CES, the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, got underway today with TVs as always the stars of the show – this year it was all about 8K.
8K offers 7680×4320 resolution – four-times the sharpness of 4K, and 16 times that of HD with each image consisting of more than 33 million pixels. As barely anything is filmed or produced in that resolution, there’s little to no content for it at this point beyond upscaled 4K and HD.
LG displayed its flagship TV – the 8K 88-inch Z9 OLED – along with the more conventional 8K 75-inch SM99 LCD TV (which will be branded ‘NanoCell’) and the consumer version of its rollable TV which emerges and disappears into the speaker. Samsung had its QLED line-up, including a jaw-dropping 98-inch 8K Q900. It also brought out its concept modular TV – the 219-inch MicroLED Wall, along with the first practical use of the tech with a 75-inch 4K MicroLED display.
MicroLED is seen as the next potential major step in TV tech. It has all the benefits of OLED with its perfect blacks, all angle viewing, rich colors and wafer-thin TVs without backlights, but without OLED’s drawbacks of limited brightness, possible burn-in and long lifespan (MicroLEDs have no organic element to degrade).
On top of which the modular concept for TVs allows for borderless screens of various sizes and shapes, though you can see the lines between the tiles and tech reporters on the ground at CES like Digital Trends say they’re not sure how consumer applications for this are going to play out and “there is a reason they’re not letting us too close to it”.
Samsung isn’t sharing specific release details or pricing for the 75-inch MicroLED TV, but it won’t be cheap and they’ve said previously we’re a full year out from a viable consumer product (and 2-3 years again before it becomes truly affordable) and the manufacturing process remains incredibly expensive meaning for the next few years OLED remains king of the hill in terms of picture quality.
Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa voice control will be in all this year’s LG and Samsung TVs, as will Apple’s AirPlay 2 streaming though only Samsung will have a direct iTunes app (though it won’t support Dolby Vision like the Apple TV set-top box does).
In addition, 2019 LG OLEDs and Samsung QLEDs will ship with HDMI 2.0 video connectors which will receive an HDMI 2.1 firmware update later this year – the new standard supports 48Gbps throughput which means 8K video at 60fps or 4K at 120FPS.
Nvidia was also on hand to unveil its RTX 2060 graphics card and show off two clips – a new trailer for “Anthem” and a benchmark test dubbed ‘Port Royal’ – which showed off more of the real-time ray-tracing capabilities of RTX cards. See those below.