Top 5 TV Trends, We Expect at CES 2017

One of the great things about the annual Consumer Electronics Show is that it helps the expectations for the technology that you will see in the coming year. At CES in 2017, which will start on 5 January in Las Vegas, we do not expect a blockbuster TV announcements, but we think that we see a number of developments, which keeps the year interesting.

Here are the details on the top TV trends that we expect.

1. High Dynamic Range (HDR) Is Everywhere

Ultra-hd-Tv’s move to the mainstream in 2016. All but the least expensive larger screen sets with 4K resolution, another term for UHD. And you didn’t have to pay much more for.

In 2017, we think high dynamic range (HDR) will have the greatest interest, although it may be difficult for consumers to understand exactly what they get.

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“The technology is good, when they showed understanding and the consumer is well-informed on HDR in terms of the compatibility of the content and the performance cues to look for,” says Paul Gagnon, director of TV-sets research at IHS Markit, a data and market analysis company. “But there is a lot of difference in terms of how manufacturers implement HDR. It is all over the map.”

HDR is about the improvement of the contrast between the dark and bright parts of a scene. It is also about the ability to have intense highlights, that videophiles call specular highlights, such as the glint of sun from a metallic object, and the provision of more rich, vivid colors.

To achieve these effects, top-performing Tvs with HDR are lighter than the regular sets, but HDR is not only about increasing a TV’s overall brightness. Instead, it’s about being able to provide the necessary higher levels of the maximum brightness when the scene calls for it.

The problem for the consumer in 2017 will determine the level of HDR, each TELEVISION is capable of producing. That’s because there are more sets to be placed on the market as “HDR-compatible,” meaning that they can accept content that is created in HDR.

But all of the HDR-compatible sets are not equal. Many less-expensive sets do not have the hardware to really show off HDR to its full effect. These Tv’s can read the HDR metadata, and they will do their best to map the contents of the TV capabilities. But much lower – and even mid-priced sets, not the brightness, black levels, or video processing to a truly dramatic HDR effect.

“There are companies that are focused on HDR,” says Gagnon. “And there are companies looking for the HDR logo and throws it on the set somewhere without doing an improvement of the product, in the hope to confuse consumers and get a premium for a lower price of the product.”

To resolve this problem, the GALAXY Alliance this year developed an “Ultra HD” certification and logo of the program, so would the consumers have confidence, they had a top-performing UHD-TV. But only a few companies, particularly LG and Samsung, have made use of the program. Others, including Sony and Vizio, not, that softens the impact.

2. Dolby Vision Gains Traction

In 2016, the Dolby Vision HDR took a back seat to HDR10, which acts as the basic standard for HDR. Every 4K TV with HDR option supports HDR10, but only two major TV brands—LG and Vizio—support for Dolby Vision, basically Dolby’s version of HDR. And while a few streaming services, including Amazon and Netflix, offer some of the Dolby Vision content, there are no Dolby Vision enabled Ultra HD 4K Blu-ray players.

“Manufacturers seem to be taking a wait-and-see,” says Gagnon.

But at CES, we expect to hear about multiple TV brands with support for Dolby Vision HDR, and to see the first Dolby Vision-suitable for Ultra HD, Blu-ray players on the market this spring.

Gangon notes that one of the challenges for Dolby Vision is educating consumers to ensure that every link in the chain—the content, the source and the television are compatible. “That’s incredibly confusing for the consumer today.”

A way of Dolby Vision can get a big boost in 2017 of a new crop of 4K-Roku-Tvs that include the Dolby Vision HDR. At CES in 2017, we think we see the first HDR-enabled 4K Roku Tv’s which both HDR10 and Dolby Vision. The likely suspects of TV brands such as Hisense, Insignia, JVC, and TCL, all of which offered Roku Tv’s in the past.

If these brands do launch Dolby Vision-equipped Tv’s, a benefit for consumers is that the content creators and streaming service providers a greater incentive to offer Dolby Vision content this year.

