Earlier in January, electronics brands brought out the big guns for their new TV announcements at CES. They also brought out a whole lot of new TV technologies with technical terms and acronyms.
Even well-known terms like OLED and QLED are getting an upgrade this year, which makes choosing between all these different TVs that much harder.
If you don’t understand what all these new TV terms mean, you’re not alone. But never fear because Gizmodo has got you covered. We spoke to a number of product specialists in Australia to find out exactly what these new technologies are all about.
You may know LG for its OLED panels. The main attraction of an OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) is that they eliminate the need for a backlight.
Many TVs require the use of edge or backlights to create images but OLED uses self-lit pixels which have the ability to turn on and off where required. This allows OLED TVs to create perfect blacks because they don’t have a backlight that’s constantly switched on.
LG is continuing its range of OLED TVs in 2021 with the new C1 lineup in a wider array of sizes, which will build upon its already excellent CX range.
But further to this is the introduction of OLED Evo to the G1 Gallery TV, which is a new OLED manufacturing process that delivers brighter and sharper colours on screen. This panel has been redesigned with an extra layer and an optimised structure to refine light wavelengths. Long story short, it means the picture quality is brighter and clearer.
One of the few shortcomings of OLED TVs is that they can sometimes appear too dark, but OLED Evo looks to change all that.
NanoCell technology isn’t new to LG, it was introduced into its UHD TVs back in 2017. But there will be yet another range hitting the market in 2021, so here’s the rundown.
“NanoCell is LG’s premium LED/LCD enhancement technology that employs nano meter-sized particles that absorb unwanted light wavelengths and enhances the purity of the red and green colours displayed on the screen to create purer and cleaner colours,” Tony Brown, Marketing Manager of Home Entertainment at LG Electronics Australia, told Gizmodo Australia.
“The result is an enhanced picture with more accurate colour reproduction.”
QNED Mini LED
QNED is a name that is specific to LG. It’s basically a shorthand for a combination of Quantum Dot and NanoCell technology. When it comes to Mini LED this is a technology that essentially shrinks the TV’s light source with a huge amount of tiny lights.
“The smaller size allows manufacturers to pack more LEDs in the same TV screen size for increased brightness compared to regular LCD TVs,” Brown explained. “Also, having more dimming zones allows for more precise control of that brightness. As such, a Mini LED TV can achieve deeper blacks and a higher contrast ratio than other types of LED TV.”
QNED also has the advantage of combining this Mini LED light technology with the aforementioned NanoCell technology to create great colours and precise contrast.
Samsung is well known for its QLED TVs, which, for the record, stand for Quantum Dot Light Emitting Diode. Quantum Dot is basically the best colour technology on the market. But Samsung is enhancing this in 2021 with its new Neo QLED TVs.
Himal Jekishan, Head of Product AV at Samsung Australia, explained that Neo QLED essentially reduces the average button-sized LED to be 14 times smaller. This allows for a higher number of lights and more precise light control.
What’s exclusive about Samsung’s Neo QLED is an extra micro-layer that brings improved black levels, purer colours and a brighter screen all at once. This also allows the TVs to be slimmer at 15-25mm and basically bezel-less with an infinity display.
Similar in concept to Mini-LED, Micro-LED TVs were first introduced in the Samsung range with ‘The Wall’. Remember that very big 146-inch TV that was introduced in 2018? Well, it’s back but in more reasonable sizes.
A Micro LED TV uses non-organic LEDs for precise control of each individual pixel. Jekishan said Micro LED technology allows for infinite colour possibilities in every single pixel. Because these TVs have no backlights it also means there are also no boundaries on brightness or black levels.
Pixels in a Micro LED are arranged into clusters and modules which make up the screen, but also give a larger variety of screen ratios and sizes. So you won’t have to fork out for The Wall if you want a Micro-LED in your home.
To add another acronym to the mix, Hisense uses ULED when describing its premium range of televisions.
Chris Mayer, Hisense’s National Retail Training Manager and product specialist, said that for a Hisense TV to hold the ULED label it needs to have these four essentials: Quantum dot colour, Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision and full-array local dimming at minimum.
You’ll also find Hisense ULED Mini-LED TVs on the market this year which swap out full-array local dimming for Mini-LED technology which, as said before, uses many tiny lights for more precise colour, brightness and picture.
Hisense is also launching its first 8K TV in Australia this year with the U80G — but more on 8K TVs later.
The main headline of Sony’s 2021 TVs is the new Cognitive Processor XR for the Bravia range. Head of TV for Sony ANZ, Aki Hosoda, described the new processor as working in a similar way to our brains: “The Cognitive Processor XR understands how humans see and hear, enhancing both picture and sound, to provide a whole new experience that immerses you completely in the scene.”
“When we see something in real life, our eyes don’t focus on everything at once, but only on the object we want to see at the time. The Cognitive Processor XR works in the same way, detecting the main focal point in the scene and by enhancing each detail in the object, ensuring that it stands out with a natural sense of depth and texture,” Hosada told Gizmodo Australia in a statement.
This new processor also focuses on creating 3D sound by positioning audio both horizontally and vertically and upconverting to 5.1.2 surround sound.
Sony’s Master Series
Two of the Sony TVs hitting Australia this year are the Z9J and A90J which are both part of the new Master series. So what’s so great about these TVs?
“The name Master Series came from our master monitors, the Sony professional displays that are used to colour grade productions such as movies and TV shows,” Hosada said. “As such, these units needed to be colour calibrated with the emphasis placed on colour and contrast accuracy. The goal was to produce a TV that could convey the creators intent, the colours, contrast, clarity and motion of the original mastered content in your own living room.
“To reach this goal, Sony uses the highest quality components for the Master Series. All Master Series TVs are colour calibrated at the factory to ensure the absolute best, most accurate colours and contrast are consistently produced.”
There’s been a lot of emphasis on 8K TVs this year with nearly every TV brand featuring at least one new product in the 8K range.
Simply put, 8K is double the resolution and number of pixels of 4K, and is currently the highest possible resolution on the market. However, something to remember is that there isn’t currently a lot of 8K content going around.
This shouldn’t stop you from picking up an 8K TV as most of these new products feature powerful 4K to 8K upscaling. But you should think of it more as future-proofing for when 8K content is more readily available and our bandwidth in Australia can actually handle it.
Until then, an 8K TV can easily handle your 4K needs.