Despite a 2022 edition shaken by the pandemic and in which many players in the TV industry did not physically participate, the CES in Las Vegas remains an unmissable event. Proof of this is the density of advertisements, whether for new products or still unseen display technologies.
The undisputed star of last year, the mini-LED continues to develop since it is now available from all manufacturers except Panasonic. But in order to be up to date on TV news, it is also advisable to dwell on the new 2022 ranges, the arrival of new processors from almost all manufacturers, but also the appearance of “new” technologies such as than QD OLED, 144 Hz or Real Depth Enhancer. It is therefore time to come back to this intense week of TV announcements, to identify certain trends and to distribute good and bad points.
CES TV event: Samsung is (almost) back to OLED
Don’t rely on Samsung to utter the word OLED. You know, this technology which marks the screens, which is sorely lacking in brightness and which has a lower color spectrum coverage than the LCD … Well, after abandoning OLED in the early 2010s, Samsung decided to do it. to recover. Well, not exactly. Indeed, if Samsung Display, the TV division of the Korean manufacturer, has indeed developed a QD OLED panel, it has not been entrusted to Samsung Electronics but to… Sony! Indeed, the A95K, a top-of-the-range OLED model from Sony, will be well equipped with a QD OLED panel and we are of course looking forward to testing it.
Samsung’s “screens” division was present at the show and gave small-group demonstrations of its technology. Moreover, some of our American colleagues, among whom FlatPanelsHD, were able to get a glimpse of the performance of the QD OLED and their first impressions are promising to say the least.
And Samsung (Electronics) in all of this? No doubt because of trade agreements and negotiations with LG (yes, yes!), The Korean has left the primacy of its technology to Sony. Its own announcements are more classic, we will come back to this, but above all incomplete. Indeed, Samsung has not revealed its entire TV range at CES and promises announcements for the coming weeks. With QD OLED in it?
The comeback: Sony
After a frankly moribund 2021 edition, Sony made a thunderous return to CES 2022, a trade show where it often created the event. Like many observers, we were surprised to see the Japanese manufacturer miss out on mini-LED technology. Sony’s response took a year to come, but it’s definitely worth the detour. In addition to announcing two models using mini-LED backlighting, including the Z9K, the 8K showcase in the catalog, Sony also surprised its world by being the first to unveil a QD OLED model, the A95K, therefore.
The rest of the range is made up of quite a few models, but forms a very cohesive whole. With a varied OLED proposal, ambitious high-end LCDs, all running under a new Cognitive XR processor (phase 2), Sony has done what is necessary to achieve a great year in terms of TV.
Tech to watch: Real Depth Enhancer
It is undoubtedly the techno of the moment, the one on which the major TV manufacturers will compete this year. The Real Depth Enhancer, is present at Samsung LG or Sony. While the process may have a different name in one or the other, it works the same way and has the same objective.
Thanks to the use of AI and relying on the power of their processors, this year’s televisions would be able to improve the depth of field in certain images. In reality, it is about optimizing the contrast between the foreground of the image, which usually focuses on the objects, the main movement or action, and the background. By artificially accentuating this depth in the image, we would almost obtain a slight 3D effect. But between the marketing promise and the reality, there is often a difference … which we will be happy to measure in our tests.
The most mysterious: Samsung
Samsung was particularly secretive during this edition of CES. The days leading up to the manufacturer’s conference were peppered with leaks about the possible announcement of the brand’s return to OLED. As we have seen, this one did not really take place.
Instead, Samsung has preferred to play with our nerves and get the card out of the scattering of advertisements. We will have to wait a few weeks in order to have a complete overview of the range and to know if the 2022 catalog will include a QD OLED model. Indeed, CES was dedicated to updating the mini-LED models, known as NEO QLED. Be careful, however, this is not a minor development. The future QN80B and other QN900B set the bar very high with major announcements such as the possibility of playing at 144 Hz or the arrival of Dolby Atmos compatibility. Finally, we are particularly curious to get a glimpse of the performance of Quantum Matrix technology, the highlight of Samsung’s announcements this year. Indeed, it is about a process of fine management of the backlighting which could according to the statements of the manufacturer magnify the HDR contents.
The wisest: LG
Let it be said, LG is not coming out of the biggest CES in its history. The Korean manufacturer was far from it, far from it, but it was satisfied with a classic renewal of the range where its main competitors have multiplied the announcements. There is certainly a new panel, from LG Display, the aptly named OLED EX, but it will only equip the G2.
Like last year with the EVO panel, l’OLED EX promises a gain in brightness. On this point, the manufacturer was very optimistic in its figures last year by promising 20% more brightness before watering down its speech. We can bet that with an estimated gain of 30% compared to a traditional panel, performance should not be fundamentally different. However, the match announced with the QD OLED panels promises to be exciting.
The safe bet: Panasonic and its LZ2000
When we cover the TV sector on CES, it is possible to have some certainties. One of these is the assurance of getting the same impressions at a Panasonic conference, including when it takes place online. Impression of déjà vu, a little. Serious about technical explanations, too. Despite not seeing the brand question its OS, again and again. Above all, there is the certainty of only having the presentation of one model, the most upscale and which very often resembles the previous year.
All this could tire … if there was not another certainty: that Panasonic has done what is necessary to make the most of the last OLED panel that it went to dig at LG Display. Because if the CES follow and look alike at Panasonic, the test results too. In this regard, the 2000 series (HZ, GZ, JZ) often resulted in similar products, certainly, but very often also with the best results in terms of image quality. The LZ2000 clearly hopes to repeat history. It will have to do so if Panasonic is still going to be influential in the TV industry.
What about TCL and Hisense: the tough life of a challenger
The challengers do not intend to be left behind. With different strategies, TCL and Hisense intend to make life difficult for traditional manufacturers and while Samsung’s number 1 position in the market does not seem threatened, that does not prevent the two Chinese representatives from continuing to take market share.
At Hisense, in addition to the impressive 77-inch rollable Laser TV, you will probably have to rely on the cheapest mini-LED TV on the market. In any case, this is the title promised to U8HQ, replacing U8GH. Hisense had done great things with its old Full LED Local Dimming model, so it is possible to hope that the mini-LED model (1,500 nits expected) will raise the bar even higher while keeping a very attractive price.
Same technology, but different strategy with Chinese neighbor TCL. The manufacturer intends to move upmarket and especially took advantage of CES to showcase its technological know-how. Thus, TCL, a pioneer of mini-LEDs, continues to bet on this technology by unveiling a new range compatible with 144 Hz, with better controlled brightness (1000 dimming zones) and very gaming oriented. Among the good ideas for gamers, TCL has chosen to integrate Stadia and develop a real menu for the game, the Game Center, like what LG or Samsung offer.
Favorite: the screen in the back seat of BMW
Strictly speaking, this is not a TV technology, but BMW’s announcement of a Home Cinema in the car is enough to make lovers of beautiful images salivate. The project, called Theater Screen, is a concept that will undoubtedly struggle to be approved as long as the cars are not autonomous, but it allows you to dream in the meantime.
Also to discover in video:
Also to discover in video:
This is a screen placed on the roof and which deploys behind the driver and passenger seats. Its 31-inch diagonal is, to say the least, unique in the automotive world, as are its technical characteristics. 8K and in 32: 9 format, it allows you to display a 16: 9 movie in the center while taking advantage of the edges of the screen for additional content. Bonus: BMW has thought of everything by equipping it with an Amazon Fire TV stick and 5G. We’re almost at the movies: all you have to do is ask and sun shades will cover the windows to immerse you in an atmosphere conducive to a good session.