Tech upgrade: A push for higher resolution and better-looking TVs at CES

By: | Updated: January 7, 2015 9:22 AM

At CES, LG, Sharp, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony all showed giant screens with sky-high display resolutions.

Sony Bravia, Sony 4K TV, Consumer Electronics Show, CESSony?s 4.9mm thick Bravia 4K television is displayed during the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. (Reuters)

The international Consumer Electronics Show (CES) took a turn toward the familiar on the opening day: televisions. LG, Sharp, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony all showed giant screens with sky-high display resolutions. And in a bid to push ultrahigh definition, also called 4K TV, into the mainstream, those companies are teaming up with each other and content makers like Netflix, Walt Disney Studios and others to set standards for 4K TVs and content. Presumably, they will also generate a landslide of marketing about how much you need one of these televisions, immediately.

There’s no doubt that 4K TVs look amazing, but there’s not a lot of content available, and consumers aren’t sure why they need higher resolution TVs than the HD TVs they upgraded to only a few years ago.

The newly announced UHD Alliance will no doubt work hard to answer those questions — but 4K content and falling prices are likely to be the biggest incentives.

The big TV makers differed in their approaches to bringing higher resolution and better-looking televisions.

LG, for example, focused on organic light-emitting diode technology, or OLED TVs, which are superslim and extremely energy-efficient and have better picture quality than high-definition sets. And at its news conference on Monday at the International CES, the annual consumer electronics trade show, LG announced the first 4K OLED TVs ever. The machines start at 55 inches and feature a curved display — another, a 77-inch model, can be changed to curved or flat with the press of a button. Eye-catching, indeed.

Sharp TV, 8K LED TV, CES 2015A visitor takes a picture of Sharp?s 85-inch 8K LED TV at the International CES in Las Vegas. (AP)

And Sony’s new Bravia 4K TVs will include one series with an extra thin design, and all of them, the company says, will be able to upscale — or digitally improve — the image of standard HDTV so that even non-4K content looks good on its sets.

Samsung, which said it holds more than 60 per cent of the ultrahigh definition market, had some new machines of its own. The company also said its Internet-connected TVs would let Samsung smartphone users share content with their TVs. The company also said users could stream 4K content from Amazon, Netflix and other sources, and it introduced a service called Milk Video that will curate web video for streaming to connected TVs.

Molly Wood

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