The best TV announcements at CES 2021
Recognition: David Imel / Android Authority
Although CES 2021 was digitized this year, it has been the usual showcase for the latest and greatest advancements in technology, including televisions. You’ve undoubtedly spent more time in your living room than usual this year, so a fancy new TV could be a worthwhile investment in 2021. And there are many new ones fresh from CES 2021.
In our roundup, we round up some of the biggest and most promising announcements from the big brands at CES in the TV space. You should keep an eye on these models when they hit store shelves later in the year.
LG – improved OLED and QNED displays
LG made numerous TV announcements at CES 2021 ranging from a new mini LED technology called QNED to premium OLED devices to weird and wonderful concept displays. LG has a wide range of new TV options. So which ones should you really keep an eye on? Personally, I’ve been torn between two of the company’s newest technologies.
In the high-end area, LG has a new OLED TV product range that comprises three areas. The G1 series sits in the middle and is the one that most consumers can go for. It is available in sizes 55, 65 and 77 inches and uses the next generation OLED Evo panel technology from LG. OLED Evo is designed to improve screen brightness compared to previous generation OLED TVs from LG. This is a huge win for HDR content lovers.
LG’s entire 2021 OLED series also includes an Alpha 9 Gen 4 AI chip. This uses deep learning to optimize image quality and reduce noise. Further functions are the Game Optimizer mode, integrated Google Stadia cloud gaming, AI Sound Pro, variable update rates with FreeSync and G-Sync and HDMI 2.1 functions. Of course, all of these top-notch features will come at a high price, but we’re waiting for the final balance.
Connected: Android TV versus LG’s WebOS
I would also like to give a quick tip to the new QNED Mini LED technology and TVs from LG. While QNED may not be as fancy as its OLED range, it bridges the contrast gap between LED and OLED, making it a great, affordable option with high-end picture quality. It is arguably the bigger game changer for most consumers. The TVs have a full suite with 4K and 8K resolutions, 120 Hz refresh rates and advanced local dimming technology. QNED might be the way to go if you want an 86-inch 8K LG TV but don’t want to pay expensive OLED prices.
Samsung – 110-inch micro-LED madness
Recognition: David Imel / Android Authority
In order not to be outdone by LG, Samsung unveiled a monstrous 110-inch 4K TV at CES 2020, equipped with its next-generation self-emitting micro-LED technology. This is a further development of the same technology that the company showed in the modular display “The Wall” from 2018.
We’re still waiting for the price, but this next-generation miniaturized technology will be way outside of most consumer price ranges. Think tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. We’re definitely not singling out this product for its mass market appeal. Rather, it is a further milestone on the long way on which the improvements of Micro LED compared to OLED will hopefully finally be implemented in meaningful products. After all, 100% DCI and Adobe RGB color gamut, a sleek screen-to-body ratio of 99.9%, and viewing four content streams at once are pretty desirable TV features.
Continue reading: LG QNED vs. Samsung Neo QLED Next Generation Display Technology Explained
Samsung is gradually proving that Micro LED is finally leaving the concept phase. In contrast to The Wall, the 110-inch model is initially delivered fully assembled this time. Micro LED is also becoming a little more “conventional” as 99- and 88-inch TVs arrive later in the year.
Nevertheless, we are still a long way from micro-consumer LEDs for mass consumers. While we save, we’ll stare in awe at Samsung’s newest TV giants when it hits shelves in the months ahead.
Sony – intelligent software for Bravia
Sony has a slew of new TVs on the way in 2021. These include 8K LED, 4K OLED, and 4K LED models with options from LG and Samsung. There are just too many models to immerse yourself in here. Instead, let’s take a look at the Bravia XR range, which contains Sony’s most interesting TV technology.
All five new Bravia XR models from Sony offer 4K 120 Hz support, variable refresh rates and an automatic mode with low latency for games. They are also compatible with the hands-free capabilities of the Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. With these new televisions, Sony is also introducing its Bravia Core streaming service and providing access to films from Sony Pictures Entertainment.
