CES remains one of the best places to see the future of television technology, and this year is certainly no exception. Between 4K TVs, 3D announcements, curved screens, and loads of new content deals, there's no shortage of high-end television news coming out of Las Vegas this week. Make sure to check in here for all of the big announcements from LG, Vizio, Samsung, Samsung, and more.
Jan 9, 2014
It wouldn't be CES without manufacturers showcasing some of the nicest TVs in the world. This year, those TVs have a few big focuses: gigantic sizes, curved displays, and 4K. While these sets are often about proving companies' abilities more than building actual products for consumers to buy, that isn't entirely the case this year. A few of this CES' most interesting and best-looking TV sets are headed to market, and others are making 4K more affordable than ever.Read Article >
Nowhere is that last item more evident than Vizio, which unveiled a 4K TV for $999.99 this week. It's easy to assume that such a low-cost set wouldn't be very good, but Vizio blows away all expectations for its price level, delivering a fantastic picture and smart TV features in a set interested consumers can — and probably will — consider buying.
Jan 8, 2014
Stroll around the halls of CES and you'll see plenty of weird things, but one of the more legitimately impressive sights is provided by Panasonic and its curved OLED displays. Six 55-inch panels are lined up in an S shape in the middle of the Japanese company's booth: three concave screens connect to three convex ones to create the shape.Read Article >
It's really just a tech demo for Panasonic's OLED display printing tech, rather than a demo of any immediately forthcoming retail product, but it achieves its purpose with aplomb. There's still disagreement about whether curves really make a positive difference to TV designs, and convex ones surely aren't making things any better, but as a technical achievement, Panasonic's curved 4K screens are truly a sight to behold.
Jan 7, 2014
Sony's taking a new approach to TVs this year. While its competitors have been busy making their sets slimmer or giving their displays a gentle curve, Sony decided to focus on another shape. At CES today, it's unveiling a series of TV sets featuring what it's calling a wedge design — sets with deep, triangular sides that taper in thickness as they rise. It's a striking and stylish look, and more importantly, it allows Sony to take advantage of the extra space. Rather than building in a set of basic stereo speakers, Sony uses the added room to include three more-capable speakers on either side of some of the sets.Read Article >
Sony says that the speakers will deliver better bass, a wider sonic range, and clearer vocals than a common pair of TV speakers. Though they take up a bit more room, the speakers are a natural addition: if you're going to get a gorgeous new TV, you may as well get good speakers to compliment its good looks. An HDTV featuring the wedge design, the Bravia W850B, will be available this winter, while Sony's first 4K wedge TV, the XBR X900B, will be available this spring in 55-, 65-, and 79-inch models. The XBR X900B includes a host of smart features as well, including built-in Wi-Fi and a camera to let you video chat from the couch.
Jan 6, 2014
Samsung has made a habit of demoing some off-the-wall television designs at CES, and this year is no different. The strangest new design is a wild 85-inch prototype that the company's simply calling the "Bendable TV." The demo unit switched between a flat panel and a curved screen at the touch of a button, with a mechanical system pushing out the edges of the screen to achieve the transformation. It's eerie to see a 85-inch television bend before your eyes, and while it makes for a very impressive tech demo, we aren't sure what Samsung plans to do with the TV. The company claims there are situations where you might want to switch to a curved set — like for watching movies — but the added expense and dubious improvements that such a system entails means this is a prototype that may never see the light of day as a consumer product.Read Article >
Curved televisions are undoubtedly attractive, but they have been written off as little more than a gimmick by many. Nevertheless, Samsung is focusing intently on curved sets this year. Its top-of-the-line model is a stunning 105-inch curved LCD TV with a 21:9 aspect ratio and a 5120 x 2160 resolution, just like rival LG. At this size the curve is extremely apparent, and the TV is a sight to behold. What is perhaps most surprising about this massive TV is its design: Samsung's used a single curved piece of hardwood for the back panel. It's very slick.
Panasonic's plasma TVs may be history, but the company isn't forgetting the legacy they've left behind. During its CES presentation moments ago, Panasonic claimed that its newly unveiled 4K LED televisions offer the same picture quality as its critically acclaimed plasma sets, which were discontinued last year to the dismay of many home-theater enthusiasts. Obviously the resolution is far greater, but Panasonic displayed a color chart as evidence that its new Life+Screen series exceeds the impressive color reproduction of the ZT60 — the best plasma panel the company ever produced. Panasonic's consumer 4K TVs are due later this year in 58 and 65-inch sizes. An 85-inch model will follow later in the year. Prices have not yet been disclosed.Read Article >
Both 4K and 1080p models in the new Life+Screen TVs series feature an all-new interface that, according to Panasonic, offers deep personalization options. A "myStream" feature remembers which content viewers in a household like best, and Panasonic says the TV can recognize who's watching through facial recognition; it even knows when a viewer is leaving the room. And since it's 2014, Life+Screen is obviously connected to the cloud, letting users view videos, music, memos, and other content stored on a smartphone on their TV screen. We're looking forward to giving the Life+Series and Panasonic's 4K LED TVs a closer look on the CES show floor.
