If CES is a tech amusement park, its TV debuts are the rollercoaster that everyone waits in 2-hour lines for. Many of these may be years away from your living room (and budget), but others are right around the corner. Here are some of the most exciting TV stories we saw this year:
8K TVs are the future
Just as 4K TVs have nearly eight times as many pixels as HD, 8K TVs will have four times as many as 4K, with over 33 million total. To accommodate all those pixels, 8K TVs will be bigger by necessity — a minimum of 65 inches — something we saw firsthand.
Samsung, LG, and Sony all debuted new super-sized 8K TVs at this year’s CES. The largest 8K TV we saw was Samsung’s Q900 QLED, which clocks in at 98 inches and is available for pre-order now. We were arguably more blown away by LG’s 8K OLED (OLED88Z9), though, which while a little smaller, was no less awe-inspiring. LG expects to launch it in the second half of 2019. And while they will surely be wildly expensive in the early days — around $15K to start — you’ll be able to find better deals on 4K TVs as they become more popular. You can see some of our favorite 4K TVs here.
But 8K content is still rare
If you recently bought a 4K TV, you might be wondering what all these 8K TVs mean for the newest addition to your home entertainment. Don’t worry, you don’t need to buy a new TV just yet.
As always, the technology is far ahead of the content. Even though Samsung (vaguely) promised exclusive 8K content coming this spring, you’ll still have a hard time finding video to match your TV. The truth is, 4K video has barely cracked the mainstream yet, so we’re probably a few years out from watching new movies in 8K. That said, 2017’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 was the first movie to be shot with an 8K camera, so producers may be moving faster than we think.
Even if 8K content isn’t immediately available, 8K TVs will still be able to take advantage of the new technology. Their advanced upscaling processors will be able to adapt HD and 4K content for the more heavily pixelated 8K screen, drastically improving the quality of existing video.
A TV that rolls up like paper
While the of 8K arms race was the biggest TV story at this year’s CES, we also saw plenty of novelties. Our favorite was LG’s Signature OLED TV R, which rolls up like paper so you can hide it while you’re not watching. The 4K TV projects to be astronomically expensive, but it was undeniably one of the most impressive things we saw at CES.
Your new TV will probably have Apple Airplay
Apple made massive waves this week with its announcement that Samsung, Vizio, and LG will all have AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support on 2019 TVs. AirPlay lets Apple users stream music, videos, and photos from their devices to their TV — something that was previously only possible with an Apple TV. HomeKit is like a remote control for your entire entertainment system, allowing users to control their TVs with custom actions through Siri or the Home app on their Apple devices. Samsung is the only one of the three that will have the iTunes app directly on its TVs. This is huge news, as Apple has never given TV manufacturers access to its ecosystem like this.