The 2018 Consumer Electronics Show is taking place this week in Las Vegas and yesterday was day two of the media scrums where tech companies hold press conferences (or simply issue press releases) to promote their new products and services.
You can see the highlights of day one here.
As day two came to an end, here were the highlights in the TV technology category, as seen by some of the nation’s leading tech sites:
* Sony’s 2018 X900F LCD 4K TV series, which includes local dimming, will feature sizes from 49 inches to a whopping 85 inches.
Sony’s X900E series in 2017 stopped at 75 inches, but the company is expanding this year’s 4K line to include the bigger set. CNET reports that the 2018 models will also include Dolby Vision High Dynamic Range compatibility (via a firmware update sometime during the year) and as well as standard HDR10 support.
As is often the case with CES product announcement, no launch dates or pricing information was released.
(Note: Local dimming, which is included in the Sony X900F series, enhances a LCD’s picture by dimming the elements on the screen that should be dimmed while increasing the brightness where the brightness should be emphasized. The overall effect is a more realistic, accurate picture.)
* Sony introduces a $30,000 4K Short-Throw Projector
Sony yesterday also introduced a new 4K short-throw projector that can display a 4K image up to 120 inches. Designed to be positioned roughly 10 feet away from the screen, the projector also comes with a ‘Glass Sound’ speaker system that pushes sound out in a 360 angle. Tweaktown.com writes that the sound is designed to ‘bounce’ off the wall the projector is facing.
The company is expected to launch the projector in the spring, in case you have that $30,000 handy.
* Sony unveils a new OLED TV to follow its 2017 model.
Sony, which was a pioneer in developing OLED display technology before bowing out for several years, last year finally introduced its first large-screen OLED set, called the A1. The TV generated strong reviews with some critics saying it matched LG’s OLEDs for both picture and feature-set. Considering that LG has been selling OLEDs now for six years, that’s high praise indeed.
Sony yesterday introduced its 2018 OLED model, called the A8F. TrustedReviews.com says the set is a dazzler, but it doesn’t seem to offer much new from the 2017 series.
“Aesthetics aside, there is virtually no change,” the site writes. “We’re looking at the same OLED panel as last year. The Acoustic Surface technology, which vibrates the screen to create sound and negates the need for speakers, remains a key feature. The Sony A8F/AF8 OLED will continue to use last year’s excellent 4K HDR Processor X1 Extreme, and Android TV makes a return.”
The new Sony OLED TV will be released in the spring, but no pricing information was released.
* Panasonic also unveils a new line of OLED TVs.
Panasonic also joined LG last year in embracing the ultra-thin OLED and now the company is promising a 2018 series with an even better picture.
The British online newspaper, The Independent, says it got a test spin of the new sets and came away impressed.
“The new screens promise to display exceptionally low levels of black on-screen, as little as 2.5 per cent or five per cent. In practical terms, this means the control over the shadows on the display and the level of detail within the shadows is extremely strong. Colours, too, have had an upgrade,” the newspaper writes.
* Intel promises new camera technology to capture every angle of play.
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich issued a keynote speech last night in which he certainly captured the attention of sports fans by saying his company has developed a new technology that could record every angle of play in a sporting event.
CNET writes that Krzanich said Intel-powered cameras could be stationed in every conceivable viewpoint so fans could view, and review, every play in unprecedented detail.
“Krzanich showed a packed crowd at the Monte Carlo resort’s Park Theater how Intel uses dozens of high-definition cameras stationed all around a football field to capture just about every angle of a play, allowing broadcasters to provide recaps from the point of view of anyone on the field. Using this technology, viewers will be able to watch a game in VR from any vantage point they’d like, with fantasy stats overlaid on their displays. These 360-degree views are created using so-called volumetric data, populated by voxels, which are pixels in a 3D space,” CNET writes.
See this CNET article for more information.
* Samsung, LG, Sony and Panasonic unveil 8K TVs, but why?
The Hollywood Reporter notes that several TV makers yesterday unveiled new 8K TVs at the show, but adds that it may be years before they reach many homes. Despite 8K offering 16 times the resolution of an HD picture — compared to 4K, which is four times greater — the industry is still catching up with 4K.
It’s highly unlikely content companies will invest significant dollars in developing 8K programming in the near future when they are still working on creating 4K shows.
“Anything will look amazing on these ultra high-quality displays, but if you want to watch true 8K pictures on an 8K TV, don’t hold your breath. It’s not happening anytime soon — at least not in the U.S. and most of the world,” writes The Hollywood Reporter.
Of course, CES is often more of a showcase than a realistic view of what’s coming soon to your local TV store. The 8K sets will look fantastic in each company’s booth and, consequently, draw visitors. And that’s why they are there.
* Sony introduces a 4K Blu-ray player that supports two HDR formats.
Yes, more from Sony. The Verge writes that Sony’s new UBP-X700 Blu-ray player will support 4K Blu-ray discs with HDR10 or Dolby Vision HDR. The company is throwing in Dolby Atmos sound, too, so what’s not to like.
Sony said it would release the new player in the spring, but would not give pricing details.
— Phillip Swann