With the new year celebrations wrapped up, whether in your room or in a giant arena, the next big event for tech-enthusiasts and consumers, in general, is just a week away. Here are some of the wafts of rumors and leaks we’ve come across for arguably the biggest segment at CES 2020 – Displays and Televisions.
CES is an event where companies historically have been able to showcase both the ludicrous and the substantial upgrades to these viewing devices. We’ve had the LG OLED TV from last year which rolled down when not in use, and Samsung’s MicroLED TV “The Wall”, brilliant pieces of tech but more a showcase than an actual consumer product, either being obnoxiously expensive or still in the prototype stage. Expect more of the over-the-top glam as this year has the niche offerings being given a big push; 8K TVs, ATSC 3.0 capabilities and folding TVs. Nothing wrong with a bit of tech-glam after all, we love it.
8K is Here, Kinda…
We have Moore’s Law, and then we have the revolution of resolutions. When 4K came out, the general consumer either didn’t care or tried to care but had no 4K enabled content to go along with it. Over the years though, 4K has gained a lot of traction and is now a common-place feature, from video games to streaming services fully supporting it. Bigger sibling 8K is now in similar shoes. There are no indications of 8K content gaining a lot of traction yet, and getting one of these TVs would be the experimental equivalent of ordering a delicious looking expensive pie with no filling.
Of note would be the likely addition of smaller and more affordable 8K TVs, scaling down from the behemoths of 100-inch screens we’ve had last year. There are TCL’s 8K capable 8-series Roku TV already available here in Asia, sporting a mini-LED backlight and excellent QLED screen. We expect them to drop a more global variant at this year’s CES. Other newer players such as Vizio and Hisense are also expected to make the push into this emerging market.
Of the larger players, Samsung already has the Q900R QLED 8K-ready 55-inch TV which is priced much more moderately for the consumers at around $2199. Sony and LG will also be bringing in their arsenal. The upcoming release of the 8K capable gaming consoles this year will also mean a bigger push for this technology, not to mention the support it will be receiving from Tokyo Olympics 2020.
ATSC 3.0 Adoption
ATSC 3.0 is the next big TV-broadcasting technology in the works in certain countries, with places like South Korea that have already implemented it and the USA getting it adopted soon. It promises 4K and HDR quality images at the price of a normal HD subscription. Expect a definite push in its inclusion in the Next-Gen TVs to be showcased by major players like Sony, Samsung, and LG, with the latter having already confirmed it.
Having been released on a small-scale in the past year on certain TVs (like the LG C9 OLED) or with partial support on Samsung and Sony, manufacturers have had a year to field test its features and decide on the bigger approach. Expect a big push in this technology this year, albeit under the guise of different names or features, as ‘HDMI 2.1’ sounds boring. Higher frame rates for 4K/8K streaming, improved audio return channel (eARC), better HDR support and enhanced gaming – lookout for such taglines in the announcements.
Folding and Flipping TVs
CES is indeed incomplete without the absurd yet satisfying display of the latest in futuristic technology. This year we’ve had leaks of a folding OLED TV from LG (going by a Dutch patent filing), adopting a similar technology used in folding smartphones onto larger panels.
A large 21:9 screen which can be folded down into a compact package, with the end pieces serving as both a stand and a soundbar, this innovative idea will attract niche consumers for now.
Samsung is touted to release a unique take on TVs, named Sero, capable of rotating an entire 90 degrees and switching between landscape and portrait modes, much like a smartphone. Going by a Korean statement from Samsung, Sero is part of the funky family of The Frame and The Serif. A push to appeal to the new generation of mobile-first people, with the portrait mode specifically supporting vertical video playback.
Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync support
Gaming on the newer TVs is going to get better with the inclusion of Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync support, designed to enhance frame-rate synchronization. LG has already included the G-Sync technology in its OLED series through a software update with good results, and Samsung is said to be gearing up to support AMD’s FreeSync on its TVs.
The inclusion of HDMI 2.1 only enhances these features with higher refresh rate support on 4K and Variable Refresh Rates (VRR), primarily for gaming.
The Software Upgrades at CES
Last year we had the Apple-led streaming support on various TVs with the inclusion of AirPlay 2 and iTunes support(which evolved into the Apple TV app). Streaming has only picked up the pace and now with new players such as Disney+ on the scene, expect built-in support for these services on the newer TVs.
Smart appliances have also gained traction, with TVs already supporting Alexa and Google Assistants, either directly or through connected devices. But the inclusion of far-field microphone technology for supporting room-scale listening will probably see a bigger push in this year’s CES.
QLED, OLED, and QD-OLED
They sound similar but are very different in their own rights. LG has a big share in the OLED market, while the QLED arena is growing with newer models from TCL and Vizio.
Samsung, on the other hand, is rumored to get into the OLED arena with a hybrid technology called Quantum-Dot OLED, or QD-OLED to put it shortly. Samsung has already been making Quantum-Dot LCD displays and hence will use its refined Quantum-Dot technology with the Organic LEDs to produce this hybrid. CES would be the perfect place to announce this new tech if it is ready.
Vizio will also be launching a new OLED TV series this year, further expanding its landscape.
CES 2020 is now just a few days away and we couldn’t be more excited. To follow further updates on CES 2020, check back on this space.