CES 2016: The Televisions
Rollable OLED, Ultra HD, HDR, 4K/8K and Wider Colour Spaces await
The TVs of CES 2016 will once again provide the star turns, be they 4K or 8K Ultra HD, OLED, HDR, Dolby Vision, ULED or any new buzzword to come out of Las Vegas this time around.
The last couple of years have been as exciting as any for followers of TV technology, with Ultra HD now a mainstream proposition; more companies selling OLED televisions; High Dynamic Range beginning to roll out; wider colour gamuts being reached; new manufacturers entering the market and 4K Blu-ray just about to arrive. In fact, you could justifiably ask, what could the manufacturers possibly have to show us, this time around, that could create the same buzz as any of these advancements? Well let’s take a look.
LGWe’ll start with LG as they are always the most forthcoming, in terms of providing information before the event. LG has, in fact, already confirmed one headline grabbing TV for CES 2016 and it’s the kind of product that will gain attention outside of the specialist press. The Korean’s will make good on one of the early promises of OLED by showing a ‘rollable’ 55-inch TV that fits in to a tube for easy transportation; LG Chem is apparently working on a battery solution. It should be pointed out that this will be a prototype product so it’s not going to be available in 2016 but, when it does arrive, it will surely be the AV enthusiast dream; don’t like the cruddy TV round at your friends or relatives houses? Take your own, problem solved. Courtesy of the CES Innovations Awards, we also know LG will also have a new, non-rollable 77-inch OLED TV because it won one, back in November 2015, and it will be available in 2016.
PanasonicWe might as well stick with the chronological order of the CES Press conference schedule and next turn our attention to Panasonic. There’s no doubt that Panasonic’s biggest announcement, last time around, was their first OLED TV, the CZ950/952, which was an extremely high-end product with a corresponding wallet-busting price-tag. We’re hoping that Panasonic might add to their OLED range with something more affordable and, preferably, without the curved screen. The bulk of their TV products will remain LED/LCD, however, and expect the top-end models to feature 10-bit panels, support for wider colour spaces and HDR with Firefox OS still providing the backbone of the Smart TV experience.
HisenseNext to take the stand will be Hisense who are only just starting to breakthrough into the UK market. Their flagship XT910, which boasts a spec sheet the rival of any, including HDR support, Ultra HD resolution, full array local dimming, a 10-bit panel, 4K video services and all the other mod-cons we’d expect in a high-end TV. Although the XT910 has only just launched here, it was actually announced at CES 2015 so we’ll be expecting further advancements in Hisense’s ULED technology with TVs with even higher brightness panels and closer to Rec. 2020 colours spaces at prices that will have the other brands worried. Hisense has also acquired the naming rights for Sharp TVs in America so anything we see from Sharp will have the Chinese brand behind it, although don’t expect any news of a resurrection of the Sharp brand in the UK or Europe.
SamsungWe have to admit we’re not too sure what Samsung has up their sleeves for CES 2016. In 2015 they moved their Smart TVs over to the Tizen Platform and announced their SUHD TV range, their first High Dynamic Range capable TVs with, of course, UHD resolution. They won’t be shifting Smart TV platforms, this time around, but Samsung has been heavily pro-active in acquiring content deals so perhaps they will have new and interesting news to share on that front. We will be expecting wider colour spaces and brigher panels, in addition to improved local dimming systems but we don’t expect Samsung is yet ready to go big on OLED in 2016, perhaps 2017 will be the year they go for it with any degree of conviction? We can be sure that Samsung will be giving us more details on their Ultra HD Blu-ray Player, however, beyond the fact that it’s curved but then we’d already guessed that.
SonyIt’s about time Sony dropped some big bombs all over CES, after a few years of releasing iterative updates to its existing line of Bravia TVs. Granted, they were first out of the gates with Quantum Dot and wider colour spaces so we should cut them some slack but we just get the sense the Sony TV brand is in a period of stagnation and it could use a lift. So how will they go about grabbing precious page space? Well, hopefully, by announcing something fresh and new like the CLED (Crystal) LED tech which they brought to CES 2012. We’ve heard a big fat nothing about CLED since then – and it’s likely it never made it out of prototype development but we’d love them to spring a surprise, or two. It’s more likely Sony will launch an OLED TV, however, sourced from LG display. Like the rest of the big boys, we expect Sony to have an Ultra HD Blu-ray capable player; we wouldn’t want to miss out on Sony’s ‘glorious’ first batch of UHD Blu-ray titles, of course.
So, we’re done with speculating and we now move in to the anticipation phase, in readiness for the deluge of product announcements sure to come out of CES 2016. As ever, we’ll be covering it from the ground, as well as back in the UK, so stay tuned for all the developments from Las Vegas in January 2016. What are you hoping for and expecting to see?
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