3. LCD Tv’s Try to get More OLED-Like

For the past two years, LG’s OLED Tv’s dominate the top slots in our TV ratings, although the gap between OLED Tvs and best LCD Tvs continues to narrow.

At CES in 2017, we expect companies continue to the limits of LCD TV technology to bring them closer to OLED TV performance.

“This year was a good example of how well the LCD monitor can be,” says Gagnon. “The LCD camp continues to innovate. They improve the performance and bring prices down.”

In fact, last week the reports in the Korean press suggested that Samsung was on the way to the CES in 2017 with a new quantum-dot technology would not only be lighter, better colors, but also help improve black levels, a LCD-TV of weakness. Samsung just want to say that we are more on the CES.

Sony introduces a new Z-series of flagship LCD Tvs that use an innovative backlight technology called Backlight Master Station. What makes this technology different is that, in Sony’s system, each one of the Leds in the backlight can be controlled—meaning grey—separately. In other LCD-based Tvs, Leds are classified into a number of zones that can be dimmed or illuminated.

“There were sets out there this year, and I think in particular of the Sony Z9, which showed that if you go to the cost of the inclusion of that many LED zones, and that much brightness output, you could actually approach some of the main advantages of OLED,” says Gagnon.

But there is an even newer technology on the horizon: Tv programs that make use of self-illuminated Led’s can give off their own light, so a separate backlight is not longer necessary. This would be a LED TV work, such as OLED TVS, where each pixel in the TV can be turned on and off individually.

At the beginning of this year we reported that Samsung was working on this type of LED technology, which earned it the nickname “QLED.” There are also reports that Panasonic also with the development of this kind of technology, though it was not clear whether it was looking to use it on consumer Tv’s or just commercial displays.

4. Chinese TV Brands Continue Their Movement

Chinese TV manufacturers are coming around the world for several years. According to research group IHS Technology, both Hisense—who will control the Sharp TV brand in the united states between January 6 and TCL are now among the world’s top 10 LCD TV brands, trailing only Samsung, LG and Sony. Their shares of the U.S. market is expected to rise again in 2017.

“We have heard directly from Hisense at CES in 2016 that their goal was to get a top three brand in the U.S. market within a few years,” says Gagnon. “That’s a pretty bold goal. That means that the replacement of companies such as Sony or LG in the brand hierarchy. How do they do that? It is difficult to define.”

He adds that, although the company has a license of the Sharp brand, Hisense has actually seen more growth in value-priced Tvs bearing its own name.

Of the two, Hisense is the more aggressive from a technical standpoint, the use of quantum dots in its flagship “ULED” Tv’s. At the CES, we expect the company to show off the new Hisense and Sharp-branded Tv.

TCL may have similar ambitions, but it is not yet been able to pull it off, at least here in the US Last year showed off a high-end flagship model, called the X1 the recommended quantum dots, plus support for Dolby Vision HDR but it never really delivered in the united states, But, as the Hisense, TCL keeps a CES 2017 press conference.

5. LG, the Company May in the OLED TV Market

There are a few rumors that a major Japanese brand would show an OLED behind the scenes at the CES this year, for the introduction later this year. We also think that it is possible that a Chinese brand can also be a kind of motion, but to be honest, we think it’s more likely to be in late 2018/early 2019 time frame than this year.

Gangon notes that LG is selling the panels at a number of manufacturers worldwide, and that could be a key to deeper penetration of the AMERICAN market.

There is not much debate that the OLED Tv’s look great. But what is not yet clear if that brilliant image quality will be enough.

“OLED is here to stay?” says Gagnon. “Sometimes even the best performers can’t overcome the economic benefit of its competitors. That is the reason why plasma is dead.”

Copyright © 2005-2016 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. No reproduction, in whole or in part, without written permission. Consumer Reports has no relationship with any advertisers on this site.

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