On this episode of The Wrap, we’re diving into CES and what you can expect from TVs in 2021. Covering LED backlit TVs, Mini LED, quantum dot, QLED, OLED, and more, it’s a primer of TVs this year in five minutes.
It’s the beginning of CES 2021, and you’re tuned into The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and we’re not live at CES, because we can’t leave the country. It’s a bit of a weird CES this year, as the Consumer Technology Association, the CTA, hosts an all online CES for some pretty obvious reasons.
And for those same obvious reasons, Australian technology journalists are not leaving the country. Rather, we’re reporting on the tech being introduced for 2021 online at the first all digital CES.
There’s a lot happening at the online CES, and we’re covering it bit by bit, starting with TVs, because there’s a lot happening there for sure. If you need a primer on what 2021 will bring the world of TVs, here it is in five, starting with…
Mini LED. If that sounds like we’re starting to say something and just stopping, hold up, because Mini LED is a new technology for many of the TVs coming out this year. In fact, it’s something that will appear in high-end screens that aren’t OLED, and replaces the LED backlighting.
For those a little confused about all the terms, when you buy a TV, if you see the term “LED TV”, it means there’s an assortment of small lights inside that TV that light up certain areas when something is being shown. Those lights form zones, and allow TV makers to control when something is light and when the image needs to be dark, like when showing a night time scene or the shade of black.
Mini LEDs take that technology and make it smaller, allowing those zones to be even smaller again, and mean TV makers are able to exert more control and get more colour uniformity. For LED TVs, Mini LED is about getting these TVs as close to OLED as possible, which uses self-emitting diodes, and are considered by many to be the best you can get for colour and brightness control.
LED TVs can be faster, though, so while OLED can be better for replicating picture quality, LED TVs might be better for sports or games, while also often being more economical.
This year, Mini LED is that technology to help TV makers get within spitting distance of OLED, and it won’t be alone. Expect Mini LED TVs to get quantum dots, a layer of crystals that enhances colour to help it become more like OLED, but again, for less of a price pinch.
We’re finding Mini LED on TVs from most makers this year, with Samsung using them on the Neo QLED range, LG on the QNED range, and Hisense and TCL each set to release TVs with Mini LED, as well.
All four brands will also include TVs without Mini LED this year, as will Sony, which isn’t focusing on that technology, but instead has a new processor that apparently analyses images to deliver picture quality more like your eyes, or at least that’s what we’re being told.
That’s the big news from Sony, and it will use that technology in its OLED and LED-backlit TVs when they arrive later this year.
Samsung also has a big take on TVs coming later this year in Micro LED, which was a technology it once called “The Wall”. We’ve seen this for a few years now, first at CES in 2018, and then later on at last year’s event in Vegas, and now it’s ready for release. If you have deep pockets, Samsung’s Micro LED promises a big picture set to either 99 inches or 110 inches, basically making a big 4K image for your wall using its new Micro LED picture technology, which is very bright and very vivid.
In 2021, that 4K thing is still very popular, too, and pretty much every new TV will be a 4K Ultra HD TV, but some will now be 8K. We still don’t really have 8K content, so if you’re eyeing a future-proof TV, know that 8K might be it, but there’s nothing native to run beyond maybe PC gaming, and eventually console gaming. But there are new processors to help upscale 4K and Full HD content into 8K, so that’s something.
Finally, Hisense, Epson and Samsung are making Laser TVs, and like Micro LED, that’s a technology made for a big picture, well, bigger than a TV.
The concept is actually more a projector than a TV, but one made for a specific screen size and wall distance, and uses laser light from the projector to shine a big picture that works both in daylight and night. While most projectors struggle with daylight imagery, laser is fine, and Laser TVs go beyond basic projectors by even including a TV tuner with the package.
And that’s basically what CES is showing for TVs this year. You can expect more from the digital show floor, available at the site, but for now, you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology round-up. An episode of The Wrap goes at least once a week at PodcastOne, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts, and we’ll see you next time on The Wrap. Stay safe, stay sane, and take care.