Skip to main content

Will Dolby make CES 2014 the year of the Super TV?

While the majority of the video industry has been focusing on perfecting the increasingly dense pixel resolution of 4K technology (a.k.a ultra high definition, or UHD), the folks at Dolby Labs have been wrestling with a much more fundamental question: “Is your TV bright enough?” A recent blog from Mike Rockwell, Executive VP of Dolby’s advanced technology group, details how the company that invented hi-fidelity sound plans to do the same for television by creating brilliantly vivid images that are similar to what we see in the natural world.

Working on research about basic human visual perception, as well as a study to find out how bright the majority of users (90 percent) actually want their TVs to be, Dolby has created a liquid cooled “super TV” that douses viewers with up to 20,000 nits of light, or about the equivalent of looking at a 100 watt light bulb. This near-nuclear burst of eye-scorching luminance is around 200 times brighter than the industry standard. So how can it be considered palatable, or even tolerable? Contrast, of course.

Using rich contrast between shades of light and dark, only tiny fractions of the whitest light on Dolby’s new display reach those dazzling levels of brightness, creating a contrast level up to 10,000:1 in the brightest scenes, and 10,000:1 in the darkest. Rockwell explains that the combination of the super darks and whites form an overall contrast ratio of “100,000:1 or more,” creating a level of clarity that blurs the lines between the on-screen images and the real world. Rockwell goes so far as to claim that looking at the display is like looking through a window.

What this all means for your living room set in the near future is unclear, at present. But Dolby’s first “super TV” appears to be just the lead-in. A report from the Wall Street Journal details an eyes-on look at one of Dolby’s new LED prototypes, which the company has been showing off around the industry from TV manufacturers to Hollywood studios. The prototype reaches a slightly less astonishing brightness of 4,000 nits, but even so, the demonstration appears to have made it clear that Dolby has got some lightning in its new bottle. And since Dolby has yet to name its new technology, we’re sticking with its own “super TV” moniker for the prototypes as well.

With CES coming up in less than a month, it’s not much of a leap to guess that one of Dolby’s new ultra-bright TVs will be making an appearance. In fact, the WSJ reveals some tantalizing hints from Dolby about unnamed manufacturers that will be revealing their own displays at the show utilizing the sparkling new technology. While no names have been dropped, if the past is any implication, you can bet on Samsung, LG, and Sony as top candidates.

If last year’s CES was the year of the 4K TV, and to a slightly lesser extent, OLED, could this year’s conference be the year of Dolby’s brilliantly bright “super TV?” Time will tell, but we don’t mind admitting, we’re pretty excited to find out how vividly these TVs shine for ourselves. Stay tuned over the next few weeks as we learn more, and stick with us at CES 2014 for coverage of this, and reams of other crazy technology that will be invading your home in the future.

Editors' Recommendations

Ryan Waniata
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Ryan Waniata is a multi-year veteran of the digital media industry, a lover of all things tech, audio, and TV, and a…
Did Roku just upend the midrange TV landscape?
TCL's Scott Ramirez at CES 2023.

One of the biggest stories of CES 2023 isn't on the show floor at the Las Vegas Convention Center. It's not the hottest new gadget or even a bigger, better TV. It's not a Sony car. It's not faster. It's not smaller.

No, the biggest news of CES 2023 may well come down to a logo. Specifically, the Roku logo adorning the front of new Roku-branded Roku TVs. That phrase sounds a little odd, of course. But the simple fact is that while "Roku TV" may well be the name for a television that's powered by the Roku operating system — and three out of four new TVs sold in North America have been of that nature for a number of years now — the televisions themselves have always been made by another company.

Read more
CES 2023: Hisense’s smallest laser projector is portable and has a huge 150-inch image size
Hisense Smart Mini Laser Cinema.

Hisense has been working on laser projectors (or laser TVs as they're sometimes called) for several years, but CES 2023 is the first time the company has shown a portable version of the high-brightness projector tech. It debuted the Hisense Smart Mini Projector at the show, alongside four other laser TV models. No prices or release dates were immediately available. The company also launched its 2023 TV lineup and debuted a new, ultrabright flagship TV called the UX.

For 2023, Hisense has decided to split its laser TV products into two categories: Laser TV and Laser Cinema. The difference is that the Laser TV models are ultra-short throw (UST) projectors that come with their own ambient-light rejecting (ALR) screens and are designed to project images at non-adjustable sizes, just like a regular TV. Laser Cinema models, on the other hand, are (with the exception of the Mini) also UST, but they have an adjustable image size and they don't come with a screen.

Read more
TCL QM8 mini-LED TV at CES 2023: a 98-inch giant with a built-in subwoofer
2023 TCL QM8 4K mini-led QLED TV.

TCL has arrived at CES 2023 with a revamped TV lineup that has more than a few surprises. In addition to announcing its plan to sell its first QD-OLED TV in 2023, TCL is bringing its mini-LED backlight technology to its largest QLED model, putting the brand in direct competition with Samsung, the only other company that makes a 98-inch mini-LED QLED TV.

TCL has also decided to rename its models, abandoning its 1-, 3-, 4-, 5-, 8-, and 6-Series for a simplified approach that divides the company's TVs into two main buckets, the high-end, QLED-powered Q Series, and the more affordable, non-QLED S Series. TCL's 2023 soundbars will also follow this new naming convention with Q and S Series models.

Read more