CES 2019: THE SHOW’S BEST TVS, PROJECTORS, AND MONITORS
In no particular order, here are the screens that caused a scene at the consumer tech’s biggest show, CES 2019 in Las Vegas.
Panasonic’s new flagship model is an OLED described by its makers as “the world’s most cinematic TV”, principally due to its picture settings being tuned by a top Hollywood colourist (who worked on Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Jurassic World, among other films) for impeccable colour accuracy.
It’s also the first television to support both HDR10+ and Dolby Vision, as well as Hybrid Log Gamma, covering all the major types of HDR and ensuring a level of HDR future proofing not found on many rivals.
Looking for another world first? The GZ2000 also comes with upward-firing speakers enabling it to deliver Dolby Atmos’ spherical soundstage and immerse the viewer in directional audio. The general sound is also tuned by Technics, the Panasonic-owned hi-fi maker, which promises to keep it clean and refined.
It’s coming in 55-inch and 65-inch options, but Panasonic has yet to reveal when it’s arriving, or how much it’ll cost when it does.
LG OLED TV R
The award for most technically astonishing display at CES undoubtedly goes to the OLED TV R, LG’s rollable screen. This impossibly thin 65-inch 4K panel swiftly and silently retracts into a rectangular cabinet at the touch of a button, making it the most compact big-screen TV in history.
The cabinet doubles as a Dolby Atmos-equipped soundbar. Clad in eye-catching acoustic wool from Kvadrat of Denmark and boasting a 4.2-channel, 100-watt speaker system, it’ll even function as an independent music player with the TV R is fully rolled up inside.
The webOS-based smart TV system supports Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri via HomeKit and Apple AirPlay 2. Furthering the TV’s smart home ambitions, its screen can be partially rolled out to reveal only its on-screen clock, music controls and the like.
There’s no confirmed price or release date for the OLED TV R currently, but we’re confident in predicting that, whenever it arrives, it’ll be very much aimed at the premium early adopter market – and priced accordingly.
Samsung Micro LED 75”
Undoubtedly Samsung’s most impressive screen on the show floor, this concept works by an unusual principle: instead of relying on traditional backlighting to illuminate its pixels, it uses panels of tiny, self-emissive LEDs – millions of individual, microscopic red, green and blue lights, essentially.
With no backlight therefore necessary, it’s possible to make a Micro LED display extremely thin indeed. The fact that each LED can be individually turned on or off is also significant, as it means that the TV should be able to deliver perfect blacks, high brightness and an ultra-wide colour gamut.
If you think it sounds like an inorganic alternative to OLED, you’d be right – but Samsung says its LEDs are superior to OLEDs in that they don’t suffer from a relatively short lifespan or risk permanent screen burn-in.
Samsung’s 2019 TV range is primarily based on its excellent QLED Quantum Dot technology, but Micro LED is a glimpse at its future ambitions. Even though we may not see an actual Micro LED on the market this year, it’s heartening to see there’s still room for major innovations in home display tech.
Lenovo Legion Y44w
Pitched at hardcore PC gamers seeking the ultimate display, the Legion Y44w from Lenovo boasts a 43.4-inch ultra-wide screen with a 3840 x 1200 resolution, HDR and support for FreeSync 2 – meaning it can display games running at variable refresh rates up to 144Hz.
It also offers a removable Harmon Kardon speaker and picture-by-picture, and with two HDMI 2.0 ports it’s even possible to have two inputs on-screen at once, so if you want to binge on your latest Netflix crush while stomping Fortnite foes, this might be the monitor for you. It’ll be available in April, priced at US$1,199.
Or, to give it its full name, the LG OLED88Z9PUA. This is LG’s flagship television for 2019, the company’s first 8K TV, and the first OLED 8K model on the market.
The 88-inch screen will upscale anything to 8K resolution, using LG’s ThinQ AI deep learning to add the extra detail while reducing noise. Indeed, the AI’s algorithm’s come into play whatever you’re watching, as it’ll analyse incoming audio and video sources, feed the subsequent data to its deep learning system via the internet, then adjust settings on the fly to suit them.
Also on board are Dolby Atmos sound, Dolby Vision HDR and both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
Pricing and availability for the Z9 are yet to be announced.
LG CineBeam Laser 4K HU85L
Projectors didn’t feature particularly heavily at this year’s CES, but among those on display LG’s short-throw HU85L was the standout. This compact, portable model is capable of creating a 90-inch 4K image from just two inches away from your wall or screen, or a 120-inch image from seven inches away.
The projector (price and availability TBC) supports voice commands – well, it’s 2019 after all – and a webOS smart interface able to run apps from YouTube, Netflix and the like.
Hisense Laser TV 100L7T
LG wasn’t the only Asian company debuting a short-throw projector at CES 2019. Hisense, the Chinese manufacturer best known for its budget-friendly TVs, unveiled the 100L7T, a “Laser TV” able to create a 120-inch 4K picture when placed just seven inches from a wall or screen. Sounds strangely familiar …
The 100L7T also supports HDR, various video streaming apps and, via Alexa, voice controls, and has an integrated speaker and matching subwoofer made by Harmon Kardon. So it’s likely to be, in many ways, a direct rival to LG’s HU85L – and probably coming in at a slightly lower price, if we know Hisense.
TCL X10 Quantum Dot 8K TV
Likely to be the first budget (relatively speaking, of course) 8K television to the global market, Chinese manufacturer TCL’s 75-inch X10 uses the same Quantum Dot display technology as Samsung’s current flagship models.
Running on the Android TV platform and featuring Google Assistant for voice controls and smart home control, it also features an Onkyo-designed soundbar speaker with Dolby Atmos support.
TCL says that the TV will be available in selected markets in the second half of 2019, but has yet to confirm pricing.
Sony ZG9 8K Master Series TV
Launching in 98-inch and 85-inch options, Sony’s 2019 flagship TV is its first 8K effort, and comes with a powerful new X1 Ultimate image processor to upscale other content to super high-resolution.
The TV also features a brand new sound system with four front-facing speakers – two below and two above the screen – to create a soundstage that seems to emanate from the screen itself rather than from below. Dolby Atmos isn’t on board at launch, but Sony says it will be added via a downloadable firmware update in the near future.
Sony AG9 4K OLED Master Series TV
While the ZG9 may have the highest resolution of any Sony model this year, the AG9 4K model may well offer a punchier overall picture due to its OLED display tech, which promises deeper blacks, more colour detail and an ultra-wide viewing angle. It also comes with Netflix Calibrated Mode, so cord-cutters can be sure they’re getting their favourite series and films in the quality the creator intended.
Coming in 55-inch, 65-inch and 77-inch sizes, the AG9 has an incredibly slim profile and, like the ZG9, runs on the Sony Android TV platform. You can expect Google Assistant, apps for YouTube, Amazon Prime Video and Netflix, and support for Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit.
Pricing and availability for all Sony’s 2019 TVs have yet to be confirmed.
Having been covering consumer tech since phones were dumb and TVs weren’t flat, few things in the gadget world still have the power to surprise Sam – which is why he loves writing about those few things that do. A Londoner transplanted to New York, and now returned to the English coast, he’s a photographer and loving what drones have brought to the hobby.
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