Trends of TV at CES 2015: 4K, Quantum Dots in HDR

Trends of TV at CES 2015: 4K, Quantum Dots in HDR

Introduction

The CES show in Las Vegas is traditionally the event where all manufacturers of televisions introduce their new models and where the trend is to put the year. During the IFA in September, we still occasionally see some minor updates in the line-ups, but the majority of television news also comes in early January at CES. This year is no different and all major manufacturers including LG, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony and Sharp show their new models to the public purse.

TP Vision, which is responsible in Europe for the development and sale of Philips televisions has those rights are not for the US market and thus is less prominent. However, we still managed to make an appointment with TP Vision, so that we can already lift a corner of the veil when it comes to Philips televisions.

If we look at helicopter drone view to the market, we see three clear trends for 2015. Firstly – and according to expectation – we see that 4k ultra HD is becoming more commonplace. Last year were only the high-end TVs feature ultra hd panels, we will see this technology this year by dropping to the mid-market. Expects all major manufacturers ultra hd televisions suggested from about 1000 euros, and in some cases well below.

Two other developments are newer. First, we see that more and more manufacturers use quantum dots in their backlights. These special filters provide greater color range, which together with the higher resolution is part of the Rec.2020 standard for ultra hd televisions. A recent development that almost all manufacturers use is high dynamic range or HDR, a technology which should allow for clear picture parts such as sunlight and lamps also give really significantly brighter.

Time for us to explain what you have in these new technologies, and what products we can expect in the coming months from all major manufacturers.

Quantum dot technology

Both quantum dots as HDR technologies that make some more detailed explanations. Quantum dots are nanocrystals that transmit light in a very specific way. Depending on the size of the crystals, they change the color of a light source in a specific color, wherein the potential range from purple to red, and all the colors that are in between.

The reason why quantum dots of interest for use in television sets are related to the light source that is used in modern LCD screens. Almost without exception, these are nowadays namely blue LEDs, which have a yellow phosphor to emit as white light. The final coloration of the image is obtained by the white light of the LED lights by transmitting the red, green and blue filters of the LCD panel to go. These filters do exactly what the name says, they filter out all colors, except that part of the light they need to leave. The blue sub-pixel filters, for example, leave all the red and green light path and only the blue part of the white light through. Colors that are not present in the white light of the backlight, however can not be added by the LCD panel.

Now the problem with white LEDs as they are used in backlights, that it does not transmit the entire visible light spectrum, thus automatically, therefore, the available spectrum has limitations that can be displayed by the LCD screen. Quantum dots can help to solve this problem. By unfiltered blue LEDs – which emit only a limited color spectrum – used as backlight and to provide them with red and green quantum dots, lighting creates a very wide color gamut. This is because quantum dots do not work as traditional filters, but the wavelength of the light that they pass through actually adjust. In this way, it is possible to the light of a blue LED, which contains little or no red and green color spectrum, by means of quantum dots still in real red and green light to be converted.

Quantum dots in practice

That’s the theory, more important is of course what that means in practice. Very short, it means that TVs with LED Quantom dot (QD-LED) backlight redder red, green greener and bluer than blue can view with standard white LED technology is possible. The first manufacturer who made use of quantum dots is Sony. Many high-end models of this brand for several years provide a Triluminos display, “which Sony’s marketing name for quantum dot backlights.

The reason that so far only Sony stood in the use of quantum dots is that there was actually no need to apply it. All video footage that we see to this day over the Internet, DVD, Blu-ray and digital television namely make use of a limited space. In most cases make use of the video signals Rec.709 standard for HDTV. The color range is defined by this standard can be easily achieved with standard white LED backlights.

The arrival of 4K ultra hd however, with the introduction of a new standard for video, called Rec.2020. This standard includes several factors, including a significantly greater range of color. To (almost) to provide all the colors within this larger range again, suffice standard white LED backlights no longer, but the use of RGB LEDs or quantum dots is required. Quantum dots here are the best option, as RGB LED backlights are relatively expensive, and in addition, there are differences in the aging process of red, green and blue LEDs, which can lead during the life of a screen to sharp changes in the color reproduction. With quantum dots this problem does not exist. Incidentally, even succeed with quantum dot backlights (yet) to display the full color range Rec.2020 whole again, but it comes close.

