New year has barely started and many of us are still feeling hangover from the celebration, but the greatest consumer electronics show starts in just a few days in Las Vegas. CES 2017 officially starts on the 5th of January, but major companies will have their press events already tomorrow. As the hour quickly approaches, I thought to make a list of 5 things I expect will be presented there.
CES has always been an event that reveals what the trends will be for the coming year. It is not so much about presenting the actual TV lineups and especially not the low end models, this is the show for the high end and flagship models and new trends that come along. CES 2016 announced the year of the UHD HDR with UHD Premium certificate and first UHD Blu-rays and UHD HDR streaming services. These were the exact buzzwords of the 2016 in TV segment – wherever you’ve turnedin 2016 – Ultra HD, 4K and HDR were there – even though many TVs if not the most did not even have hardware good enough to display true benefit of HDR and wide color gamut.
I’ve tested many UHD HDR TVs from major brands last year and hooked them with both Panasonic and Samsung UHD Blu-ray players that first came to the market. I can conclude that situation has never been so complicated for the consumer to actually get the content in its full potential and this is without even considering calibration of the display. Even with HDR TV, UHD Blu-ray player and UHD Blu-ray movie, sometimes instead of dynamic, colorful image I would get pale image with colors worse than Rec.709. The next moment, just after turning on and off the system things would work perfectly well and I was able to experience “better pixels”, but on the next try things would again go south. I did a video of this with Mad Max: Fury Road UHD Blu-ray as example just to show how frustrating this experience was and still is.
So no matter what will be presented in the coming days, I really hope that consumers will be able to experience it properly, with much smaller number of issues in handshaking and pale image like many just like myself have experienced.
With positive thoughts in mind and wishes that 2017 will be the best year so far, here are 6 things I expect to see on the CES 2017:
1. More Ultra HD HDR TVs
We’ve seen in 2016 how UHD HDR came all the way down to mainstream segment, basically completely removing UHD TVs without HDR from lineups. I expect that this trend will carry on this year and that Full HD TVs will be squeezed down to perhaps just a few models in low end segment – everything else will be UHD HDR.
2. Brighter HDR TVs
Last year UHD Premium certification program by UHD Alliance defined minimum requirements for TVs to provide guaranteed UHD HDR experience. My measurements confirmed that all UHD Premium TVs have complied to those requirements, both in term of HDR peak luminance, DCI-P3 coverage and UHD HDR connectivity options. What I expect this year is that TVs will surpass those minimum requirements big a bigger margin, especially in terms of peak luminance. For LCD TVs I expect that peak luminance would rise 50% compared to 2016 and hopefully at least 33% improvement will be seen in OLED TVs.
3. Fewer curved TVs
Already last year there were fewer curved TVs on the market than in 2015 and I guess there will be even smaller number this year. I still hope at least a model or two will stay just to add diversity to the market.
4. Same Smart TV platforms as last year
I expect that manufacturers will stay with same Smart TV platforms as last year and that they would only improve them in 2017. LG with webOS, Samsung with Tizen OS, Sony and Philips with Android TV. For Panasonic, which is using Firefox OS for which Mozilla has stopped development activities in September last year, I expect that Firefox OS will stay featured on their 2017 TVs, probably with same enhancements that company promised already for last year but never released.
5. More OLED TVs
LG Display’s WRGB OLED panels will be in more TVs than ever before, with LG Electronics havingthe biggest number of new models. We already know that LG will keep same naming scheme as last year but with number seven after the series name – B7, C7, E7, G7 & W7. Philips will launch its first OLED TV as well, the 55-inch 901F and Sony will probably join the party. Panasonic’s new “reference” UHD OLED TV, whose prototype was shown at IFA 2017 in September might also got a release date at CES. All new OLED TVs will be in 55 to 77 inch screen sizes, same as in 2016.
6. No new display technologies
LCD (VA and IPS) with LED backlight and LG Display’s WRGB OLED will be the only two technologies in TVs this year. LCD TVs with LEDs powered by Quantum Dot technology will again yield the best results when wide color gamut coverage is concerned. I do not expect we will see 240 Hz UHD TVs – LCD or OLED – and that same techniques to reduce motion blur will be implemented in TVs in 2017.
This is the end of my list of things to expect from the show this year. Tomorrow is the first press day at CES so we will see how many I got right.