New Televisions were a big part of last month’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Vegas, and the big brands were all strutting their stuff trying to take a lead position by showing off their latest and greatest technologies. Some of it was a bit of fluff, but fortunately there was a lot of great stuff too. I am going to give you my take on the “best-in-show.”
Sony Ultra Short Throw 4K Projector
To start with the most impressive to me was Sony’s short throw Ultra High Definition projection TV. Not only is it beautiful enough as it looks like a nice piece of furniture that you could put in any room, but the ultra short throw makes it an awesome TV. It eliminates a couple of the main disadvantages of projectors, one of which is the difficulty in setting up a projector. The other is the inconvenience of when people stand up and move around they could interfere with the projection. This unit has the potential for a huge picture, up to a 12 foot diagonal, with the richness and clarity of ultra high definition which you simply can’t get in a flat screen. If you want a bit more detail, to see my post on it.
Sharp Aquos Quattron Plus
Sharp surprised us this year with their innovative and practical approach to Ultra HD by introducing their new Aquo Quattron Plus technology. Basically, it is half-way between Full HD and 4K Ultra HD (actually a bit closer to 4K Ultra). The way they do this is through their use of sub-pixels: Full HD as about 6M sub-pixels, Ultra HD has about 24M sub-pixels, and the Sharp Quattron Plus has about 16M sub-pixels. Thereby they could produce a picture that approached the clarity of 4K Ultra HD, but at about half the price. This is a great approach because 4K certainly produces a beautiful picture, but it still is priced out of reach for most of us mere mortals. For more detail on Sharp’s .
Sony 4K Ultra HD
For the last few years Sony has been in the shadow of the Korean brands, but Sony appears to have come to CES intending to work toward reclaiming its’ position as a top consumer electronics brand. I like their approach because it was a lot less gimmicky than most. They clearly are also making the biggest commitment to 4K UHD technology, by not only focusing on TV’s but also many ways to deliver 4K content. But with their 4K TV’s they brought additional technologies that are focused on creating realistic images beyond just the higher resolution of 4K. They have accomplished this by introducing three technologies (Triluminos display, X-tended Dynamic Range processing, and X-Reality Pro image processing) that work together to create a picture that truly pops. I like their focus on rather than worrying about curved screens!
Samsung Bendable 4KTV
A lot of curved OLED TV’s have been out for a little while but this CES a few of the various brands demonstrated curved 4K UHD TV’s for the first time. Samsung took it a step farther by bringing a “bendable” 4K UHD TV so it can be a flat panel or a curved one. I can’t help but think it is very gimmicky, as I can’t imagine wanting to watch one program curved and another flat. I guess if you have light glare coming into the room there may be some benefit to changing the curve (or just pulling the blinds?). I am not convinced curved is such a big deal any way, although I have to admit I haven’t had a curved set in my family room to test it out. While was a very big 85” model, they also brought out the biggest curved TV ever at 105.” I guess if they keep getting bigger, we will need the curve just to fit them in the room.
This year’s CES continues to prove that TV technology keeps getting better every year. The obvious trends for 2014 shouldn’t come as a surprise, and were emphasized by CES. They include the fact that 4K Ultra HD is evolving quickly and is the next generation of viewing technology – you will see a lot more of it on the shelves this year (more so than OLED). Screen size also continues to get bigger, with richer and clearer pictures, while costs are continuing to come down. We are getting more bang for the same dollar.
Innovative technologies like the ultra-short throw projector continue to evolve providing some unique features that won’t hit the mass market this year, but nevertheless are available to those that can and want to pay for it.
If you happened to be at CES or watching the hype and something struck your fancy, as always I’d be interested in your comments.