Mini-LED, Micro-LED, HDMI 2.1 and IA, what do our next televisions promise?

Despite a very special edition, online only, TV manufacturers have not shied away from CES 2021, the annual high mass of technology, quite the contrary.
Unlike the two previous editions, which are relatively poor in technological innovations, CES 2021 already appears to be a highlight for the television industry.
Indeed, between the arrival of a new promising technology, the micro-LED, the large-scale deployment of the mini-LED and the software improvements of the various interfaces, in particular on the gaming part, the 2021 vintage looks very promising. . In order to have an overview of the TV news on this CES, we offer you a review of the main announcements of the past week.

The major trend: the comeback of the LCD (in mini-LED)

This is the major announcement at LG, TCL, Hisense and, to a lesser extent, Samsung, the LCD will experience a new life thanks to mini-LED lighting technology.
Whether it is the NEO QLED range at Samsung, QNED at LG or OD-Zero at TCL, it is actually the same thing, that is to say a new lighting panel made up of mini LED and which equips either QLED TVs at Samsung and TCL, or Nanocells at LG, in both cases, these are technologies applied to LCD panels.

Read also : is mini-LED the technology of the future for TVs?

The mini-LED is not a new display technology but another way of managing the lighting of a panel. Usually, these are illuminated by panels containing a few hundred diodes distributed over a maximum of 480 zones.
The mini-LED implies an extreme miniaturization of these LEDs which makes it possible to place a lot more on a panel (LG speaks of 30,000 diodes on its top-of-the-range model) and to cover significantly more zones (2,500 zones of dimming on the same 83-inch QNED model).
In addition to achieving a better level of brightness and contrast (which should mechanically improve the image quality), the other advantage of the technology is to reduce the space required between the constituent panels of the television and therefore to result in TVs, thinner, as for the OLED.

The mini-LED is therefore the strongest trend in the TV market this year. But it still has some gray areas.
On the one hand, it will be necessary to verify the real contributions of the lighting technology on the image quality and to see if the difference is reduced compared to the OLED.
Finally, for the moment, none of the three manufacturers concerned has disclosed its prices. Here too the differences with the OLED models will be analyzed. On these two points, we will probably have to wait for the beginning of spring, the date of marketing of the first models but also that of their arrival in our lab.

The techno that imposes it: the micro-LED from Samsung finally in store

For three years now, each high-tech show has been an opportunity for Samsung to showcase its huge micro-LED screen, soberly called “The Wall”.
If the first copies were sold last year for very wealthy and particularly discreet customers, the arrival of a more “affordable” version sold in stores was not really on the agenda.
It is therefore a surprise to see Samsung announce the arrival of two micro-LED models on the market. These giant 110 and 99-inch TVs are not yet known in detail, but the little information available on their technical sheet suggests high performance.
Indeed, Samsung indicates that they will have 24 million diodes capable of reaching a light peak of 2000 nits.

Read also : Micro LED: all about the TV technology of the future according to Samsung

Like the mini-LED, the micro-LED goes through the miniaturization of existing technologies, but, here, it is no longer simply a question of reducing the size of the diodes that illuminate the panel. The LEDs of the micro-LED are self-emissive, which means that there is simply no need for a lighting mechanism, like on the OLED.
Finally, the other major property is the modularity of these micro-LED panels. On The Wall, for example, it is possible to add modules or remove them to vary the diagonal as desired.
This option will not be available on commercial models but it is interesting to note that televisions will be folded in half in their box to reduce their size.
Finally, if we do not yet have exact prices for these two models, it is already possible to think that they will not be accessible to all budgets. With an estimated price of 1,000 euros per inch, Samsung’s micro-LEDs will be priced at more than 100,000 euros.

Samsung The Wall

Software news: goodbye Android TV, hello Google TV

At Sony and TCL in particular, Android TV is a thing of the past. The two Mountain View partner brands on the interface part have switched (as planned) to Google TV. The new OS for connected televisions offers new navigation, but also and above all more “curation”, that is to say content suggestions according to the tastes of its users.

