Well, it's about to happen. 2015 is the year 4K replaces 1080p.
I don't mean TVs with 4K resolution will surpass those with 1080p resolution in total sales. That won't happen for another few years, according to most industry analysts. What I mean is that in 2015, 4K TV will replace 1080p TVs as our top recommendations at CNET.
Like all predictions, that could be wrong, but from what I've seen of TV makers' product lines -- specific information I can't share until they make their announcements, typically on CES press day, Jan 5, 2015 -- the 4K TVs will be the best TVs next year. Not just for picture quality among high-end LCD models, which is already the case, but also for picture quality for the money on midrange sets.
4K goes mainstream, 1080p goes bargain
That doesn't change my advice for people who want to buy a TV now. the benefits of 4K resolution are still negligible.Nor does it mean that 4K resolution suddenly delivers dramatically better quality than 1080p resolution. At most screen sizes and seating distances, based on side-by-side comparisons I've done,
What has changed is that TV makers are basically putting all the picture quality enhancements that do matter -- local dimming, better color and better panel technology--into 4K TVs, and leaving 1080p TVs in the bargain bin with mediocre picture quality. 4K resolution LCD panels are going to be midrange TVs, and biggest manufacturers are actually making more series of 4K TVs than 1080p TVs in 2015, offering a range of price points, sizes down to 40 inches, and differentiating features.
Oh, and don't be surprised if we even see an. Just remember that 8K prototypes have been stalking the CES floor as -- they are not new, nor will they be showing up in stores anytime soon.
Quantum Dots vs. light-emitting diodes
4K will be everywhere, but so will claims about improved color. Samsung, for example, says it's Sony KDL-55W900A, but we don't expect a revolutionary improvement., a technology said to improve color gamut and saturation. We , and we liked its effect on the
The same goes for other extras said to closer approach new color specs like we don't expect them to match plasma's quality, let alone OLED.. First, content that adheres to those specs is nonexistent today. Second and most important, they're still LCD TVs, and
LG, for its part, is expected to announce new OLED TVs in 2015. That's great, but don't expect them to be significantly cheaper than today's models -- which start at, and . Most video enthusiasts who care enough to splurge for OLED want a TV in the 65-inch or larger size, and I'd be really surprised if a 65-inch OLED sold for less than, say, $6,500 in 2015.
Three other things that would also surprise me: 1080p OLEDs larger than 55 inches; any other TV maker aside from LG shipping OLEDs in 2015 and prices for any OLED dipping below $2,500 in 2015. We should see a few more non-curved OLED sets, however.
It curves, it bends!
Speaking of curved, I would be surprised if many other TV makers besides Samsung announced more curved LCD TVs for 2015. The technology, er, aesthetic, doesn't seem to have grabbed the same level of consumer enthusiasm as thin LED LCD.It will be interesting to see if Samsung itself, the dominant TV maker, hedges its bet on curved by bringing out essentially the same level of performance in a both form factors throughout its TV line, giving consumers a more straightforward choice between curved and flat.
And what of the bendable TVs fromand , which made a big splash at CES 2014? Don't count out similarly bizarre concept TVs, perhaps including bendier LCDs or even in sizes larger than 18 inches.
The smart and the absent
The big news in smart TV is likely to be alternate platforms. Sony, Sharp and Philips-- the same system used by the -- built-in. Samsung, for its part, is touting its new operating system. Me, I'd be happy to tout more TV makers aside from TCL and Hisense with .
Well-known TV makers aside from Samsung and LG, the two worldwide market leaders, might be more conspicuous by their absence. Panasonic pared down its TV line significantly in 2014, as did Sony, and won't even have a showcase at CES, opting instead for "more intimate venues."might portend even fewer Sony TVs at the show. Sharp this year. And Vizio, the No. 2 TV maker in the US, announced in February that it
4K and Internet TV: Content is king
Beyond the TVs, I'm hoping for more concrete announcements about, you know, actual 4K content. Following the launch of 4K Blu-ray by the end of 2015. Nobody expects 4K TV broadcasts or dedicated 4K TV channels anytime soon, but I wouldn't be surprised if a one-off 2015 sporting event was announced in 4K at the show.and 4K streaming, and other cable providers are expected to 4K-ify their apps for streaming to compatible 4K TVs. DirecTV in addition to launching a 4K-capable satellite, and news trickles out that we'll see
Streaming and alternate delivery ventures that challenge cable TV in the US are good candidates to steal the show. We expect Sony to offer more details on its PlayStation Vue video streaming service, rumored to be called NuTV. CES is also a good place for a dark horse to launch a similar service, or even for traditional networks to follow and with standalone Web TV packages. (Note: CNET is a division of CBS.). Likewise, Dish could pull the wraps off its competing Web video service,
See ya there!
The massive consumer electronics show is anything but intimate, but its frenzy and hyperbole make it ideal for displaying crazy-big TVs. We look forward to being there again next month, and we'll have complete wall-to-wall coverage from Las Vegas starting the first weekend in January.
Our editors bring you complete CES 2015 coverage and scour the showroom floor for the hottest new tech gadgets around.
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