I started my first day at CES attending an invite-only exhibit from Panasonic at the MGM Conference Center, where the company introduced its upcoming GZ2000, a 4K OLED TV aimed at folks who want very accurate colours in the most literal sense of the word.
Available in 55- and 65-inch models, the TVs will support HLG, HDR10, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision for high dynamic range (HDR) video standards, which makes them the first displays in the world with complete compatibility with all currently available HDR formats. Panasonic says the GZ2000 is equipped with its most powerful processor ever to speed up HDR processing, the HCX-i.
This professional-grade OLED series will include the identical sound processing chip used with Panasonic's top line G audio gear, true up-firing Dolby Atmos speakers (another first in the industry), and also to be ready for HLG Photo still-camera HDR standard right out of the box. Prices are yet to be determined, but both the 55" and 65" versions will be available in late-fall 2019.
Sony showcased its new Master Series lineup in both LCD and OLED. The A9G OLEDs are available in the usual 55-, 65-, and 77-inch varieties; while the Z9G
LCD counterparts are available in an 85-inch and a gigantic 98-inch variation. Purchasing these Master Series TVs will definitely make you the king of the hill, as they will be capable of full 8K display running upwards to 120 fps in its full 48 Gbps HDMI 2.1 glory. Another "bonus" from these TVs is that they will also include Apple Airplay 2 capability, so you can send iOS content through the TV without the need for an Apple TV. Strangely enough, HDR10+, which is a part of IMAX Enhanced specification, is not part of these IMAX Enhanced Certified TVs.
After witnessing a Samsung LED cinema in Europe (yes, it is a real thing) and "The Wall" demo at CES 2018, I'm ecstatic that Samsung is finally releasing its 6K (higher resolution than 4K but not quite 8K) microLED TV for the home by the end of this year or early 2020. Starting at 75" for approximately US$20,000 and configurable to an epic 219" in diagonal size (see photo at top), this is the TV you should have if you want infinite black but have screen the size of your wall. They aren't cheap, but there will likely be a handful of wealthy customers setting up units in their palatial homes.
On the mere-mortal side, Samsung also announced its 8K 98" QLED TV with AI video upscaling processor, which includes an ambient brightness and colour temperature sensor, and AI audio processing, which enhances the sound by using sonic content analysis mixed with room ambient analysis. It's too bad that this near-ultimate TV still won't be Dolby Vision HDR-compatible.
Continuing today's theme, LG's rollable OLED is a massive draw at the company's booth. No more "huge black slab of ugliness" when nothing is being played. You could even put the TV in front of a window so when the viewing session is done, the TV can be rolled down and you're left with a clean-looking pedestal.
Powered by LG's second-generation Alpha 9 processor, both audio and video presentation can be pushed to their respective limits, regardless of the source resolution. If only the rollable OLED came in an 88" 8K version, currently the largest OLED display in the world, which is exclusive to LG.
The fifth and also groundbreaking product of the first day was the visual side of the IMAX Enhanced process. While I'm not a fan of IMAX Enhanced audio processing (I will explain this in a future article), I fell in love with its image processing. Yes, it will be done at the mastering level. But watching the A/B comparison between pre and post process, the unnecessary grains have almost completely been eliminated. Bear in mind that in many cases, film grains are NOT a choice of the director. In too many cases, film stock and digital camera sensor limitations just can't be avoided. How this will affect sharpness will be determined once I can get my hands on movies with and without IMAX Enhanced processing, and be projected to a SMPTE-recommended viewing distance. For most viewers, however, using a regular sized TV, the result is nothing short of "wow!"