The 2018 Consumer Electronics Show begins this week in Las Vegas and yesterday was the unofficial kickoff day with various tech companies holding press conferences (or simply issuing press releases) to promote their new products and services. (There will be more press briefings on Monday.)
As the day came to an end, here were the highlights in the TV technology category, as seen by some of the nation’s leading tech sites:
* Samsung doubles-down on its proprietary picture technology, QLED (stands for, “Quantum Light Emitting Diote”) which the company says will offer a picture even better than LG’s OLED sets.
The electronics giant first introduced QLED in 2017, but says it has improved the technology in a number of ways.
“The company has completely redesigned the LCD panel to better block interior light leakage, an Achilles heel of LCD displays,” writes CNET. “It uses what Samsung calls a scattering pattern to control the beam form and widen viewing angles, addressing another LCD weakness. And it takes on OLED’s biggest advantage — perfectly dark black areas that create an infinite contrast — with a full-array local dimming LED backlight and an “antiblooming algorithm” aimed at illuminating only the parts of the image that need it.”
* Samsung unveils a 146-inch TV that the company likes to call, ‘the wall.’
Forbes writes that the picture for the monster-sized set is created by assembling rows of square Micro-LED blocks. Due to the technical complexity involved, and the cost of mass production, it’s unlikely the TV will find a place in your home, or anyone else’s home, anytime soon. But it did generate a few oohs and aahs at the company’s press event.
“The so-called Micro-LED model with its 146-inch screen…is clearly – and unsurprisingly – the furthest away from becoming a consumer proposition,” Forbes writes. “However, despite rather prosaically being dubbed The Wall by the Samsung marketing folk, it really did provide Samsung with a stunning way to open its 2018 CES account – and showed that while a consumer micro-LED TV might not be quite ready yet, it may also be a lot closer than you think.”
*Samsung unveils an 85-inch 8K TV with artificial intelligence.
Talk about not quite ready yet: Samsung’s 85-inch set promises to use the built-in ‘AI’ to convert any video to 8K. Considering that some consumers are still struggling to discern the benefits of 4K, buying an 8K TV driving by artificial intelligence seems more likely the opening scene of a future Black Mirror episode.
CNET is one of several tech sites who’s expressing some doubt about whether the 8K set will do what it claims, not to mention if it will ever find a price and/or a place on a retail store’s shelf.
“With a futuristic form factor that resembles previous “easel” style high-end Samsung TVs, the Q9S’s claim to fame is more pixels than 4K TVs. Of course, more pixels doesn’t necessarily mean a better picture, especially since 4K at normal seating distances already approaches the limits of human visual acuity,” writes CNET.
* Consumer Technology Association says consumer spending on music and video streaming will rise by 35 percent this year.
The CTA, the trade group that runs the annual CEA, issues a new study predicting that spending on services such as DIRECTV Now, Hulu, Spotify and Pandora will jump to $19.5 billion in 2018.
The study also predicts that half of TVs sold in 2018 will be 4K sets.
* Haier says it has struck a deal with Google to offer the Android TV platform to 2018 sets.
Previously, the budget TV maker had focused on including built-in Google Chromecast service in its Smart TVs. The new Android TV sets will include 4K and be launched sometime in mid-2018.
*LG introduces a 65-inch OLED TV that rolls up like a piece of paper.
The concept of making displays that are so thin and flexible that they can roll up like a newspaper has been in the works for years. But LG took the idea to the max this weekend by introducing a 65-inch OLED model that, yes, rolls up like a paper. (The TV is pictured above.)
BGR.com notes that LG seems a bit uncertain itself why someone would need a TV that rolls up like a paper. In its press release, it says the TV would save space and add portability to your TV design choices.
Of course, like most new CES products, we don’t have a launch date or price.
— Phillip Swann