so few companies seem to take smartphone audio seriously? Thankfully, LG has made high-quality audio a priority, and its new V30 ($840) stands apart from the pack as the best-sounding smartphone we've tested all year. Music piped through its single speaker is mostly just passable, but everything changes when you plug in a pair of headphones. Once the phone's Quad DAC (digital-to-analog converter) kicks in, music sounds noticeably louder and gains a much-needed clarity boost.

If you're the kind of audio nut who enjoys fiddling with sound settings, the V30 offers a handful of presets that cater to different tastes -- the "detailed" mode emphasizes vocals and draws out nuances that may otherwise get lost in the mix, while "live" adds enough reverb to make music sound like it's being played in front of you. Audiophiles will also appreciate a few additional filters that tune audio performance even further, but this is the sort of thing you'll need to listen to really, really carefully to detect the difference.
To be clear, there are more reasons to like the V30 besides its audio chops. Based on our testing, it's the most versatile smartphone out there when it comes to shooting video. Amateur cinematographers will enjoy the depth and control the V30 offers, but that proficiency at video is blunted somewhat by the dual camera's mediocre still image quality.

The best camera phone: Google Pixel 2

Chris Velazco/Engadget

While we generally prefer the Pixel 2 XL for its sleeker design and larger battery, lingering questions about the quality of its screen, combined with startling reports of QA mishaps, make the smaller Pixel 2 ($649) the safer bet. Thankfully, both phones share the same 12.2-megapixel main camera, and it's arguably the best smartphone shooter we've used all year. The sensor is only part of the equation, though: Google has lent its considerable computational power to the Pixels in the form of an HDR+ mode that we'd recommend you keep on all the time. Long story short: It makes for excellent colors, lots of detail and wide dynamic range, even in situations where light is scarce.

Frankly, we thought the Pixel 2's camera was great by itself, but Google had a surprise up its sleeve. Inside every Pixel 2 is a dedicated co-processor called the Pixel Visual Core, meant to make on-device image processing even faster. Designing a smartphone chip like this is uncharted territory for Google, but we're pleased that the company's first foray is all about making the Pixel 2's camera even more capable. More important, the Visual Core is also meant to bring the power of the HDR+ mode into third-party apps, so pretty soon you'll be able to shoot photos inside, say, Instagram that look just as good as the ones sitting in your camera roll.

Honorable mentions

Since 2017 has been such a banner year for smartphones, we felt it appropriate to shine some light on phones that, for one reason or another, didn't quite make the cut.

Apple's iPhone X ($999) represents the most radical change to the iPhone formula ever, and it's a very, very good phone. Its screen is excellent, as are its performance and camera. You probably don't need me to tell you it's perhaps the prettiest slab of hardware Apple has ever built either. Looks aside, its steep price and middle-of-the-road battery life mean there are better choices out there for most people.

Meanwhile, the Essential PH-1 ($499) deserves a nod because it's a well-made device crafted by a relative newcomer. Essential might be new to building smartphones, but it brings Android co-creator Andy Rubin's know-how and some undeniable industrial design chops to the table. Ultimately, the PH-1 is held back by its lackluster camera, but the startup deserves credit for proving that giants like Apple and Samsung haven't completely cornered the market on truly elegant hardware.

And let's not forget that 2017 isn't over yet, and we're looking forward to testing a few other devices that might have nabbed a spot on this list. The Razer Phone ($699) borrowed a design from another handset we enjoyed and modified it to cater to the company's core audience: gamers. We weren't thrilled with its camera in our recent hands-on demo, but the Razer Phone is one of the few smartphones in the world with a 120Hz refresh rate, making motion on screen appear impressively smooth. Throw in a Snapdragon 835 chipset, 6GB of RAM and a whopping 4,000mAh battery and we're left with a device that, while customized for mobile gamers, has plenty to offer mainstream users too.

There's also the OnePlus 5T, which is set to be officially unveiled at a press conference in mid-November. Based on a glut of leaks, the 5T will ditch its capacitive navigation keys to accommodate a screen that takes up more of the phone's face, a move that forced OnePlus to stick its fingerprint sensor on the back, beneath an upgraded dual camera. We're expecting it to be a solid update to an already powerful device, and it should stand as proof that you don't need to pay sometimes outrageous flagship prices for an extremely capable phone.


LG’s V30+ is coming to T-Mobile on November 17th

While most carriers got LG's vlog-ready V30 smartphone (pictured above) back in August, Sprint got an exclusive version, the V30+, that doubled its storage to 128GB. Or so the company claimed. T-Mobile just announced that it's getting the device too, and will make it available to customers on November 17th.

Aside from the extra space, the phone also packs in nicer earbuds and HiFi Quad DAC -- but otherwise, it's the same ol' V30 that came out months ago. The real coup lies in bragging rights more than securing a signature phone, but spoiling exclusives wouldn't be an issue if the Sprint--T-Mobile merger hadn't gotten called off days ago.

Source: T-Mobile