Latest Developments in TV Technology
It sounds just like yesterday when 4K TVs were “the thing” to own in the house. Now, they are already so last year. They are rapidly dropping in price, and naturally, the TV manufacturers need something new and exciting to sell their top of the range flagship televisions. Thankfully, there is no dearth of options for them. There is just so much technology just waiting to hit the consumers that the manufacturers simply have to choose which ones they will bestow their grace upon. Here is a list of some of the coolest advancements in TV technology to watch for this year.
No, we are not referring to some futuristic standard that will one day be made possible. 8K is right here, right now. Sharp has just released the world’s first 8K television recently. At 8K, or as it is more commonly known, Full Ultra HD, provides an amazing resolution of 7680 X 4320 pixels. That’s roughly 38 million pixels on a single screen, which is about four times the resolution of 4K TVs.
Earlier this year, experts observed that for an average person to be able to differentiate between the picture quality of 4K and 8K resolutions, the TVs should be at least 77 inches wide. Sharp clearly took this as a challenge, and its new 8K television is a massive 85 inch in size. But, don’t go running off to buy this one yet. Right now it costs a fortune at $133,000 and may not be worth the price tag for home use. You see, there aren’t any 8K programs to watch in the market yet. Frankly speaking, the content publishers and broadcasters are still catching up with the 4K technology, and it will be some time before 8K becomes a mainstream tech..
High Dynamic Range (HDR)
The most important aspect of a TV is its ability to produce good contrasts. HDR technology is able to produce brighter whites and darker blacks than is possible by the present TVs. This is possible because the HDR technology is able to command a significantly wider range of colors for producing high quality pictures. The technology also makes use of local dimming techniques, which provide a high contrast ratio. The results are stunning – whites that are brighter than LED and OLED TVs, and blacks that are much closer to pitch black.
Just because the technology is great, it doesn’t mean that the manufacturers are going to make our life any easier. Driven by their cutthroat competition, they are giving this technology their own fancy names – Wide Color LED (LG), Dynamic Range Remaster (Panasonic), and so on. Although these are nothing more than marketing stunts, the technology they all refer to is still the same. However, there is no industry standard agreed upon by the manufacturers on HDR so far. So, it will be some time before an HDR TV hits the shelves near your home. Till then, take comfort in the knowledge that Warner Bros. and Dolby have together released 3 HDR movies this year – Edge of Tomorrow, Lego Movie, and Into the Storm.
Quantum Dots (QD)
Quantum dots sound less tech and more marketing. Well, they are a marketing tactic for sure, but that is not all they are. What the TV manufacturers are referring to as quantum dots, are basically small nano- size particles, which produce light of a particular color, when bombarded with energy, such as a light source. You see, in traditional LCD TVs, white LEDs produce the light, which is then shone upon blue color filters. This produces a wide, unfocused light, which cannot be used to create rich colors. On the other hand, when light from blue LEDs is shone upon quantum dots, they produce very specific lights in accordance with their size. The result is an immensely improved contrast ratio and color saturation.
QD is not exactly a 2015 invention. Sony had released a QD TV as far back as 2013 itself. However, other manufacturers, including Samsung, have taken a shine to this technology only recently, and it is becoming a hit now. Of course, Samsung had to give it their own name. They are calling their TVs equipped with this technology as SUHD TVs. The funny part is that the “S”, according to Samsung, does not even stand for anything at all. However, the “UHD” refers to the Ultra HD, or 4K technology. Whatever be the name, Samsung is quite bullish on this technology and intends to compete with LG’s OLED TVs head on sailing on it. Speaking about OLED TVs, they are dropping in price pretty fast, and are proving to be more reliable than before. QD surely has a tough competition ahead, since OLEDs clearly produce much better quality pictures.
What! Is this some Star Wars futuristic thingy? No, this is nothing like that. As explained above, LCD TVs make use of light from white LEDs and blue color filters to produce colors that are not so great. Two TV manufacturers, Philips and Hisense, are addressing this issue in their own way by making use of lasers. Instead of white LEDs, they are using red lasers, and cyan LEDs to shine light on red, blue and green color filters. This technique, they claim, produces remarkably better quality colors and pictures, than what is seen on any LCD TVs so far. This is not all theory either. Philips has already released a TV embedded with this technology, and the picture quality on this 4K TV is something to behold.
Gesture Control TVs
Microsoft admittedly blew everyone’s mind when it released Kinect with its Xbox One. Although not many game developers have made use of the technology, there is no denying its awesomeness. Now PrimeSense, the company that is the brains behind the gesture control for Kinect, is bringing gesture control technology to televisions. Before Apple bought PrimeSense, the company had plans to release a TV equipped with gesture control technology. Well, now Apple has other plans for it.
Apple will be releasing the gesture control technology of PrimeSense either on its upcoming set-top- boxes, or on a new television set itself. Only time will tell. Imagine being able to flick through the channels, swipe to select shows, and raising or lowering your hand to control volume. All of this will soon be possible. Will that mark the end of the era of remote controls? Let’s wait and see.