TVs have taken quite a leap at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. From the impossibly thin to the best picture we’ve ever seen, here are our favorites:
LG W7 “Wallpaper” OLED TV
LG is testing the limits of thinness with its new W7 series OLED TVs. Have you ever rubbed two dimes between your fingers? As thin as those two dimes are, they are THICKER than this TV. It’s so thin that you may even think it’s fake as you walk around to view the TV from the edge. Even with the thinnest LCD TV mounted on the wall you can feel the piece of hardware hanging in front of you. Mount this TV on the wall and you’ll feel like the picture is coming from nowhere, like a new window has been installed in your room.
LG has been searching for a way to bring their wallpaper TVs to market for some time now, but the issue has been packaging everything else that’s required for a TV inside the thin form factor. What they’ve done is completely separated the panel from the internals. Everything that’s not the screen (power supply, processing chips, speakers, etc.) has been worked into an included soundbar. The soundbar and TV are connected via a ribbon cable (up to 81 inches long).
The included soundbar features Dolby ATMOS technology to fill your room with immersive sound. When turned on, two speakers rise from the top of the soundbar and bounce sound off the ceiling of your room, making sound arrive from all directions. You’ll use the soundbar to connect anything to the TV, like your cable or satellite, gaming system, or streaming device. The W7 series has the same top-of-the-line image quality as the rest of LG’s OLED lineup. Various HDR formats are supported including the popular Dolby Vision and HDR10 formats, plus two formats that don’t even have content yet—HLG and Technicolor.
No legs or stand is including with the TV—this beauty is wall mount only (LG’s thicker OLED TVs come with legs). It doesn’t even have a bezel. Thanks to its light weight (18–27 lbs. depending on the size) installation is a breeze. Half of the included wall mount actually operates with magnets.
The LG W7 series ships Spring 2017. Announced pricing is $8,000 for the 65” model and $20,000 for the 77” model.
Sony Bravia A1E OLED
Sony unveiled its first mass production OLED TV, the A1E series, and it beats expectations. LG supplies the OLED panels, but don’t think of them as hastily produced LG TV clones.
Although LG and Sony are sharing the same OLED panels, each TV has a separate processor. Processors are what makes the image pop, and Sony has a reputation for the finest processors in the business. The A1E series shares the Z1 Extreme 4K HDR processor found in Sony’s top of the line models. In the words of Sony, this processor is capable of things the competition can only dream of, like focusing on pockets of color on an image by image basis to color correct on the fly. Known as object-based HDR remastering, if it detects a blue sky it will make the blue a more vibrant blue than what the signal is outputting, while not over-saturating the content. Result: fantastic colors. It also supports Dolby Vision HDR, which makes for even better image quality.
Also adding to its picture quality are TRILUMINOS and 4K X-Reality PRO engine. TRILUMINOS allows for a wider palette of colors to show more natural hues and shades. It excels at reproducing colors that are difficult for TVs to display, like reds, greens, and blues. The more colors you have to draw with, the more realistic and lifelike the image will appear. The 4K X-Reality PRO engine upscales content to 4K by using a database of the same images in both 2K and 4K to learn how to best upscale media to 4K.
Here’s something new: Sony’s A1E series produces sound not from speakers, but from the SCREEN. Two actuators—one on each side of the TV—vibrate the OLED panel to produce sound from the screen itself. There’s even a subwoofer built into the TV stand, which props the TV up like a picture frame.
Sony’s new A1E series is powered by Android TV OS for excellent streaming capabilities. It’s also integrated with Google Home so that you can yell commands at your TV (separate Google Home speaker required).
The A1E series will be available in 55-, 65-, and 77-inch sizes. Sony hasn’t shared a release date or pricing yet, but more brands offering OLED TVs can only bring good things.
Samsung continues its preference for quantum dot technology over OLED. This year they continue their development of SUHD, renaming it QLED.
Samsung’s QLED produces the best black levels of any LCD TV, evening challenging OLED. Although the new models are edge lit they don’t seem to suffer from the banding or haloing problems typically associated with edge lit TVs. Samsung’s QLEDs show excellent black level uniformity.
On the other end of the spectrum is brightness—and Samsung is bringing it with a 2,000 nit rating, which is 40% higher than their 2016 flagship KS9800 model and far higher than any OLED TV. This combined with extreme black levels produces excellent contrast. Also helping contrast are three layers of anti-reflective filtering to reduce the effect of your room’s ambient light on the TV’s black levels.
The quantum dots have been upgraded by adding a new metallic element that increases their brightness without degrading the colors. The new tech provides a broader color spectrum that’s great new for HDR content. It also contributes to better viewing angles. Unlike previous models, you can almost stand at a right angle to these TVs and still see the picture.
There’s no word on a release date or pricing yet. The range-topping Q9 model will feature a flat screen while the curved screen finds a home in the Q8. Included with the premium Q9 model is a flush “no gap” wall mount that will be available as an optional accessory for other QLED models.
Visit your local Electronic Express or ElectronicExpress.com to demo these TVs when they are released.