When is wide color gamut content?

As mentioned, (almost) all video content now view features images that are encoded according to the Rec.709 standard, with the larger color range is not used. Yet it is already possible to create images with a larger color gamut and viewing. Sony is not alone with her Triluminos televisions, camcorders, but also with her for a long time in the use of a wider color spectrum. Many Sony camcorders support namely the larger xvYCC color space, a feature that Sony calls “xvColor”. It is not that extra color information is stored screens can be displayed by normal Rec.709 while normal screens xvYCC images can indeed show faithfully, albeit without the additional color information. Also, the limited supply of Sony’s ‘Mastered 4K’ Blu-ray movies using xvColor and thus contain more color information than standard Blu-ray discs. For this backward compatibility as possible, xvYCC has however some limitations in terms of range and color resolution so xvYCC will probably not be used in the future.

Trends of TV at CES 2015: 4K, Quantum Dots in HDR

The results obtained clearly that the update of the Blu-ray specification expected late this year, also officially support will provide the larger space of the Rec.2020 standard, in collaboration 10bit color coding. The VP9 codec used by Google for ultra hd video on Youtube now supports the Rec.2020 color, like DivX265 and Avid DNxHD codec. The expectation is that in the course of this year will come that uses content available from this larger color gamut, especially now that television producers en masse about tapping QD-LED technology.

HDR in televisions

HDR is a term we see the increase in recent years, not only in displays, but also in photography. High Dynamic Range is aimed to capture a wider range of brightness levels and viewing. Camera and display technology is inherently limited than human vision at this point. Make your on a sunny day a photo of an interior which also windows with exterior lights are visible, you have to highlight the choice to the interior either good, the light outside the windows is heavily overexposed, or to correct the image by the windows to illuminate visible is correct, resulting in a widely ignored interior. With HDR photography is usually made of several pictures with different exposures, which are combined into one image. To give them on a regular TV or monitor to be removed, however, tricks, because displays have a limited dynamic range. The result is usually an image that is either very weak and without contrast look, or a surrealistic view that bears little resemblance to reality.

Modern digital video cameras, however – even without merging several images with different exposures – often anyway a much greater dynamic range than televisions and monitors. To normal video images to be able to correctly display, the signal is, in many cases, so all “pinched off”, with the result that the image loses impact.

For example, reflections and sunlight coming through a window to invade are hereby not as clear as shown in real. And although HDR scenes absolutely not match the intensity of sunlight, they can show called highlights do much brighter than standard displays without the average brightness of the screen, by definition, is much higher. So it’s not that you have to sit in an HDR display stand sunglasses for television, the extra brightness is purely used to indicate the highlights brighter. There actually is an extra piece of brightness available above what we are used to normal screens.

Of course, here, too, is that which highlights should then be properly processed in the image signal. Would you show a normally non-HDR signal without processing on an HDR display, then you indeed indeed get an image across the board just a lot brighter, in many cases, much too bright for the average living room. Again, the standard Rec.2020 offers yet another solution as it officially supports HDR. The results are images of which the brightness can be equal to what we know today, only then provided with much higher peaks.

No single standard

4K Blu-ray standard offer this year is expected will be support for HDR images, and Netflix has had now know that it will come with HDR material. According to what will happen exactly standard that is not yet clear. There are several parties including Dolby, the BBC, Philips (not TP Vision), Fox Innovation Lab and Technicolor developed each own implementations HDR for televisions or have in development and in addition there is also an Open HDR protocol. It is unclear as yet whether the televisions that are now announced at CES are really compatible with one or more of these standards, and compatibility or later through firmware updates can be added. Buy now a TV with HDR, then unfortunately not quite sure whether it meets the future standard (s) complies.

Panasonic

Panasonic has a difficult year behind. Beginning in 2014 stopped the Japanese brand with providing plasma screens, a segment where it was correct master. Although these screens and image quality very highly regarded, it is also for Panasonic no longer profitable to continue to invest in the relatively expensive while LCD screen technology is becoming cheaper. To fill the gap at the top of its lineup in early 2014 Panasonic introduced the AX800 4K LCD television and later in the year the AX900. Both models yielded good picture quality, but shots especially in terms of black levels shortage, especially in comparison with the plasma models they replaced. That was because Panasonic for both models an IPS LCD panel bets. This type of screen has very good color rendering, leaving almost no color change seen when the screen is viewed at an angle, but black is not a strong point of view IPS LCD panels.