What more do you want How about a few extra AI smarts thanks to Sony’s new Cognitive Processor XR?
The Cognitive Processor XR builds on Sony’s earlier AI processing capabilities for color and brightness enhancement. This latest iteration divides the entire screen into focus zones and optimizes color, contrast, detail, and even 3D audio surround sound to enhance your viewing experience. Sony believes that improving certain areas of the frame rather than the entire picture will result in better picture quality and a more lifelike viewing experience by allowing me to mimic how people perceive the world around them. It’s definitely an interesting take on next-generation machine learning-assisted image enhancement, and we’re excited to see how well it works on real content.
In related Sony TV news, the latest Bravia program is also supported by the Android TV interface, which debuted with the latest Google Chromecast. This can be a deciding factor if you prefer the new smart user interface from Google Web OS, Tizen, or Roku.
TCL – makes 8K more affordable
4K is increasingly old news in a television market that is rapidly adopting 8K. Despite the lack of native content, it was recorded and distributed at this extreme resolution. So far, 8K has been an expensive and somewhat unnecessary luxury, but it’s becoming a more affordable future-proof option. To do this, let’s turn to TCL’s 2021 TVs and the announcement of an 8K update for the 6 series.
The 6-series 8K uses the company’s mini-LED backlight technology (not to be confused with the micro-LED) for a high quality image without breaking the bank. TCL’s critically acclaimed mini-LEDs powered the previous generation of affordable 4K sets. Local mini LED dimming provides great contrast and deeper blacks, while quantum dot technology improves LCD color rendering. It’s not entirely OLED, but it definitely helps LED close the longstanding quality gap.
These 8K models are combined with the AIPQ upscaling engine from TCL, variable refresh rates of 120 Hz, Dolby Vision and HDR10 + support, voice assistants from Alexa and Google Assistant and the popular Roku operating system. That’s pretty much everything you’d expect in a high-end television. Unfortunately we don’t know the price yet. But we bet it will cost less than Samsung’s 8K models.
See also: Google Chromecast with Google TV Review: The Best Streaming Dongle
As we delve into the topic, TCL is the second Android TV OEM after Sony to announce that it is adopting the new Google TV UI for some of its upcoming TVs, although the 6 Series will stick with Roku. The interface will be used in some future TCL product lines, including the 8K, Mini-LED and QLED areas.
Panasonic – smarter, brighter OLED
Rounding out our list is a couple of new flagship 4K OLED TVs from Panasonic. The new JZ2000 televisions are available in 55- and 65-inch versions and promise low latency, an HDMI 2.1 version and high frame rates, as well as a new HCX Pro AI processor. This processor optimizes image and audio quality based on a library of over a million AI-analyzed content. TV presets are an old idea, but if we adjust them dynamically on the fly, we’ll never be able to navigate the maze of picture and sound menus again.
The HCX Pro AI processor also promises functions for gamers via a Game Mode Extreme preset. The additional computing power in combination with the HDMI 2.1 standard offers variable frame rates of up to 120 Hz and a relatively low input delay of up to 14.4 ms. Although we’ll have to wait to see exactly how many of these features work at full 4K resolution.
Other topics of conversation are 800 nits of brightness (up to over 1000 nits peak) in cinema mode, compared to around 500 to 600 nits on other OLED TVs. This should be a boon to viewing HDR games and video content supported through the HDR10 + Adaptive Dynamic HDR format. Together with the standard formats HDR10 and HLG HDR.
The prices and some details of Panasonic’s latest OLED TVs will be on the way in March. Keep this one in mind when looking for a new gaming TV.
These are some of the many TV and display announcements from some of the major manufacturers at CES 2021. Get ready to see our full CES 2021 recap and top pick awards from the upcoming show! In the meantime, check out our other summaries below for more great products from CES 2021.