The 2013 Consumer Electronics show unveiled hundreds of new and exciting best buy TV models: always interesting, even fascinating, though sometimes confusing.
Bottom line is that questions remain, particularly about the newest technology: the much touted expensive 4K and OLED sets as well as new gadgetry of questionable usefulness. But the big question is… will flat-panel TV picture quality get even better in 2013? According to the best buy TV magic 8 ball, “signs point to yes”.
But don’t be surprised if you can’t find many 4K TVs on store shelves in 2013, and OLED will be even harder to find. The TVs with both, introduced by Sony and Panasonic, are prototypes that are still years away due to a combination of factors: price, difficulty of mass-production and a lack of television and movie content specially produced to take advantage of all of those new pixels.
Sony announced its first 4K Blu-Ray player, but still has not released Ultra-HD-optimized live television. The availability of that content, much like that of 3D content, could determine the future success of these TVs and their brilliant screens. Sony alluded to a cost for its smaller XBR-X900 sizes that is right around that of a premium HDTV: around $5,000 for the 55-incher. LG’s smaller 4K models might cost a bit less than that, You’ll probably not be able to buy a non-Chinese 4K TV for less than $4K this year.
LG claims they will finally be shipping their OLED TVs in March for $12,000. Even if you have that kind of scratch, initial quantities will be extremely limited. The only other TV maker close to production is Samsung, who says its KN55F9500 is on track for this year, though the final design is still under wraps.
Bells and whistles (i.e. “nothing to do with making a great TV picture”)
Samsung, the king-of-features technology has developed a new Smart TV that can control your cable box as well as recommend upcoming shows and consolidate searches of on-demand video sources. Sony is pushing NFC pairing, a second-screen app, and DirecTV-friendliness. LG is also touting NFC, along with improved voice control and a better motion remote. Panasonic has an optional pen accessory for marking up documents onscreen, voice control, a touch-pad controller, and a pop-up camera on some models. Vizio has M-Go, a studio-sanctioned streaming app, as well as a new streaming-3D service and HTML5 support in higher-end sets. Everybody has dual-core processors, built-in Wi-Fi, and tons of apps that you’ll never use.
OK then; while we’re waiting for all this technology to manifest in meaningful ways, let’s peruse some of the more astounding, desire-driving, bar-setting televisions unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show. These are the TVs that you’ll want to know about.
(1) The Panasonic ZT60 Plasma:
(2) Sony KDL-55W900A:
The Sony KDL-55W900A is Sony’s 2013 flagship non-Ultra HD TV. It uses the same X-Reality Pro chip as last year’s top-end models but the panel is all-new and includes the same Triluminos colour boosting layer as other UHD models shown at CES. The Triluminos technology look great even in the bright conditions. Colors are vivid and intense, and you could almost imagine you were looking at an OLED product. It’s thinner than last year’s HX853 and comes packing the latest SEN Smart TV features and also the new SideView service which incorporates third party services such as Netflix and YouTube while also supporting Sony’s own Music and Video Unlimited packages. Prices for the W900A range are not available as of this writing, but are expected to be competitive.
(3) Vizio M Series:
(4) Samsung F8000 and the F7500:
The Samsung F8000 LED TV offers more vibrant and richer colors, higher contrasts and a brighter picture quality than ever before. With Samsung’s proprietary Micro Dimming Ultimate technology, the TV line brings greater contrast, deeper black levels and maximum brightness of 3D images, allowing for an amazing image. The F8000 is the world’s first Smart LED TV with a quad-core processor, so consumers can toggle between apps, online services and on-air TV quickly and easily without missing a moment of their favorite entertainment. The F8000 will be available this year in 46”, 55”, 60”, 65” and 75” class screen sizes.
Samsung F7500 complements any living room set up. Its slim bezel with rose gold accents creates sophisticated lines that flow elegantly into the base, forming a stunning ripple effect along the bottom of the TV. Samsung’s Micro Dimming Pro technology delivers sharper contrast, deeper blacks and crystal clear detail enhancements. The F7500 includes the same quad-core processor offered in the F8000, enabling Smart Interaction and other advanced features. It is available in 46”, 55”, and 60” class screen sizes.
Samsung Smart Hub has been redesigned to simplify the process of discovery for consumers. Apps and content are arranged into panels with an easy-to-navigate interface and dynamic thumbnails for instant previews.
(5) Samsung UN85S9:
(6) Sharp Purios:
(7) LG Hecto laser projector:
At $10,000 the Hecto has the distinction of being the cheapest 100-inch-or-larger TV shown at CES 2013, trumping the 110-inch LEDs by a few hundred thousand dollars. Essentially a deconstructed rear-projection TV, this short-throw laser projector includes its own screen and even has speakers. It’s the only product of its kind from a major maker, and is positioned to compete against similarly-priced 80-inch LED TVs.
(8) LG LA8600:
LGs 2013 Smart TV features have been upgraded with a 120% faster CPU and 300% faster GPU, speeding up the apps and graphical interface. LG also say that the Smart TV experience and been much improved. They have also added speech recognition support and a new Magic Remote. The LA8600 Series is part of the 2013 Smart LED line up. It has an edge-lit LED LCD screen, a borderless bezel, 1080P HD resolution, 240Hz refresh rate and passive 3D. It will come with LG’s Magic Motion remote control and will support Skype video chats through its built-in camera and microphone. The LA8600 will come in 47 and 55-inch models. The LG LA8600 is LG’s highest spec 2013 Smart TV. It is LED edge lit, with a borderless bezel and 1080p LCD. It has a 240Hz refresh rate, passive 3D, dual core processor, built in HD camera and microphone for Skype, and comes with the Magic Motion remote. Available as the 47-Inch LG 47LA8600, and as the 55-Inch 55LA8600.
(9) LG 55PM9700: