These Are The Awesome 4K TV & Tech Developments To Expect At CES 2019
Stephan Jukic – December 6, 2018
Without a doubt, there is no bigger annual technology event in the world than CES 2019. It capture the attention of millions like no competing tech showcase trade show and with good reason since just about every truly development by most of the world’s top consumer technology trend-makers is covered there.
Now with January creeping closer, the 2019 edition of the Consumer Electronics Show is almost upon us from Las Vegas, Nevada and with it, we’re going to see the guiding technologies of next year’s 4K TVs and numerous other entertainment electronics showcased in all their power.
For the world of 4K display technology in TVs and other devices and for a whole bunch of related developments, CES 2019 is going to mean plenty of fascinating new surprises, many of which are still heavily under wraps. However, even now we can anticipate some of what’s going to be under the lights and cameras on the trade show floor, so let’s take a bit of a look.
CES 2019: The Highlights:
4K and 8K TVs (Again but much better)
There were already plenty of incredible new 4K UHD HDR TVs to be seen at CES 2018 (and several CES events in other previous years) so for the 2019 event, they’re going to be as sure as a sunrise. However, for this year, what we will see is a much further expansion of next-generation technologies coupled with many sharp refinements and expansions on the existing cutting edge standards for TV display technology in particular that have finally started to go mainstream. By expansions we don’t just mean enhancements on color, contrast, motion handling and high dynamic range in the major brands’ priciest 4K UHD TVs; we’re also referring to these technologies being more present and at a higher-than-ever level of quality in many of the mid-range and budget 4K TVs that also appear at CES 2019 before they go on sale later in the same year.
We saw plenty of this happen during CES 2017 and CES 2018 as most of the 4K TV makers unveiled numerous mid-range and budget 4K TV series with full HDR color and brightness support packed into them for visible improvements in picture quality. In 2019, the trend will only continue and many of the new less expensive televisions that get shown off will deliver display specs that match or even exceed what the premium models of this year or last year could do.
Beyond this though, it will be each name brand’s cutting edge televisions that impress most, as usual, because if even their mid-range models are slated for considerable improvement, you can be sure that at least some of the ultra-premium editions will feature really stunning new levels of picture technology, especially when it comes to increased wide color gamut rendering and screen brightness.
In addition to all of the above for 4K TVs, this might be the first CES in which we see mass market 8K TVs appear on display. Samsung, LG and Sony are all strongly rumored to be readying for their own respective reveals of consumer 8K models and LG is also going to pull off some fantastically improved OLED ultra HD HDR televisions, as they’ve consistently done year over year with their OLED 4K technology.
QLED and OLED
In 2018, both Samsung’s QLED TVs and LG’s OLED TVs really came into their own within the limits of their respective technologies. On the QLED front, Samsung managed to deliver 4K UHD LCD TVs with unprecedented levels of wide color gamut performance (for high quality HDR color delivery) like no other brand of TVs we reviewed and on the OLED front, LG delivered a lineup of televisions that were brighter than any we’d ever seen before, with peak brightness specs which rival even many premium LCD TVs.
In 2019, we’re expecting to see both trends continue and though LG has mainly teased specs about the processing power of its 2019 OLED TVs, we’re hoping and expecting them to finally break the 1000 nit peak brightness barrier to a decent degree. Samsung’s QLED televisions will almost certainly follow the basic design of their 2018 QLED models but we do hope to see their color deliver get refined even further as color performance under high display luminosity improves even more than it did for 2018. “Real” QLED technology in the form of quantum dot pixels that emit their own light is still probably at least a couple years away from commercial production but Samsung can at least improve on the color precision of its broad quantum dot filter layers in the 2019 QLED TVs with their conventional underlying LCD/LED display panels.
Sony 4K TV Developments
Sony released two excellent 4K HDR UHD TVs in late 2018 and we were on hand for their earlier July unveiling in New York City. These are called the MASTER Series models and one of them is the A9F OLED HDR TV while the other is the LCD Z9F model, the (highly anticipated) successor to the reviewer-acclaimed 2016 Sony Z9D ultra-premium Sony flagship 4K TV. Because of these releases, we’re not 100% sure what if anything major to expect from Sony in time for CES itself. We certainly don’t anticipate yet another OLED model after two of them came out in 2018 alone (if we include the early-2018 A8F OLED).
What we might however see is a limited new lineup of premium range LCD 4K HDR TVs such as a successor to the 2017 X930E and X940E models. We’re keeping our ears open for word of something like this appearing at CES 2019.
4K HDR PC Tech and More
Aside from cutting-edge 4K TVs, we can almost absolutely expect to see at least some new 4K UHD PC displays and notebooks emerge at CES 2019 and you can bet the farm that some of them are going to come with seriously powerful HDR specs as well. Samsung for one is widely rumored to be coming up with a 4K UHD OLED PC notebook series in time for the big January event and we simply can’t imagine these models not including excellent HDR specs as part of the bargain.
Given the number of PC monitors with full 4K HDR display specs that we saw in 2018, we can also look forward to some of these at CES 2019 and with ever brighter displays and QLED-style color delivery as well.
4K TVs from Samsung, Panasonic and even Philips have already emerged in 2018 with HDR10+ support (the Samsung 2018 QLED TVs all include this spec, for example) but what we have yet to really see is content that has been mastered with the HDR10+ standard. This is something we hope and expect to see change in 2019 and rumors are pointing in that direction. 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros have both claimed that they’ll be releasing movie titles with HDR10+ mastering in them by the end of 2018 while media services like Rakuten TV and Shout! Factory are also claiming imminent releases of HDR10+-formatted movie titles.
The HDR10+ standard (for those of you who might not know yet) is the supposedly much improved successor to the now widely used HDR10. The key difference between the two is that HDR10+ more closely emulated the highly refined Dolby Vision HDR format in delivering scene-by-scene HDR color and contrast variations for a much more visually impressive viewing experience. We’re also sure that more of Samsung’s 2019 4K TV releases come with HDR10+ than was the case in 2018.