Jan 6, 2014
Firefox OS, Mozilla's HTML5-based platform designed to go toe-to-toe with iOS and Android, may soon find its way into the living room. Panasonic announced today that it's partnering with the software company to help "develop and promote" Firefox OS on next-gen Smart TVs, with the goal of turning the operating system into a hub for future Smart Homes. The move marks Mozilla's first major foray into the war for TV.Read Article >
Jan 6, 2014
One of the best traditions of CES is getting to see the jaw-dropping brilliance of large-screened OLED TVs, primarily from the two Korean giants LG and Samsung. This year has been no different, though LG has cranked things up a couple of notches by curving its 77-inch OLED panel. The new TV, though it's taking a secondary position behind the new webOS software and the 105-inch curved IPS LCD, is my personal favorite from LG's debuts at CES 2014, with its stupendously thin bezels and engrossing picture quality. It has to also be said the curve on the display works much better on such a large scale than it does on the peculiar 6-inch G Flex handset.Read Article >
This new TV also represents a melding of the two major TV innovations of last year's CES: 4K resolution and OLED were the big headliners of the 2013 show and today we get to see them in one panel. A curved one, at that! What's remarkable about this set is that its curvature can be controlled by the user. Using the TV's remote, one can alter the curve to their own preference.
A year after unveiling its first 4K TV prototype, Vizio is fully commiting to the ultra high-def technology. Here at CES, the company is expanding its TV lineup to include a new P Series — Vizio's first consumer-grade 4K television. Set to be in available in sizes ranging between 50 and 70 inches, the P Series, in Vizio's own words, "is the culmination of advanced picture quality, powerful performance and a beautifully simple Ultra HD experience." These TVs feature advanced local dimming, a backlight that consists of 64 Active LED Zones, and even Vizio's very own custom silicon. All of that fancy language means that you'll ultimately be looking at a fantastic picture. The demo units on hand at the company's suite were vibrant, sharp, and incredibly detailed. But how much will they cost? The company's chief technology officer, Matt McRae, would only tell The Verge that the P-Series will be priced "aggressively."Read Article >
But there's another new Vizio series that won't be priced aggressively in any way, shape, or form; the company's Reference Series. Simply put, these are the best TV panels that Vizio has ever produced. The Reference Series is aimed at videophiles and "custom integrators," a good sign that you'll never see these at your local Walmart. But they're far and away the most impressive TVs Vizio has ever produced. The company says they were built from the ground up after over two years of dedicated R&D. Yes, they're 4K-capable, but the real star of the show here is High Dynamic Range (HDR).
Jan 6, 2014
Over the past few years TV manufacturers have been incorporating a parade of new technologies with one goal in mind: getting customers into their local Best Buys to pick up a new television. 3D, 4K, curved screens; the list goes on, but ultimately these relatively iterative upgrades have failed to capture the public imagination.Read Article >
Here at CES, Dolby is lining up TV and media partners in its own bid to get consumers excited again: a product it’s calling "Dolby Vision." It's a set of technologies that cover everything from the mastering process to displays themselves, and the company has been quietly showing off demos in recent months. Colors pop, incredible detail is visible from the darkest blacks to the hottest highlights, and a dramatic increase in brightness makes for a viewing experience that’s so close to reality it seems like a revelation. In an industry that feels like it’s stalling, Dolby Vision has the potential to steer the conversation away from the resolution arms race and towards the kind of visceral, emotional reaction consumers haven’t felt since high-definition TVs came to market some 15 years ago.
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Dish already makes it fairly easy to watch live TV and DVR content throughout your house. Its small Joey set-top box can be placed in any room and communicate with the main Hopper in a customer's living room. But things will be even more convenient soon for owners of LG Smart TVs. The two companies today announced that a "Virtual Joey" app will allow these customers to watch TV (both live and recorded programming) just as they normally would with a wired Joey — except there won't be any extra hardware in sight. The Virtual Joey app will be available for 2013 and 2014 model LG Smart TVs and is scheduled to launch sometime this spring. As always, Dish has a sizable presence at this year's CES, so we look forward to seeing what else the company has in store.
Jan 2, 2014
A $1,000 4K TV will be on display at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, but it's not coming from Sony, Samsung, or another well-known TV vendor. Instead, the brand etched into the 50-inch Ultra HD set is none other than Polaroid — a name synonymous with film and instant photography. It's important to note that the product seen here is actually manufactured by Empire Electronics, another company that has simply paid to license Polaroid's brand. It's likely not far off from other off-brand 4K TVs, some of which have already dropped below $1,000.Read Article >
These days, Polaroid's logo can also be found on Android tablets, sports video cameras, and consumer digital cameras. Polaroid today is a drastically different company than the one that filed for bankruptcy back in 2001. Still, CEO Scott Hardy sees some link to the past. "Not many people realize that Edwin Land was a pioneer in developing the polarizing technology used in modern televisions," said Hardy, referring to Polaroid's co-founder.