The gem of the commercial tech community, the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show showcased new and exciting television technology.
One feature making huge strides this year is OLED lighting. LED TVs were big for the past few years, and OLED is a vast improvement on that technology. These TVs have a higher energy efficiency and lower profile than LED TVs. OLED TVs are much smaller than their older counterparts, with a 17 pound 55-inch OLED TV showcased at CES.
HDTV is no longer the standard for crisp, clear images. 4K TVs quadruple the number of pixels of the standard high definition TV. While an HD 1080p TV has a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, 4K TVs have a resolution of 4,096 x 2,160. A prototype of an 8K TV unveiled at CES doubles the resolution of the 4K technology, however, while 4K TVs are set to debut in stores in late 2012, the 8K is not yet in production.
With OLED and 4K technology the emphasis is on large, lightweight television sets (like an 84-inch 4K TV), but there is also a focus on small, tablet-style TVs that can be easily moved around the home. They are much larger than a tablet, ranging from 20 to 60 inch models. These portable TVs will continue to grow in popularity as wireless cable and satellite service expands.
3D was not as big this year as it had been in the past, but there were a few huge technology jumps at CES. One TV touts 3D without glasses. In order to compensate for the position of the viewer, the TV has a built-in camera that optimizes the 3D picture for whatever angle the viewer is at. Unfortunately, the TV can’t track more than one person at a time. Hosting 3D glasses-free Super Bowl parties is still a dream for the time being.
One TV takes 3D technology and splits it for multiple viewers. A television from LG utilizing “Dual Play” technology allows two people viewing the same television to see two different 2D images. This is being mainly marketed to video gamers. This TV will allow gamers to play in the same world without a split screen, and will also allow viewers to watch two different shows at the same time. LG Dual Play TV
Other television upgrades include Gorilla Glass, a scratch-resistant, crack-resistant glass currently in use in the iPad 2 and Kindle Fire. TV makers are also thinning the bezels around the perimeter of the screens down to 1mm.
Even remote controls are being redesigned, with many Nintendo Wii-esque controllers being unveiled. Also, a line of TVs will respond to voice commands and be able to recognize users’ faces (useful in managing parental controls and personal preferences). These TVs will also run Netflix and other video applications directly within the TV.
What is next? Haptic response rigs that will allow the viewer to “feel” their environment? Curved TVs to fully immerse one’s field of view? One thing’s for sure, television manufacturers will continue to expand the capabilities of TV technology.