LG U+ is a South Korean telecom operator owned by LG Corporation, parent company of the well-known global electronics brand and one of South Korea's largest conglomerates. Initially a mobile operator, the company entered the landline market through the 2010 acquisition of Dacom Corp. which ran Hanaro Telecom's fixed-line network.
LG U+ first entered the video services market with a VoD service as early as 2006, then added linear IPTV. It subsequently launched an LTE network followed by a mobile TV service. In 2012, the company decided that the pace of innovation was being constrained by its existing platforms, and switched to an Android-based platform -- to create a more open system and facilitate rapid third-party application deployment. (See LG U+ Touts Open, Flexible IPTV Approach .)
"We wanted to provide experience-based video content, unrestricted by device or content," said Hyun Chul In, director of the operator's IPTV service. "We needed to focus on our strength, which is the all-IP network, and then diversify our content offerings through partnerships using an open platform."
According to In, the Android set-top includes a quad-core CPU capable of decoding the more efficient (but processor-intensive) HEVC video format, allowing LG U+ to offer Ultra HD services. It includes 120-watt 4.1 channel speakers and internally installed woofers for improved sound quality. The UHD services are delivered at very high resolution incorporating more than 1 billion pixels, and LG U+ has developed in-house picture noise-reduction technology to further improve the image.
The set-top can also be managed via voice commands, and features a headset jack, allowing users to listen to the audio without disturbing others in the room. And the service offers a face-recognition app that can recognize movie stars' faces and link to news and information about them. LG U+ also has some virtual reality services it is developing, and plans to launch shortly.
LG U+ believes its network is its core strength, but in order to rapidly offer new features, it needed a platform that allowed for faster deployment of third-party apps and better integration with mobile devices. The choice of Android has enabled this, creating the flexibility of an app store-compatible platform on their set-top box.
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