We may not have qualified this time around but a whole lot of football teams are going to be kicking balls in the 2018 World Cup this year and that means only one thing in the world of tech: loads of people are about to get a new TV.
So CES 2018 has delivered in a big way with a slew of 4K, HDR sets from the likes of Sony, LG, Samsung and plenty of others. As anyone who’s got themselves a bargain screen on Black Friday knows, not all big screens are built equally.
That’s why we’ve rifled through all the big announcements from the blockbuster Las Vegas trade show to find the best new TVs of CES 2018.
Don’t worry, not all of them are prohibitively expensive to get ahold of either.
SONY BRAVIA A8F OLED TV
The king is dead, long live the king. The Bravia A8F might not be all that different to 2017’s all-conquering A1 OLED, but that just means Sony has kept all the good stuff about that screen and added to it with an additional sprinkling of magic dust.
In technical terms, this means Dolby Vision HDR support, improved picture processing and Google Assistant voice commands. It’s not a dramatic leap forward, but we’re hoping this means Sony’s OLED prices are a little more reasonable this time around. Unlikely, because imports of this size never are.
Especially since last year’s fancy picture stand design has been dialled back a little. Shame that we can’t really get the Bravia line natively in South Africa any more — this one really does look good.
LG ROLLABLE OLED
Okay, unless you’ve got some deep tech contacts in South Korea, then you’re not going to be able to get ahold of this jaw-dropping LG Display concept. Still, it’s worth a try for a properly rollable TV.
Yep. You read that right, this 65in 4K marvel is a successor to the 18in set we first saw a few years ago that can be rolled up to clear your wall when it’s not in use and… that’s about all we know about it. Really, that’s enough isn’t it?
LG THINQ OLEDS
Again this should mean they undercut the alternatives from Sony, Panasonic and Philips, while offering 50% more processing power than their 2017 predecessors, the ability to handle frame rates of up to 120 per second and some new AI smarts that learn your viewing habits and serve you up similar programming accordingly.
It looks like LG is following the same naming routine as last year as well, with five models scaling up in price from the B8 to W8, with screen sizes between 55in and 77in.
Honestly, that’s about it apart from some added Google Assistant smarts and that’s good enough for us. Having pioneered OLED screen tech, LG remains a dab hand at the whole business.
PANASONIC FZ950 OLED TV
The other great OLED contender of 2018 is Panasonic’s headline FZ950. As with most Panasonic TVs, this 55in and 65in model with a built-in “dynamic blade” soundbar isn’t much to look at but packs in some serious pro-grade innovations.
Most significantly, it’s one of the first sets we’ve seen to offer dynamic LUT colour correcting tech that allows a TV to update its colour profile up to ten times every second.
The result? Imagery is fine-tuned on a constant basis rather than at the start of a TV show or movie. Done right, this could really improve the fidelity of your filmic experience. We can’t wait to test it out ourselves but with Panasonic there’s no guarantee that we’ll see it here in time for some footy.
SAMSUNG THE WALL
In a distraction technique of monstrous proportions, Samsung neglected to announce its new range of QLED TVs at CES 2018 and instead unveiled a giant 146in set named The Wall.
Powered by the latest self-emitting MicroLED tech this modular marvel can be expanded in size to truly humongous proportions and is so sizeable that Samsung hasn’t even announced a price for it.
So when are those more pleb-worthy QLEDs expected to see the light of day? Word is they’ll be out around mid-year and should be more affordable than their OLED cousins to avoid the mildly unflattering comparisons of last year.