There was only one TV we wanted last year: The LG Signature W7 Wallpaper OLED. Sadly, we couldn’t have it. Not only because we couldn’t afford it, but because LG opted not to bring it to South Africa. This year, it looks like the only obstacle to buying LG’s premium TVs and appliances will be our bank balance. The Korean electronics giant announced on Wednesday it’ll be offering its Signature OLED TVs, refrigerators, washing machines and air conditioners in South Africa for the first time.
What are we most excited about? As impressive as the Signature Refrigerator and Signature TwinWash washing machine are, it’s LG’s W8 OLED TV which was unveiled early this month at CES in Las Vegas that’s got us properly toasty beneath the collar.
LG says the W8 will be available in SA in the second half of 2018. Until then, if you’ve still got your heart (and eyes) set on a W7 you can now order one from Hirsch’s for between R280,000 and R350,000. But be warned, it could take up to three months for your TV to arrive.
Aside from being impossibly thin and offering blacker blacks than the centre of a black hole, the newer LG W8 is equipped with LG’s a9 Intelligent Processor. Why do you want AI in a TV? So you can bark orders at it like “show me yoga videos”, “connect to sound bar”, “turn off the TV when this episode ends”.
Voice controls work via a microphone built into the LG Magic Remote. Thanks to support for Google’s products like Google News, Weather, Maps, Translate, and Photos and apps like Uber, you can use your TV as a jumbo digital assistant. It’ll also work with LG’s other Signature products and supported smartphone gear, so you can “dim the lights” or “set the oven to 200-degrees”.
The specs sheet is pretty impressive, too. As you’d expect, 4K and HDR support are standard, along with support for Dolby Atmos Sound. South Africa can look forward to four OLED TV models, from the flagship W8, to the mid-range E8 and C8, and the entry-level — if you can really call any OLED display entry-level — B8.
To complement the new displays, LG will also be offering its new LG SoundBar SK10 in the local market. And for smart home fans, there’s the LG ThinQ Speaker with Google Assistant built-in to look forward to, though LG says this could take as much as a year to land in the local market. As Google doesn’t sell it’s smart speakers in South Africa, we’re rather looking forward to giving LG’s smart speaker a talking to.
Later this year we’re also going to see LG’s InstaView ThinQ fridge in SA for the first time, which includes an opaque window that turns translucent when you knock on it. What’s the point? It means you can peer inside in the fridge without needing to open it. That means the door spends less time open, which means better energy efficiency. There’s also a built-in 29in full-HD touch display so you can look up recipes, order groceries online or control other internet-connected LG kit.
There’s plenty of other smart tech in the fridge, including cooling vents in the door to help minimise temperature fluctuations and the ability to adjust the temperature to within half a degree.
You can also expect to see LG’s premium washing machines, ovens, air conditioners and air purifiers in local retailers in coming months.
LG hasn’t revealed exactly when you’ll be able to buy its Signature products in South Africa, nor what the items will cost. But as with Leica cameras, Rolls Royce cars or Rolex watches, if you have to ask…