4K is already old hat. Rapidly falling prices are causing TV makers to push ever more elaborate features -- that's why Quantum Dots, HDR and curved, bendable and ultra-slim sets were so prominent this year.
David KatzmaierEditorial Director -- Personal Tech
David reviews TVs and leads the Personal Tech team at CNET, covering mobile, software, computing, streaming and home entertainment. We provide helpful, expert reviews, advice and videos on what gadget or service to buy and how to get the most out of it.
ExpertiseA 20-year CNET veteran, David has been reviewing TVs since the days of CRT, rear-projection and plasma. Prior to CNET he worked at Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as the Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics.Credentials
Although still awaiting his Oscar for Best Picture Reviewer, David does hold certifications from the Imaging Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology on display calibration and evaluation.
There were plenty of 4K content announcements at CES last year, but almost none at CES 2015. Beyond the Panasonic 4K Blu-ray player, Dish 4K Joey and Netflix and Dolby's HDR streams ( see our home video wrapup for more), there was little good news for people looking to feed their new 4K TVs something that takes advantage of all those extra pixels.
Here's a look at some of the major announcements and trends in TV hardware.
Samsung SUHD vs. LG OLED
The latest front in the bitter corporate rivalry between Samsung and LG is new high-end TV tech. At CES Samsung introduced its "SUHD" line of LED LCDs in an attempt to compete against the picture quality supremacy of OLED, which delivers the best images we've ever tested .
SUHD picture enhancements include LEDs coated with Quantum Dots, a redesigned panel, improved LCD filters and, in the case of the flagship JS9500 series , full-array local dimming. They looked very good in person during a private room demo Samsung set up, but since they're basically fancy LCDs I don't think they'll outperform OLED -- although they'll likely be significantly less expensive, especially the step-down JS9000 and JS8500 , which use edge-lit local dimming.
LG's OLED introductions were all 4K, and we expect them to continue to be exorbitantly expensive. The company is delivering 55-inch and 65-inch flat (as opposed to curved) screen models, a 77-inch flexible model , and will continue selling the 1080p 55EC9300 from last year. No pricing was announced, but I'm guessing the 55-inch sets cost around $4,000, and the 65-inchers $6,000, at launch in the US.
Watch this: LG's OLED HDR: the next generation of the best TV ever
One interesting OLED prototype from LG Display improved the light output in highlights by 60 percent, the better to realize HDR content. There's no word on its availability.
Multiple companies, including Samsung, LG, Sony, Panasonic, TCL and Philips are talking about HDR in their TVs, and even more exciting, Dolby and Netflix are talking about HDR content. It'll be a few years before it becomes widely available, but in demos I saw it was the most exciting picture quality enhancement at the show. Check out our HDR roundup for more.
Sharp, for its part, was focused squarely on resolution with its Beyond 4K TV . For my part, I don't think the extra subpixels will make much visible difference.
More curved vs. more flat
Samsung says its curved TVs are extremely popular, despite the troubles we've noted in testing. So the company doubled down in 2015, introducing four series of curved 4K UHD sets. Beyond LG's OLEDs, however, no other TV maker is selling curved TVs in the US.
Samsung and LG stuck to their guns in introducing new versions of their homebrew smart operating systems. LG's Web OS 2.0 largely looks the same as the original, but it's supposedly faster and offers more customization. Tizen is the name for Samsung's new system, and it has a new interface, faster response time and of course a crazy new name. Samsung touts its open-source nature, but I'd be surprised if a flood of third-party developers jumped on board.
Google's Android TV is open-source too, and in 2015 two TV makers, Sony and Sharp, embraced it over their own homebrew systems. To be fair Sharp's approach is more of a hybrid between its old smart TV suite, with Android TV couched as one option among many. I like Sony's approach better, however. It scrapped its old smart TV suite completely and put Android TV front and center.