Q. I love all the news that comes from CES every year about all the new technology products. Are you going to have some of the news in your column? — Gary, Roanoke, Virginia.
Gary, the annual Consumer Electronics Show has convened in Las Vegas and several companies yesterday held press conferences to announce their new products and services for the coming year, and years.
Below is a summary of the most interesting developments regarding TV technology:
New Gaming Consoles Will Support 4K
Microsoft and Sony say they are planning to introduce new versions of their popular gaming consoles, the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 respectively. No launch dates were revealed (but look for a pre-Christmas release), but both consoles are expected to support 4K Blu-ray discs as well as provide faster response times. The 4K Blu-ray feature is just what the doctor ordered for the ailing disc industry. Watch for Redbox to expand its 4K Blu-ray availability in the coming months.
Companies Launching New, Smaller OLED TV Models
I noted here yesterday that Vizio plans to introduce 55-inch and 65-inch OLED TV models this year, joining Sony and LG in the OLED category. In addition, Sony and LG revealed yesterday that they both will launch a 48-inch OLED model, which will be the smallest OLED screen on the market, and presumably the cheapest to date, although the companies did not offer pricing or launch details.
TV Makers Pushing 8K TVs
Several companies introduced eye-popping 8K TVs with price tags expected to be even more eye-popping. (As is custom at the CES, companies are mum on pricing details.) With nearly zero content available for 8K — and those excessive prices — the sets are more showcases than serious contenders for store shelf space. But they remind us that 4K is not the last frontier in picture technology.
LG Keeps Rolling Up TVs
At last year’s CES, LG introduced the world’s first rollable TV. When turned off, the set’s 65-inch screen rolls down into a piece of furniture that basically looks like a credenza from a sci-fi movie set in a post-apocalypse.
The effect: The screen disappears from your living room when not in use, presumably to create a more stylish decor when you are entertaining guests (although that ice-cold, silver credenza thing is still there, which won’t exactly endear you to the Architectural Digest crowd. However, it might make your guests feel more at home — if they are undertakers!)
LG, of course, didn’t actually sell the set last year, but the company yesterday said it will be available sometime this year. For $60,000. You better have a sizable ‘roll’ in your pocket for that one.
Samsung Baffles With Landscape TV
Samsung defied common sense a few years ago by being the leader of a display feature that no one wanted — the curved-screen TV. And the company did it again yesterday by introducing a TV that can switch from portrait mode to landscape mode to better watch videos from services such as YouTube. Called Sero, the TV is designed for the mobile generation, according to Samsung. However, the odds are good that the mobile generation will keep watching YouTube videos on, well, mobile devices. No pricing details revealed, by the way.
Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at email@example.com. Please include your first name and hometown in your message.
— Phillip Swann