Trends of TV at CES 2015: 4K, Quantum Dots in HDR

2015 Panasonic therefore get onto VA LCD panels. These show significant scoring better black levels, but sacrificing versus IPS displays something in terms of viewing angle. How that will turn out in practice, we can only judge when we can feel the new screens in our test lab to tooth. The CX-series models such as Panasonic showed at CES are intended for the US market and not come to Europe, but we will here get models with similar specifications. So that means we can expect a complete line-up with VA-LCD panels. In the top segment, Panasonic hereby apply full LED backlight with local dimming that (a reduced variant of) HDR rendering will be supported.

Later this year, Panasonic will also also bring its first OLED TV in the market. At the CES was announced that for this year at least a curved 65-inch 4K OLED screen is in the planning.

Firefox OS

Panasonic has in recent years been busy experimenting with its Smart TV platform and despite the fact that it has made good progress, Panasonic’s system was certainly not as good as that of, for example Samsung, LG and Philips. This year Panasonic throws a new bow, with the release of Firefox OS on its high-end models. According to Panasonic, the use of Firefox OS should make it easier for developers to develop apps.

The switch to Firefox OS anyway also means that the interface of the television is adjusted with a “pin” feature that users favorite channels, devices, apps and web pages let fix on the main screen so that they are easily accessible. Another novelty is the ‘Xumo Guide “, a TV guide that promises to bring together content from various sources in order to give good suggestions based on viewing history.

Panasonic promises that 2015 will be the first televisions in March on the market. This will in all likelihood not be immediately top models, expected a little later.

Samsung

Samsung grabbed CES this year to together next to a number of technological improvements, especially to introduce a new marketing name, namely SUHD. For us, this is very unfortunate, because manufacturers already the terms Ultra HD, and 4K UHD used interchangeably and this extra abbreviation it only makes unclear to consumers.

Samsung’s SUHD seems if you look at the name to promise a super version of Ultra HD, but does that in practice only partly true. The SUHD models were shown at CES, just use an LCD panel that has 3840×2160 pixels, just like any other ultra high definition televisions so. But what is new in the SUHD models is the use of quantum dot technology for the backlight, and support for HDR. The latter is made possible by using a full LED backlight with local dimming. According to Samsung, the average brightness of the screens around 600 cd / m² are, while local peaks even go up to 1000 cd / m². Additionally, the new models running on Samsung’s Tizen operating system for smart TV. For Samsung, these changes were apparent reason in to create the term SUHD while other manufacturers that build this year, similar improvements in their televisions there are no new umbrella name linked.

Trends of TV at CES 2015: 4K, Quantum Dots in HDR

Samsung claims that its SUHD screens ’64 times more colors’ can view than conventional TVs. This probably refers to the 10-bit control panel used in these televisions. This is not new, including Sony has long been fencing with 10-bit control for the panels. The advantage is that color gradations are smaller and transitions accurately and without banding “can be displayed. Combined with the extended gamut of the quantum dot backlight – Samsung speaks incidentally themselves ‘nanocrystals’ – that precise control panel is certainly to be welcomed. The screens Samsung at CES showed looked very good in terms of color and also the local dimming feature seems to work very well, because the screens showed very high contrast images.

Something we just did not see at Samsung was OLEDs. Last year, Samsung has decided to discontinue the production of OLED TVs in the refrigerator after it became clear that the race with LG in this field could not win. LG’s WRGB OLED technology in practice to produce significantly cheaper than Samsung’s RGB OLED screens, which Samsung could not sell its first loss OLED TVs. So this year no OLED Samsung, and the message was that the new SUHD LCD screens are so good that you as a consumer actually no OLED need at all. The new JS-series televisions are expected from March. Like last year, the top models in 2015 (unfortunately) just as bent ‘curved’ versions.

Samsung makes up for its 2015 models use a new Smart TV platform. Although its Samsung smart TV services in our opinion very well have on order, with a complete and rapid ecosystem, choose the Korean manufacturer, from a strategic point for a completely new platform to be based on its own Tizen OS. Samsung uses this for its smart watches and certain phones. Tizen for televisions resembles LG webOS. The interface seems to work fast and if in practice as smart fits together like webOS, we see it as a positive step. The practice, however, show whether Samsung this new ecosystem straight away just as quickly and effectively gets filled with apps like the previous one.

