As the biggest consumer electronics trade show in the world, CES is a hotbed for all manner of brand new home entertainment kit, with even smartphones getting a look in in more recent times. However, the one area of the tech industry that has always been associated with the convention is that of the humble television. CES has always been an event at which major and minor manufacturers unveil their latest sets, often with a few tricks up their sleeves.
CES 2014 is no exception, we have already seen announcements of curved TVs, UHD TVs, curved UHD TVs and more from companies like Samsung, Sony, Panasonic, LG, Sharp, Toshiba and Philips. In fact, there are so many televisions on show that it’s hard to keep track of them all.
That’s why we’ve decided to collate the news of the very best TVs so far launched at the show. Who knows, maybe your next telly is among this lot.
Samsung showed several sets during its CES press conference, some of which will be on sale soon; some later if at all. All of them were pretty out there though.
Its major push this year is into the world of UHD TV and away somewhat from OLED. The higher resolution, also known as 4K, is going to be the de facto standard going forward. That’s very much the message coming from all TV manufacturers, to be honest.
There is also an expansion on a smaller trend noticed at last year’s show: we are going to see more curved TVs from Samsung and others this year.
The company has four UHD TVs in its line-up for the year, including the all-new curved consumer range, the U9000 series. Coming in 55, 65 and 78-inch screen sizes, the U9000 sets promise uniformed and balanced viewing distance across its width thanks to the curvature. It is also able to be wall-mounted, squashing that caveat once and for all.
We’re not sure when or if the 105-inch curved 21:9 UHD TV will make it to market, but it’s certainly impressive.
But those looking for more real estate could opt for the flat yet also mammoth 110-inch version of its S9 UHD TV, the 85-inch variant of which being unveiled last year.
Or perhaps a 50, 55, 60, 65 or 75-inch U8550 series UHD TV will fit the profile. It has a superthin bezel at just 7mm and has a tidy waistline to boot.
There’s one other TV that Samsung showed during its press event, but it’s in prototype at present. The 80-inch Bendable TV can turn from a flatscreen to a curved UHD TV at the touch of a button.
Sony also has some UHD TVs in its line-up, which it is highlighting as 4K sets. There are three series in total and it too has introduced an interesting form factor to the proceedings, the wedge.
Instead of adding a new shape to the screen itself, the Sony wedge design adds stability to larger flatscreen TVs when on a desktop stand. It also allows for larger speaker drivers and therefore potentially better sound, with a new two-way “Long Duct Speaker” or Magnetic Fluid speaker fitting inside the new casing.
The UHD 4K TV ranges coming from Sony are the Bravia X95, X9 and X85 series. The top of the range X95 only comes in 85-inch and features the slightly more advanced X-tended Dynamic Range Pro contrast and brightness technology. The X9 range has the X-tended Dynamic Range tech, while the X85 doesn’t have either. They all feature Sony’s proprietary 4K X-Reality Pro picture engine, which is a cracker for upscaling 1080p content.
The X9 series is the only one with the wedge design and comes in 55, 65 and 79 inches. The X85 series is available in 49, 55 and 65 inches.
Unlike Samsung – which has obviously got some on show but hasn’t shouted about it yet – Sony has revealed the Full HD models that will be available from spring 2014.
The Bravia ranges R4, W6, W7, W8, W85 and W95 include screen sizes from 32 inches all the way up to 65 inches depending on what you’re after, and the latter series will also come with the wedge design shape.
Panasonic’s major focus in the television area is on what it terms Life+ Screens. It claims they go beyond Smart TVs and will be available with 4K UHD and 1080p Full HD resolutions.
Rather than just offering the same Smart TV apps or Panasonic’s own My Home Screen personalisation features as before, each Life+ Screen TV come with an overhauled user interface and can learn the content preferences of individual users. They recognise each user automatically and generate recommendations based on that person’s habits.
The flagship set from the manufacturer, as it moves away from plasma production, is an LED UHD TV, the Life+ Screen AX800 series. Coming in two screen sizes, 58-inch and 65-inch, it sports HDMI 2.0 support, so can be fed 4K 60p content through one cable.
