The TV Makers at CES 2015 Are Proclaiming their 4K Ambitions

by on January 6, 2015

Stephan Jukic – January 6, 2015

For starters, Samsung has used the event to declare that it plans on making sure all of its new TVs sold by 2017 are full web connected smart TVs and this is just the beginning.

All of the manufacturers present at this year’s CES event in Las Vegas agreed that everybody, as soon as possible, should switch over to a 4K TV instead of sticking with 1080p Full HD and each of the name brands on site also seemed to proclaim their particular 4K TVs as being those with the best value and quality to offer.

Among these, the brand that possibly can make the most of this claim is LG. It has already gained plenty of attention for being the first TV maker to come out with OLED display technology in 4K TVs in 2014 and this year the company is only taking things further from there.

7 new OLED TVs are being presented by LG at CES 2015 and all of them come packed with new features and specs. In addition to these, the company has also unveiled a single new TV with quantum dot image technology built into it and has also introduced at least a couple fascinating new 4K TVs that can shape shift in a way; their screens can change from being curved to flat and back thanks to motorized bezels.

While LG is busy showing off the above, Samsung stayed away from attempting OLED this year, just as it did in 2014 as well. Instead, the company has also put focus on unveiling quantum dots in its new 4K TVs in the form of what it calls its new SUHD technology. This presumably stands for Samsung Ultra HD and is essentially an attempt at creating a distinct brand image around the same technology that LG has also been developing.

For those of you who don’t know, quantum dot represents a color technology that involves the use of a fluid medium loaded with tiny crystals with an individual width 50 thousand times smaller than a human hair.

These crystals, applied to the screen of a 4K TV just in front of its LED backlighting array can then be polarized in specific ways to produce extremely vivid colors that rival or exceed any normal LCD technology.

Quantum dots aren’t even a new development per se. The concept has been around for a few years but only recently was able to be built without the use of the toxic element cadmium, thanks largely to research done by both Samsung and LG.

As for quantum dots and OLED competing, TVs with the dots are certainly far less expensive to manufacture (and thus cost less at retail) but as for image quality, it seems that nobody can distinguish a difference in visual quality with the naked eye in comparisons seen at CES.

Either way, Samsung is making a bet on this new feature in their 4K TVs and quantum dots will be their version of what LG did with OLED in 2014.

Other TV makers aren’t missing out on the 4K technology battleground either.

Sharp, one of the less prolific manufacturers of UHD Televisions, has unveiled its entire new Aquos line of ultra HD sets for 2015 and they also have a clever new technology up their sleeve.

This is called pixel splitting and at least one of the new Aquos TVs, an 85 inch beast, is supposed to deliver “beyond 4K” graphics that are almost as good as 8K resolution because of split pixels.

As sharp has explained, their pixel splitting technology consists of the normal three  subpixels (red, green and blue) that go into a full conventional pixel having a fourth yellow pixel added to them.

The technology then splits all four of these pixels vertically in two and as a result creates a screen with a total of 66 million subpixels instead of the 24 million normally found on a 4K screen.

Because of this massively augmented detail, sharp claims that people viewing an image on one of their “split pixel” “beyond 4K” screens can see a far clearer image than would ordinarily be possible.

Sharp's new split-pixel 4K TV that offers near 8K resolution

Sharp’s new split-pixel 4K TV that offers near 8K resolution

Of course, the big hole in Sharp’s claim is the fact that an image can only have the level of detail it’s been filmed in, regardless of extra screen pixels and because of this, most ordinary HD content viewed on the company’s new super 4K TV might end up looking blurry instead of clearer. That is unless the updated and augmented resolution upscaling engine that the 2015 line of Aquos 4K TVs comes with can compensate.

Finally, special 4K technologies aside, almost all of the major smart TV players are also taking advantage of CES 2015 to show off their improvements to the smart TV platforms they use in their new 4K TVs.

This competition includes Samsung, Sony, Philips, Sharp and Panasonic, all of which have added new features, apps and web browsing systems to their smart TV operating systems.

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