Will this be the year that we talk about high resolution, smart integration or OLED? So far, it looks like all three. Among the major TV manufacturers showing at CES this year, those three themes dominated, but Ultra HD and OLED are still taking the spotlight.
We’ve already seen a couple of Ultra HD (4K) TVs from Sony and LG, and OLED TV demonstrations have been floating around for several years. Smart TVs also are nothing new, sort of, but they’re getting progressively smarter.
First, let’s look at the Ultra HD news. LG, Sharp, Sony and Toshiba (read Toshiba’s CES news here), as well as Westinghouse, Vizio and Hisense, all announced LED LCD TVs that put four times the resolution of HDTV on the screen.
LG started out the CES press conference marathon and showed the 84-inch Ultra HD TV that came out last fall—plus two new models in smaller sizes. The 55- and 65-inch LG 3D UHD TVs display the same resolution as their mammoth cousin. All three have LG’s Triple XD Engine to upscale 1080p content to 4K (3840x2160).
The TVs use LG’s updated Magic Remote to control the units with pointing, gesture and voice. The feature set offers a range of connectivity options, such as Wi-Fi and Intel’s Wireless Display (WiDi) for transferring data or content from phones and tablets to the TVs.
The company also mentioned that it is working with industry and content partners on 4K content creation and distribution, but would not elaborate on that when pressed.
Some models in LG’s new lineup will include cameras which enable gesture control via finger pointing without a remote. This wasn’t demonstrated at the press conference, but we’ll get a closer look at it during a follow-up visit at the company’s CES booth.
As expected, LG also announced that its 55-inch OLED TV will launch in the U.S. in March for $12,000.
LG’s OLED TV
Sharp pretty much dominated the very big TV market in 2012, with models in 70-, 80- and 90-inch sizes. The company promised more of the same this year, but will be adding a number of new interesting technologies to its TV line.
The first of the new technologies is a semiconductor solution called IZIO (indium gallium zinc oxide) for OLED displays. The company says it’s much faster than traditional LCD, allows for twice the resolution, and uses less power. The first IZIO-based product from Sharp will be a 33-inch, 4K OLED monitor for commercial use (sorry home users).
In Ultra HD, Sharp had some of the more intriguing announcements of the show. The company will launch two separate types of 4K TVs. The premier line is called ICC Purios, which was jointly developed with the I-Cubed Research Center. ICC Purios TVs is an ICC (integrated cognitive creation) image processor, which is supposed to copy the way the human brain perceives light. The company claims it emulates the sense of depth, texture and perspective of physical experience on a display. The first ICC Purios model is a THX-certified 60-inch TV that will come to market this summer.
Sharp’s ICC Purios 4K TV
The second line of Ultra HD sets falls under the Aquos moniker and incorporates a new screen technology called Moth Eye. Promising to eliminate screen glare, the Aquos Ultra HD TVs will come in 70- and 85-inch sizes and will include the Quattron technology found on many of the company’s other models. This tech adds an extra yellow subpixel to the standard red, blue and green pixel structure of an LCD TV.
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Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had audio training from Home Acoustics Alliance and Sencore. He's also the author of the book The Trouble with Rivers
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.