The thinner, the better. This isn’t a fashion show catwalk, but the TV stands at the Consumer Electronics Fair in Las Vegas.
Beyond size, 2016 is also going to be all about Ultra HD and 4K.
And for giant Samsung, TV is much more than a simple screen: it’s an entire ecosystem.
“Also exciting to Smart TV for 2016 is what we call SmartThings and the Internet of Things. What this means is that your TV has the ability to connect to and be part of an entire ecosystem of connected components and devices. Our SUHDTVs this year include the hub, or the brain of the SmartThings connected environment. All of our smart TVs for this year will in fact be able to be a thing or a device in the Samsung SmartThings home,” said Jason Baruch, National Products Trainer at Samsung America.
China-based Internet conglomerate LeTV is the creator and pioneer of the popular ecosystem business model which includes a vertically-integrated online environment. At CES it unveiled what it’s calling the world’s thinnest TV.
“The Max 65 Blade – our super-slim 3.9 mm thick TV – we just announced that yesterday. It comes with a modular sound bar that houses the brains of the TV so it makes for future proofing the TV. You can upgrade your ports, your OS, your processor, your RAM just by swapping out the sound bar and docking it to the TV. That helps also keep the panel super thin. 3.9 mm is about as thin as you can really get right now,” said LeTV spokesman Will Park.
Undeterred by the fact that there are actually very few 4K movies available, South Korean giant LG went ahead and showed off its new 8K Super Ultra-High Definition TV set.
“We’ve added perfect HDR, high dynamic range. That’s going to give you a picture so realistic you’re going to feel like you’re there. Everything you’re watching will be like you’re looking out the window. Nature brought into your home,” said LG Electronics’ National Product Manager Martin Valdez.
But for 4K to be taken up, content is needed. Internet-based Netflix is intent on meeting that demand and announced it would be bringing its services to more than 130 new countries around the world, up from 60.
“We’re excited to bring Netflix to many, many different devices. We continue to expand our offering of smart TVs and we have several thousand different models of smart TVs, many of the televisions sold in the rest of the world in the past 18 months or so will be capable of Netflix and Netflix app will become available (globally) either today or over the coming days and weeks,” said Netflix Chief Product Officer, Neil Hunt.
Japanese giant Panasonic rolled out its string of new 4K televisions and related products to keep up with the competition but insisted that it was doing so…
“…not for the sake of just introducing the feature, a feature that really adds to the experience, so, you know, what we tried to address this year was the confusion around, you know, ‘Why should I get a 4K?’ I still get asked questions like ‘Why aren’t you doing plasma anymore?’ There’s still a group of people out there who I think want us to bring plasma TVs back,” said Julie Bower, President at Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company.
With such a multitude of new models packed with state-of-the-art features, they can’t all make it onto the mainstream market according to some analysts.
“The pace of competition is still as intense and everybody is just trying to move in on this space and develop technologies as fast as possible. The risk is that a lot it is ahead of standards and you need standards to actually sell things because that gives consumers the confidence to buy,” said analyst Paul Gray.
As far as TVs are concerned, it seems there was something for everyone at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, from the world’s largest TV to the transparent screen or the flourish of weird and wonderful curved screens. Happy 2016 in front of your new screen!