Its 3840 x 2160 resolution is bolstered by Panasonic’s Studio Master Color technology, which combines rich, accurate colour reproduction with a high-colour-space LED backlight. Local dimming is on board too, to ensure deep black levels, and a dedicated image processor just for 4K – the 4K Fine Remaster Engine – handles upscaling duties. It is also THX-certified.
There are four different 1080p Full HD model ranges, the AS680, AS650, AS640 and AS530. LED TVs again, they also are Life+ Screen TVs and are available in a wide variety of screen sizes, from 39 inches up to 60 inches.
The Viera brand returns too, with the Viera A400 series offering non-Life+ Screen Full HD tellies at 32, 39 and 50 inches.
Like Korean rival Samsung, LG has focused on curved displays and UHD TVs. Unlike Samsung, it released all of its information about the sets before CES. And it is sticking with OLED as a display technology alternative for now.
LG has a 105-inch curved 21:9 TV on view at the show, with a more-than 4K pixel resolution of 5120 x 2160, however its flat panel UB9800 series is more realistic for those looking to jump on board the UHD TV revolution this year.
Available in 65, 79, 84 and 98-inch screen sizes, the UB9800 range utilises LG’s Tru-Ultra HD Engine Pro technology for upscaling and other picture performance tweaking. There’s also a 4K HEVC decoder, ready to present your 4K content from H.264 or H.265 sources in both 30p or 60p.
The company also showed off a flexible 77-inch OLED TV, which can bend on command much like the Samsung Bendable TV, and is planned for a release perhaps at the end of 2014.
But the big news as far as LG is concerned is the company’s first outing for the acquired WebOS user interface. The operating system has made it into a TV for the first time and is being shown at CES. It offers a totally new Smart TV experience and the manufacturer promises that it will appear on 70 per cent of its new TVs before the end of 2014.
Sharp has been busy putting the final touches on its new range of TVs that feature the extra yellow pixel to ensure bold colour reproduction. Called the Quattron Pro in Europe and Quattron+ in the US, the range comprises of two different models. The UQ line will range between $2,999 (£1,800) and $5,999 for sets 60, 70 and 80 inches in size, while the SQ line will offer 60 and 70-inch screen sizes priced at $2,299 and $3,099 respectively.
The company claims that Quattron Pro models come with a resolution 2.5 times that of Full HD, so can display 4K footage naturally.
In addition, Sharp has unveiled a mammoth 85-inch 8K TV, with glasses-free 3D. It has been developed in partnership with Philips and Dolby. And with its 7680 x 4320 pixel resolution, it could be described as a true show stopper.
Once again, Toshiba is mainly focusing on UHD TVs for this year’s CES. The manufacturer has improved its CQ 4K Engine and will introduce three new series, the L8400U, L9400U and L9450U models.
The L9400U is its flagship TV coming in 65 and 58-inch sizes. Each offers 240Hz Full Array LED Panels and come in dual and quad-core versions for processing. They have the Toshiba Cloud Portal system for streaming over your home network or online and are voice controlled. Both feature a DTS Premium Sound system and are DirectTV ready.
The L9450U is an 84-inch 4K UHD TV with everything the L9400U features as well as a Local Dimming LED panel. The L8400U, other than no LED, is the same but in 58 and 50-inch sizes.
They will both ship this summer.
Finally, TP Vision has announced that it will be launching Philips-branded Ambilight TVs powered by Android in Europe from the second quarter of 2014.
The Android OS will strengthen the TVs’ entertainment features by offering different apps available from Google Play. The TVs will also feature quad-core processors, possibly the Qualcomm Snapdragon 802 which has also been recently announced and is made especially for televisions.
“In 2014, we will start the rollout of Philips TVs featuring Android in the higher end of our product portfolio,” said Maarten de Vries, CEO of TP Vision. “We expect that consumer appreciation and take-up will rapidly grow. By 2015 the majority of our Smart TVs will be Android powered.”