Sharp

Sharp left at CES a number THX 4K UHD models look at its booth. In addition, also showed a Sharp ‘Beyond 4K “television which uses Quattron + technology. These include all the pixels of four instead of three subpixels (red, green, blue and yellow), and those pixels are also another vertically split in two. This results in a resolution of 3840×4320 pixels. In practice, the focus of the demo model indeed very good, but big question is why you would want to have such a television. Our test of Sharp’s Quatron + full hd television showed last year that the new subpixel control not only has advantages. Perhaps that Sharp has now solved, but still the question remains, what you have going on in practice. Content with a resolution higher than 4K is still not available for the time being, and as Sharp these screens actually goes on the market, the price will undoubtedly be firm.

The regular TVs that Sharp showed all were intended for the US market. The brand demonstrated include 4K models with THX certification and also quantum dot backlights – Sharp speaks of “Spectroscopy” – and HDR this year available on new TVs from Sharp. But which models and technologies, we can actually expect in Europe is still as in demand.

LG

Where Samsung towel (temporarily) in the ring is thrown when it comes to OLED, LG grabs just brisk. LG last year managed to improve the yields of its WRGB OLED technology strong, so it’s actually commercially viable to bring OLED displays to market. LG showed at CES managed to bring this year at seven missed OLED TVs on the market. From March, we can expect the first 2015 models are actually in the stores where the 4K EG960V in 55 and 65 inches the striker will bite. These models have curved downward (invisible) speakers. For those who would prefer that, there are also 55 and 65-inch models with a flat screen EF950V model series. These devices also have downward facing speakers and feature a quad-core processor.

The top model is the EG990V, a 77-inch 4K OLED model that can be used for both flat and curved. With the press of a button changes the ‘bendable’ television namely shape. The TV also has a new kind of anti-glare filter and a 10-core procossor. See you do not sit around flexible TV, LG also offers the EG970V normal curved 77-inch model.

The latest OLED model that was announced at CES is the EG980V ‘Art Slim Unibody. This 65 inch TV also features fast 10-core processor and comes with a remote Harman Kardon soundbar.

All new models use webOS 2.0, an improvement of LG’s webOS operating system introduced last year. Our criticism of the first version – the inertia of the system – should now be resolved. Not only thanks to faster processors in the 2015 models, but also by optimizing the software itself.

All new Ultra HD models also include support for both h.265 as VP9 so that Youtube ultra HD material in full quality can be viewed. HDR is, moreover, not supported by the new OLED models, but LG is working on OLED screens that should be suitable.

Obviously LG remains simply by developing the field of LCD televisions, as OLED set only for the high end (price) segment is appropriate. LG also showed a completely new lineup with IPS LCD pinion see. In topmoddellen we find in LG Quantum Dot backlights and support for HDR back, while some other models’ Wide Color LED backlights use, which LG a 20% wider color range than we are accustomed to Rec.709 promises. Here is exactly what the practical usefulness of eludes us still: it is too big for kleurbreik Rec.709, but on the other hand, it is much too small for the Rec.2020 color range.

Sony

Where other brands apply this year for the first quantum dots to achieve a wider color range, Sony has been doing this for several years with her “Triluminos’ screens. Until now, incidentally, without you there if consumers had a lot of benefit, as we reported earlier in this article is video content with a large color gamut hardly available. This year, there change coming and of course Sony also makes its 2015 models therefore again use backlights with quantum dot technology. Sony reportedly makes these backlights this year for the first time itself, so far bought the technology at QD Vision, a specialist in the field of quantum dot technology.

Trends of TV at CES 2015: 4K, Quantum Dots in HDR

In its new televisions Sony is certainly managed to make the whole of the LCD panel and backlight very thin. The new X9005C becomes available in 55 and 65 inches and has a thickness of only 4.9 mm, thinner than a pencil so. This thickness does not apply to the entire screen at the bottom is thicker because the device also controlling, tuners, speakers and connectors are built.

