CES 2013: 10 Next-Gen TVs That Tantalized9:00 AM EST Wed. Jan. 16, 2013
Televisions were a long slumbering product category. The "innovations" of recent years were the relative disappointment of Google TV and the commercial indifference to 3-D television sets. This year, however, 4K or UHD (3,840 x 2,160) television sets were the talk of the show. Television has had its best CES in years, led by incumbent television giants like Sony, Samsung, LG and Toshiba. With that, here's a look at the most tantalizing TVs on the CES 2013 show room floor.
The long, long, Lord of the Rings-length wait is nearly over. LG will be bringing a 55-inch OLED television to the States. The good news? It's less than two-tenths of an inch thick. The bad news? It'll cost $12,000. The good news? OLED screens at this size look absolutely incredible. The bad news? The wait goes on, but only until March.
Japanese manufacturer Sharp has long been a strong player in the display market. Their Aquos 8 Series of televisions will represent the top-end line of their LED-LCD consumer models. That means that Sharp's proprietary Quattron technology will make colors pop, and AquoMotion will help sports look their best no matter how fast the action is. They'll be available in April at 60-, 70- and 80-inch sizes. Prices will be $2,999, $3,999 and $6,499, respectively.
Samsung, among many other gorgeous sets, brought a curved OLED panel to CES. The prototype was jaw-dropping. The gentle curve of the 55-inch panel seemed to lure show-goers to the set. It was engrossing to say the least. Unfortunately, there are no pricing or availability details to give, mostly because this television will never make it off the show floor. It's not often that we get to pity something so beautiful.
It's the only plasma set on the list, but it's a beauty. Panasonic is promising "Beyond the Reference" picture quality, and if it wasn't an absurd and made-up marketing term, Panny's new TV could hit the mark. Setting aside the hyperbole, the television steps up its red-color performance as well as its 3-D abilities. Those improvements, along with the inkiest of blacks that plasma sets are known for, promise to again postpone the year that we all forget plasma TV's exist.
Chinese manufacturer TCL was not the only company to bring a 110-inch, UHD 4K-resolution television set to CES, but it was the only company to have Iron Man standing next to it. Oh, the power of marketing. Do you really think that TCL would have made this list if it weren't for Iron Man? Neither do we.
Google TV stumbled out of the gate, but things are improving in terms of quality and manufacturer support. Consider LG's G3 televisions. The attractive sets are of the 1080p LCD-LED backlit variety. The new software will also ship with the OnLive cloud gaming platform on board. Availability and pricing are still out of sight. We'll be more enthused when we see the first 4K Google TV.
This bad boy was another show stopper. The prototype alchemically mixed the new UHD resolution standard with eye-popping OLED display technology. The television was rolling a clip of Brazil's Carnival celebrations. The costumes, dancing and fireworks showed off the awesome potential of OLED and UHD. This particular machine will never see commercial release, but perhaps one day, far off in the future, you can look forward to seeing a picture as gorgeous as the one we saw last week.
As mentioned, TCL wasn't the only firm to bring a 110-Inch UHD television to the show. Samsung's television looked better and had a jaw-droppingly beautiful design. Samsung calls it the "Timeless Gallery" design, but we call it genius. The display seems to be suspended in air, far above the base. This design separates the screen from the speakers, located in the base, which allows the screen to be slimmed down even further. A gorgeous screen and best-in-class industrial design combined for one of the most compelling sets at CES.
This 27-inch curiosity combines the high-end features of LG's lineup of smart TV's with diminutive size. The 1080p panel is cooperative with LG's new Magic Remote, a motion-sensing, voice recognizing remote that promises to make your TV experience more intuitive while looking like a convoluted Wii Remote. Fiddling with the Magic Remote did show some promise, but let's hope that it comes with an instruction manual -- that thing has a lot more buttons than it should. Pricing and availability have yet to be set.
Yup, that says 8K. That's why it's the last display on this list. The prototype could have been showing dirt and mud and still have been the most gorgeous television on the show floor. In reality, the set was showing sweeping vistas of its native Japan, plenty good to earn some eyeballs. Naturally, this prototype won't be making it into your living room. We're mourning with you.