Frankly, this was not a good year for TVs at IFA 2019. Typically, Europe’s massive tech show is ground zero for the unveiling of the year’s hottest new televisions, but this year, neither LG, Sony, nor Samsung had anything new to announce. In fact, only one major TV manufacturer came to the show with a television we’ve not seen before, and you can’t even buy it in the U.S.
That doesn’t mean there weren’t some stunning TVs to gawk at, though, and this show represented the first time some of these TVs could be viewed by the public. With that in mind, here are the five best TVs we saw at IFA 2019, with the list including the gorgeous Philips OLED+ 984, Sharp’s 120-inch 8K monster, and the 55-inch Q900 8K TV that headlined Samsung’s event.
We begin with the one television that actually made its debut at IFA 2019, Philips’ stunning OLED+ 984. While there were other new OLEDs from the European electronics giant, this particular model stands out thanks to its integrated soundbar designed by legendary audio outfit, Bowers & Wilkins. The best part? The central tweeter hovers above the bar. Stunning.
The OLED screen itself is made by LG, which is par for the course, but the TV is driven by Philips’ P5 processing engine, which looked outstanding. But here’s the kicker: Philips doesn’t sell its TVs in North America (the Philips brand you see here in the U.S. is actually licensed branding for a company called Funai), so Americans will just have to gawk from across the pond.
Walk into Sharp’s booth at IFA 2019 and you’ll be greeted by a 120-inch 8K monstrosity capturing the attention of all who pass it (we even heard a gasp or two). To see 8K at this scale is to believe in the expanded resolution. Even from mere inches away, distinguishing the television’s minuscule pixels from one another is nearly impossible, and from a distance, it’s as clear as can be.
What’s even more interesting than the sheer size of the screen is that this particular television has been fitted with a 5G antenna. Sharp was rather coy about what it’s to be used for, though ahead of the reveal it noted that it could be useful for downloading artwork in a higher resolution. In reality, it’s probably there to deliver the internet speed required to stream 8K content.
Samsung’s biggest IFA 2019 announcement is its smallest 8K TV: A 55-inch model. Funnily enough, the actual television isn’t new. It’s been on sale in both Europe and North America for a while now. Instead, the Korean behemoth has hurled it over to Berlin to announce that it will be casting it further into the wild with a worldwide release, spanning 50 countries.
To be truthful, Sammy took the safe route with the 55-inch Q900. It doesn’t tout an iconic design like the 4K Philips OLED+ 984, nor does it offer a massive screen. It’s all rather basic. It is driven by the same Quantum A.I. processor that fuels the rest of the Q900 range, and also comes with support for HDR10+ and an 8K upscaler, which is used to transform 4K into 8K.
While one of the most expensive TVs on the floor at IFA 2019, LG’s 88-inch 8K TV actually isn’t the most eye-catching. People look, but there’s no staring in amazement, and certainly no gasping — at least, from what we heard at the booth. That is until the various representatives dropped the astonishing $42,000 price tag, then the gasps started filling the air.
In all fairness, the 88-inch LG Signature Z9 is the largest OLED on the market, so it’d be rash to think it wouldn’t command a mind-boggling price. What’s strange, though, is that those who pre-ordered a unit (yes, this is television was also announced ahead of IFA 2019) would have only had to part with $34,000, but those who missed out have to fork out $8,000 more.
If the Philips OLED+ 984 wasn’t our favorite television on show at IFA 2019, it would be the 75-inch TCL Mini LED 8K TV. Being a budget manufacturer, the firm is presumably looking to bring 8K to the conscious consumer. As such, we aren’t looking at a revolutionary bit of kit from a design standpoint; it’s all rather basic. But it’s the technology that’s the drawing factor.
Just like Samsung, TCL is taking advantage of Quantum Dots to produce more accurate color. There are also 900 local dimming zones for delivering fantastic contrast, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos (the latter of which is made possible thanks to an included soundbar), and Android TV delivering all the smarts. Not bad for a TV that should be on the affordable end of 8K.
Need to catch up on the latest and greatest from IFA 2019? In a nutshell, Amazon took the wraps off an OLED Fire TV (it wasn’t actually on display at IFA 2019, so it didn’t make the cut for this article), LG showed off the LG G8X ThinQ Dual Screen, and Samsung announced the revamped Galaxy Fold, dubbed Galaxy Fold 2.0. You can find all the biggest announcements here.
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