Here Are The Awesome 4K TV Trends We’re Expecting From CES 2017

by on January 2, 2017

Stephan Jukic – January 2, 2017

CES 2017, the consumer technology mega-event held each year in Las Vegas, Nevada is just about upon us and this year’s event is promising a whole pile of new 4K ultra HD TVs that completely surpass even the stunning displays we saw emerge in 2016. This year is going to be an absolute landslide of cutting edge TV design and viewing technologies as well as all sorts of other ultra HD devices like new cameras and PC monitors.

A couple of truly important trends are definitely going to play a key role in the new TVs we see for early 2017 in particular. First and foremost, 4K is now formally, concretely and fully here to stay. The display resolution that many tech watchers were short-sighted enough to even dismiss just a couple of years ago has now (and it should have been an obvious thing to see coming) become the absolute de facto standard feature in all new larger and premium smart TVs being released by every single brand in the world.

This rule applies particularly to all of the major brands and the major brands that are most heavily represented in the North American market. Thus, from Sony, Samsung, LG, Vizio (owned by LeEco now) and all the other TV brands found in the U.S, we’re going to see virtually all larger TVs ranging from premium to budget design in their specs coming with at least a 4K resolution as a basic feature. Move over 1080p Full HD, 2160p ultra HD is your official replacement across the board now.

Secondly, HDR, or high dynamic range, is firmly establishing itself as a must-have display feature for any decent mid-level to premium 4K TV model being sold. Even many highly affordable budget TVs from all of the major brands came with at least some HDR display features in 2016 (mainly HDR wide color gamut and 10-bit color) and we’re going to see this trend expand much further in 2017. The premium 4K TVs of this new year will almost certainly deliver unparalleled display brightness and black levels in a further expansion of what the 1000 nit+ 4K HDR LCD TVs and 600 nit+ HDR OLED TVs of 2016 were capable of. We’re also expecting some color performance improvements thanks to further refinements in technologies like quantum dots, which will again be present in the expected Samsung QLED TVs that replace the company’s premium SUHD lines.

Quantum dot technology for QLED TVs from Samsung

Quantum dot technology for QLED TVs from Samsung

Content sources in 4K resolution with HDR are still rare enough that most of these awesome new TV display technologies will be ahead of their still severely lagging content component in the home entertainment equation but this too will start to change further in 2017 and in the meantime, we have a strong suspicion that the upscaling technologies in this year’s new 4K TVs will now not only allow for improvements in the visible sharpness of non-4K content, but will also be able to actually upscale non-HDR content of at least the ultra HD type and possibly even non-4K non-HDR content so that both types of video input are made to look like they’re delivering superior color performance and dynamic range quality in their contrast levels. This sort of HDR-upscaling is something that has been in development for a while now and even some 2016 high dynamic range TVs, such as Samsung’s SUHD models offered the feature with varying degrees of visual success. In the SUHD models of 2016, it was called “HDR+” and we’re looking forward to seeing how well its 2017 version performs.

Again, we’re also expecting to see a whole new range of peak brightness levels emerge in the major premium 4K HDR TVs of 2017 and believe that even the OLED 4K HDR TVs from LG that emerge after CES 2017 will also manage to ramp up their peak brightness even further to some stunning new levels that were previously unheard of for OLED display. If even the 2016 LG B6 –the brand’s brightest OLED TV for 2016—could manage to hit over 700 nits of peak brightness (most SDR LCD TVs can’t even manage 400), then it will be exciting to see what the best that the 2017 models can do is. To name one concrete example, Samsung’s 2017 QLED 4K HDR TVs are supposed to deliver what Samsung will call “HDR 1500”, meaning brightness in excess of 1500 nits. The 2016 SUHD TVs offered HDR 1000 and many of them could reach peak brightness levels of over 1400 nits, so maybe a peak brightness level of 1600 to 1800 nits is in the offering for the Samsung premium models of 2017?

On the other hand, while each TV maker is surely going to pump out all sorts of hype about giant leaps in color performance for their 2017 TVs, we don’t have extremely high hopes for dramatic improvements in real color space coverage or bit-depth in 2017. We may turn out to be wrong on this, and we do think we’ll see some slightly higher DCI-P3 color space wide color gamut coverage but only in terms of low single digit percentage expansion.


Black level performance in the LCD TVs of 2017 is another area where we’re not expecting miracles. Unless LCD display technology has been radically and secretly changed in late 2016 by the major brands, the best we’re likely to see for the beginning of this New Year for LCD HDR 4K TVs are black levels comparable to those of Sony’s late 2016 Z9D HDR TVs. These models did indeed create some really stunning local dimming due to their massive full-array LED backlighting panels but they still produced black levels comparable to those of other major 2016 models.

Finally, based on what we’ve seen of consumer electronics information on non-4K TV products leaked in the lead-up to CES 2017, this year’s event is promising some great new 4K camera models and more excitingly still perhaps, some stunning new 4K UHD monitors with improved connectivity specs, new abilities to watch 4K entertainment content thanks to HDCP 2.2 compatibility and display specs which will resemble HDR in 4K TVs due to their color coverage and contrast levels. Samsung in particular is expected to wow consumers with a peak at its new UH750 4K PC display with quantum dot color specs similar to those found in the company’s expected 2017 QLED 4K HDR TVs.


We’ll be following CES 2017 very closely and we’ll keep you updated on how many of our predictions above turn out to be on the mark, and of course, when we start reviewing the new TVs of 2017, we can see concrete metrics on just how well they live up to their inevitable hype.

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