Advances in TV technology that were on display at CES 2017 were exciting, astounding, and, in one case, “just what people have been waiting for.”
Digital Trends’ Greg Nibler interviewed Caleb Denison, the site’s entertainment and home theater editor, on all the top new TV tech, as well as what factors led to the Sony Bravia A1E being chosen for the Digital Trends CES 2017 Best of Show Award for Home TVs. Denison said with so much amazing new television technology, especially from the major manufacturers, the Best of Show award decision was extremely difficult. He lost sleep over the decision, but finally selected the Sony Bravia A1E.
Sony Bravia A1E
“I ended up picking the Sony Bravia A1E OLED as my favorite of the show,” Denison said. “First, I was excited to see Sony coming into the OLED market in addition to LG.” Competition always brings prices down and stokes the fires between manufacturers. Sony’s entry into the market stems competition, and consumers win when manufacturers compete, Denison said.
Also, Denison said, the Bravia A1E is simply a stunning TV. Even with the same display panel, processing makes a big difference, and Sony has always had the best processing.
“Sony does it the best,” he said. Denison listed the features behind the Bravia’s great picture, including amazing black levels, super-high brightness, and HDR that’s incredible.
Sony also revised the way you get sound, replacing conventional speakers with a pair of actuators that are built into each side of the screen. The OLED panel’s rigidity makes it a great sound medium.
No pricing is available yet, and no specific release date was announced. Denison expects it will be out in the spring.
LG Wallpaper TV
Denison also talked about LG’s Wallpaper TV W7 series, which he said finished a close second for the Best of Show award. LG took the desire for thinner and thinner flat panels “to the limit. They pulled the OLED panel from the casing, removed the power supply, processing chips, and everything.” The result is a display that’s about one-tenth-of-an-inch thick. It has a stainless steel panel structure and mounts right against the wall using magnets.
“It’s really easy to mount yourself,” Denison said. ‘There’s no bezel, and all the other hardware is in a fairly sizable soundbar. It’s a Dolby ATMOS soundbar with speakers pointing up, bouncing sound off the ceiling for fully immersive sound. It’s got Dolby Vision HDR, HDR10, HDR everything. Ever since the flat panel came out, I think this is what people wanted.”
Nibler said the LG Wallpaper TV is available for pre-order for $8,000 on Best Busy. Prices will go down by the end of the year, but it will still be an expensive premium TV.
Nibler asked about Samsung’s QLED, the other big TV innovation that caught people’s attention at CES, saying the internet is abuzz about it and Digital Trends’ video on QLED is going off the rails.
Denison explained that two years ago, Samsung launched SUHD TV as a premium brand. This year, it announced QLED, a further development in quantum dot television panels introduced with SUHD. Samsung changed the nature of the nanocrystal semiconductors with a metallic element that increases the effective bandwidth, resulting in super brightness without washing out colors, which is a game-changer for HDR. It also improves off-axis viewing somewhat and raises black levels a bit. Denison said he’ll know more after a full lab review at Digital Trends headquarters. He said gamers will love QLED, with its super-black levels and low lag times, which make it great for HDR gaming on the PlayStation PS4 Pro and Xbox One S.
Denison mentioned that Panasonic received an honorable mention for its plans to bring an OLED display to the U.S. market. He said Panasonic, like Sony, always has great processing and is well-beloved by Hollywood. That will make for a total of three OLED manufacturers — Panasonic, Sony, and LG — after LG has been the only one for years. Denison acknowledged that many people love LED/LCD, and it’s not going away soon. OLED will remain the premium display.
Denison also spoke about television content, specifically streaming content. He mentioned Sling TV, PlayStation View, DirecTV Now, and Hulu. Denison spoke with a Hulu vice president, and while he can’t reveal the details, he said Hulu is planning on blurring the lines between on-demand and live-streamed content by adding a degree of personalization and recommendation. The new Hulu service is about to go into beta, according to Denison. He’s not sure when it will debut, but when it does, it will definite be a player.
Check out Digitsl Trends’ comprehensive coverage of CES 2017 at DigitalTrends.com/ces/.