Obviously, not all manufacturers use Google’s solution. If at Panasonic, we decided to be satisfied with the very old MyHomeScreen, the response at LG was not long in coming with a new version of Web OS, 6.0.
Here too, suggestions are in the spotlight, but not only. A new option allows, for example, to harmonize the sound level between the different sources connected to the television. Unfortunately, LG is not used to making new versions of its OS backward compatible. It is therefore a safe bet that this version 6.0 is reserved only for the new QNEDs and other OLEDs of 2021.

Favorite: gaming in the spotlight, HDMI 2.1 everywhere

What was a criterion of excellence last year has become an essential prerequisite this year, if only to be truly compatible with the PS5 and the Xbox Series X. Now, whether at Panasonic, LG, Samsung or again TCL, the HDMI 2.1 standard is present everywhere … with some variations all the same.
Indeed, if the majority of models are equipped, the number of HDMI 2.1 compatible ports varies depending on the manufacturer and the price of the television. At Sony, for example, the most high-end models such as the Z9J have three compatible outputs against two for more affordable TVs like the XJ90.
On the other hand, Sony risks paying a lot with gamers for a choice that remains incomprehensible. Indeed, despite the addition of HDMI 2.1 outputs, the brand’s new televisions are still not compatible with VRR technology.

On the LG side, we (once again) paid particular attention to the gaming part. On most models and especially on all OLEDs except the A series, there are four HDMI 2.1 ports.
But that’s not all, FreeSync and G-Sync compatibilities are back as is a built-in Stadia app by default.
Finally, the new game mode has been completely redesigned. The « Game Optimizer » now allows you to choose profiles according to the type of game (RTS, RPG, etc.) and to choose precisely the options to activate or deactivate to play on theinput lag.

At Samsung also a new very complete game mode is appearing. In addition to these functions, it allows you to adjust the image ratio and even move it over several levels of the screen.

The disappointment: Panasonic and the JZ2000

Years go by and look the same for Panasonic and its high-end television. Without a doubt the JZ200 will undoubtedly be an excellent model, like the GZ2000 and the HZ2000 in their day. This is the result of the excellent calibration work of its engineers but that will not prevent the television from being always so frustrating to use.
Indeed, if the Japanese brand clings to the technical aspect and presents a very well endowed model, the software part suffers cruelly with the OS MyHomeScreen, which seems more and more exceeded by the competition. It is all the more unfortunate that on the technical aspect the dual compatibility HDR10 + Adaptive and Dolby Vision IQ, as well as the new gaming mode, are weighty arguments.

Technology gone unnoticed: OLED

As usual, LG is setting the tone when it comes to OLED. Because if this panel technology exists at Sony or even Panasonic, it is indeed LG Display factories that all production comes from.
The Korean manufacturer has therefore unveiled its new generation of OLED TV, a range called “Neo” and which promises to be much brighter, thus erasing one of the natural weaknesses of the technology.

However, whether at LG or at Sony, the panel will not be sufficient on its own and the two players have resorted to the same solution to make the most of it: a new processor.
The fourth generation Alpha 9 in the Korean would be able to analyze in real time the most complex areas of each scene and would act accordingly to sublimate them.
As for Sony, the Cognitive Processor XR gives its name to the entire XR range and promises even more action, based on cognitive intelligence.
Concretely, the manufacturer explains that his AI is able to determine, on each scene, the focal point, that is to say where the human gaze will land first. Therefore, the television adapts its settings to magnify this particular area.

Tech to watch: artificial intelligence for sound

If the image is their priority, the television manufacturers do not forget the audio part. It was not revolutionized by the announcements of this CES 2021 but a trend seems to be emerging and it deserves our attention.
Indeed, several manufacturers including LG and Sony have announced changes to the way audio is handled on their models.

In both cases, it is their new processor that will be involved and each time with a dose of AI.
At LG, for example, AI Sound Pro technology would automatically convert the classic audio signal to 5.1.2 virtually.
On the Samsung side, we insist on spatialization in the image with OTS (object tracking sound) which reproduces the movements on the screen for the ear.
Finally, at Sony, the Bravia XR button also concerns the audio part, whether on LCD models or on the OLED, where the Acoustic Surface is part of the promises. The goal for the Japanese manufacturer is to simulate a less artificial audio spatialization than what the current models offer. On sound, as on images, laboratory tests will be essential to judge the relevance of these technologies.

Source: Flux toutes les actualités – 01net by

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