If you haven’t jumped onto the 4K bandwagon, your time might be running short. LG and Sony have taken some time at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to show off their spiffiest 8K TV sets. But, in contrast to the fact that that many pixels on a smaller screen is kinda pointless, all of these super-high res TVs are also pretty super-sized. As will be, we expect, their prices when they eventually land.
LG goes big with LCD, OLED
LG’s two new 8K TV screens are the 88in Z9 OLED television and then a smaller (but still big) 77in SM99, which uses an LCD display. No matter which option you have your eyes on, chances are they’re going to wind up dominating whichever room you put ’em in. Which, if you’re watching a Marvel blockbuster or (miraculously, here in SA) a sports broadcast in 8K, is exactly what you want to have happen.
The screens form part of LG’s 2019 lineup of TVs, which will also see a more convention run of 4K models being released (the W9, E9, and C9 this year — we expect to see a B9 here in SA as well). The 8K sets are the company’s main attraction for 2019 (along with the Signature OLED TV R) on the TV front. The Z9 and the SM99 will be the first TVs to launch with support for HDMI 2.1 (allowing a playback rate of 60fps for 8K content) and high frame-rate (HFR), which should make sports and other fast-paced entertainment media (like Michael Bay explode-a-thons) look better than ever. Yay!
LG’s 8K contenders will be running the company’s second-gen Alpha 9 processor, the same chip that’ll live inside all of the company’s 2019 OLED offerings. The processor promises smarter settings, with the TV picking the best options for viewing based on what’s on-screen. Yup, LG TVs are focussing more on AI-functionality as well. The televisions will support Google Assistant as well as Amazon’s Alexa, and the remote will get a dedicated Amazon Prime Video button to go along with the YouTube and Netflix ones.
Not that you’ll have much 8K content to watch on the thing, which might contribute to why LG hasn’t said what its new TVs will cost or when we’ll see them in stores. Samsung’s 88in Q900R 8K TV launched in the States last year at about R200,000, so we’re not expecting LG’s versions to come in any cheaper.
Sony doubles up on its 8K lineup
If you like your massively high-res TVs made in Japan rather than South Korea, Sony has you covered. The company revealed two new 8K TVs, both falling under their Z9G model number. You’re picking your size here and they’re… not small. The little one is an 85in screen while the larger is a wall-consuming 98in display. Sony says that there’s a new LED array hidden under the skin and that it’s dropping a Picture Processor X1 Ultimate image processing unit inside for upscaling and general image management. The upscaling will be quite important early on because… well, 8K content is hard to find. For now, anyway.
Sony’s including some interesting speaker tech. The panel is surrounded by four speakers, based on the company’s Sound-from-Picture Reality tech used in their OLED TVs. These output as you’d expect normal TV speakers to, but connect the TV to a 5.1 home theatre system and the TV speakers take over the centre channel. It lacks the company’s OLED Acoustic Surface Audio tech here, though, but Sony reckons the effect is much the same. We’ll see. Oh, and Sony’s TVs will also integrate with Google and Amazon’s smart home tech.
Also like LG, Sony is also bringing some 4K screens to market at the same time. These are set to be 75in, 65in and 55in versions of the company’s new Master A9G series screens on sale by year-end, as well as some lesser-specced A8G TVs (in 65in and 55in sizes) and even a few LCD units (the X950G 4K) available in sizes from 85in to 55in. Should help those on a more civilised budget to pick up something new and exciting.
Like LG, Sony hasn’t announced any pricing or availability yet. We’re guessing the former is going under the ‘expensive’ column and the latter more towards the affordable spectrum.