‘LG Labs’ Exhibition Focused on Innovation at CES 2024
The LG Electronics booth is always a popular stop at CES. For me, it’s the company’s newest OLED TVs that have the biggest draw each year. But I also enjoy checking out the brand’s showcase of innovative and pioneering concept products — things that may or may not become real products that you can buy. Like concept cars at auto shows, these experimental designs sometimes offer glimpses into the future. In other cases, they just provide an outlet for imaginative design. LG will dedicate a special exhibition space to LG Labs, which functions as a hub for these forward-thinking products and services. LG Labs had a similar exhibit at last year’s CES, where the company showed off a number of interesting concepts. These included a product called “brid.zzz,” a smart sleep care solution that used sleep pattern data measured with a real-time brain wave sensor to provide an optimized personal sleep care solution to improve sleep quality. We also saw “excycle,” a next-gen exercise bike that promised the full experience of both studio cycling and outdoor cycling. It had a freewheel motor switchable mode, allowing it to offer “studio classes” and “virtual cycling” sessions. We also saw a wireless charging station for e-scooters, called “pluspot.” For CES 2024, the LG Labs zone was more than twice as large as it was last year, as LG aimed to “present creative ideas tailored to various lifestyles, offering diverse customer experiences.”
DukeBox by LG Labs
One of the most interesting of these creative ideas — and the most relevant to audio enthusiasts — is something called the DukeBox by LG Labs. This unusual audio product “seamlessly combines the charm of vacuum tube audio with cutting-edge transparent OLED panel technology,” according to LG. Essentially a modernized jukebox crossed with a smart speaker, the DukeBox aims to deliver a new music experience “by combining old-fashioned sensibilities with state-of-the-art technology, seeking to reinvent the depth of audio and video experience.” LG tells us that the DukeBox is an all-in-one device combining built-in amplification with front-facing speakers at the bottom and a 360-degree speaker at the top. (The only available image appears to show two 360-degree speakers.) Like some other smart speakers, the DukeBox makes somewhat dubious claims of providing “an immersive audio experience that surrounds the listener.” All of this is situated behind a transparent OLED display. LG says that the transparency of the OLED display can be adjusted, “creating a captivating visual effect reminiscent of a vacuum tube audio system enclosed in a transparent glass box.” Indeed, there are six vacuum tubes visible in the product image, but LG’s press release mentions one singular tube, so details of the amp’s circuit design remain murky. When the OLED screen is in transparent mode, it can display a cozy fireplace ambiance “where the vacuum tube is visible amidst the flickering flames,” according to LG. But the DukeBox’s versatile display can also be used to watch movies, according to the company. It’s hard to imagine exactly who is the target customer for such a gadget, but I think it looks cool, and will surely be a highlight of the LG Labs showcase.
Bon Voyage by LG Labs
Another out-there product at this year’s exhibition was an upgraded version of the Bon Voyage by LG Labs, which is a “customized living space designed to extend the life quality at home out into nature,” according to LG. The previous version made its debut at the global wellness festival “Wanderlust Korea” at Seoul's Olympic Park in August, 2023. That was a two-story structure covering about 215 square feet. The new version unveiled at CES has been redesigned, based on customer feedback, to the size of a typical camping trailer. The new design features optimized space utilization and mobility, measuring 6.6 feet wide, 12.5 feet deep, and 7.2 feet tall. The new Bon Voyage can be furnished with various furniture and appliances, including a bed, refrigerator, electric stove, water purifier, and more. Thanks to its new sizing, it can be more easily connected to a car or parked inside a standard garage.
LG CineBeam Qube Projector
At CES, LG will also be introducing its latest lifestyle projector, the CineBeam Qube. Although pricing and availability have not been announced as of now, the CineBeam Qube appears to be a market-ready product, unlike the concept products described above. The CineBeam Qube (which is also designated as model HU710PB) is a tiny 4K projector that can “transform (any) indoor space into a movie theater,” according to LG. Its distinctive design and convenient 360-degree rotatable handle make it a “stylish interior accessory” in addition to a nifty tech gadget, according to the company. LG says its “eye-catching minimalist aesthetic (adds) a touch of modern sophistication to the room.”
Measuring just 5.31 x 5.31 x 3.15 inches, and weighing 3.28 pounds, the LG CineBeam Qube is one of the smallest 4K UHD (3,840 x 2,160) projectors available. But LG says it is a powerful performer, capable of projecting bright, high-resolution images measuring from 50 inches up to 120 inches. Connectivity includes an HDMI input (with eARC) and USB Type C. The CineBeam Qube uses an RGB laser light source to deliver “exceptionally clear, sharp pictures boasting a 450,000:1 contrast ratio and 154 percent coverage of the DCI-P3 color gamut,” according to LG. In addition to its impressive color accuracy, the CineBeam Qube has HDR10 on board, but a maximum brightness of 500 lumens means you’ll want a very dark room if you hope to experience any of the benefits of HDR.
Additionally, the Qube comes with Auto Screen Adjustment, which uses an auto-focus feature to automatically optimize image placement and size. This system promises “a superb viewing experience, every time.” The CineBeam Qube runs on the latest version of LG webOS, the same system we’ve seen on the brand’s smart TVs. Although not as user-friendly as Roku’s operating system (and with fewer available apps than Google TV), LG webOS does offer a diverse selection of the most popular streaming services, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu, and Max. The projector can also be used to enjoy “captivating digital images that enhance the ambiance of their space,” when not being used for content consumption.
Great for spaces large and small, LG CineBeam Qube is a unique lifestyle projector possessing all the qualities consumers look for when choosing a new projection solution. LG’s upgraded projector lineup offers a range of lifestyle-enriching devices that present outstanding spatial integration and versatility as well as immersive, cinematic viewing experiences.
— YS Lee, Vice President and Head of IT Business, LG Electronics
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