X9005C which is, moreover, only one of the ultra-high definition models that introduces Sony. Of course, the TV has a quantum dot backlight, but HDR is not supported by the X9005C. Which function we have found in the X9305C (55 and 75 inches) and the 75-inch X9405C. These two models are less sparse than the X9005C, but they have good quality speakers with support for high-res audio, and according to Sony should also offer something better motion compensation for smoother image reproduction. None of the models that Sony showed at CES was curved, but Sony may come later this year yet so we understand with a new curved model.

Under the new X9 series we find three models X8, also all include a 4K panel and Sony’s latest processor X1. This processor promises optimization of color, contrast, brightness, combined with increased dynamic range and excellent Sony’s 4K X-Reality Pro image processing. According to the specifications makes X8305C, which will be available in 43 and 49 inches, use a regular LED backlight, while the X8505C (55, 65 and 75 inches) on quantum dots possess. Sony’s X-tended Dynamic Range function we find, however, only returned to the X9 series. All models support both h.265 as VP9.

All new 4K Ultra HD models use the Android TV and smart TV platform. As far as we have seen Sony uses a default implementation of Android TV and is its own Smart TV platform that was used up to now completely disappeared. Here, however, can still be changed, because the software on the demo models clearly was not ready.

Among the X8 and X9 series ultra hd televisions Sony also comes with three series full HD models, namely the R5, W7 and W8. The W7 and W8 series hereby also use the Android TV smart TV platform. All full hd televisions are equipped with normal backlights without HDR. The image sizes range from 32 to 75 inches.

Philips

TP Vision, the company that manufactures today Philips television for a large part of the world, was also present at the CES, despite the fact that it is precisely for America has no license to perform the Philips brand name. TP Vision still showed no new model series, but made clear explained what direction the company will. OLED stands – despite reports of opposite nature – temporarily shelved. TP Vision recently showed us during a visit to its development center in Ghent in Belgium, although an OLED TV that looked ready for production, but TP Vision will find the brightness of OLED screens temporarily not good enough to actually start it.

Where TP Vision / Philips this year certainly will indeed come along, are televisions with HDR. Demo Stations at CES and earlier in Ghent showed that TP Vision now several TVs with a wide dynamic range is working. Conversations with the engineers is to teach us that TP Vision but with the lack of clarity around standardization in the stomach. Technically, the screens according to TP Vision can handle multiple standards, including Dolby Vision and HDR system from Philips, but the question is still what standard practice in the screens will be implemented.

Philips let us know that its 2015 models will have built-in decoders for h.265 and VP9. Philips last year was the only manufacturer that no h.265 decoders inbouwde in her ultra hd televisions, with the result that Netflix ultra HD videos could not be viewed. The 2015 models will thus be able to, and thanks also for VP9 Youtube 4K.

Also on the software side will change a few things at Philips. In addition to Philips’ own Smart TV platform, the new 2015 TVs also use an official implementation of Android TV based on Android 5. 2014 Android TVs Philips still made using a proprietary implementation based on Android 4.

Сonclusion

The TV news from CES this year was dominated by two themes: wide color gamut and HDR. All manufacturers showed LCD models with quantum dot LED backlights which enable a wider color range. For now have as a consumer you have not much to it, but with the advent of 4K Blu-ray later this year and expected support from streaming services like YouTube and Netflix, there may soon change. The same applies to HDR, or High Dynamic Range. Also currently for which no support within existing video standards, but again will 4K Blu-ray and streaming services make possible here all year change. Big problem with HDR is that there are several preliminary standards, and is not yet clear what will be used in practice.

We also see that curved at many manufacturers remains a priority. Especially Samsung, but to a lesser extent LG places great emphasis on curved and Panasonic will launch this year a curved OLED TV on the market. Sony did not, however, see some curved television and Sharp and Philips watching the cat out of the tree.

The battle for OLED finally seems provisionally ruled in favor of LG. Now Samsung has withdrawn LG has the playing field to themselves, and they seem to want to make good use of. The Korean manufacturer showed seven new models all have to be active this year on the market. It is there for all tastes: flat, curved, flexible, full HD and Ultra HD. Like all other models that were shown at CES, it is for now only just guess at the price tags.

Trends of TV at CES 2015: 4K, Quantum Dots in HDR updated: January 18, 2015 author: John Malkovich