2018 Innovations in TV Screens
2018: What Will Be New in TV Displays?
The last ten years have seen dramatic innovation in TV screens. We don’t expect the pace of technical improvement to slow down anytime soon- in fact it’s likely to accelerate for a few years. So what can we expect of new TV displays in 2018?
Most of the 2018 improvements in video displays are likely to be incremental, merely building on radical technical leaps of the past. Very few are likely to be completely new to the consumer market.
Here are a few of the most important developments we can expect to see in the new year:
HDMI 2.1 Cables
The humble HDMI cable doesn’t get much respect. It can be a critical factor, though, in the quality of your TV’s picture and sound.
The new HDMI 2.1 specs were decided only in November 2017, which leaves an excruciatingly tight window of time for manufacturers to build 2018-model TV sets or other devices that will comply with it. Few manufacturers will offer models compliant with the new standard early in the year.
It’s nothing you need to worry about immediately. The HDMI 2.1 spec is greatly future-proofed. Some of its capabilities, such as handling 8K resolution and much higher frame rates, won’t be available in consumer TV for several years. A TV set you buy in 2018 will be able to handle the best available content for several years.
Emissive Quantum Dots
QLED TV sets show promise. They fall short of the overall picture quality of OLED, though, lagging in contrast and refresh rates.
This may be about to change. Some experts are placing great hope in emissive quantum dots. EQD sets are expected to be the “true QLED” that video buffs have anticipated for years.
With EQD, tiny quantum dots actually emit light instead of merely enhancing LCD backlight. They could also match or exceed OLED’s “infinite” contrast ratio, with far lower power consumption, and with a wider and more intense color gamut.
4K & HDR Everywhere
Almost all manufacturers will release 4k and HDR sets in the new year. Both specs were developed at least two years ago, but are difficult to build into TV screens. Also, very little programming has been available in either format, because they require new cameras and editing tools.
That will change in the new year. Almost all new TV sets will be compatible with both formats, and studios are beginning to produce a wide array of video content for them.
Local dimming enables independent brightening or dimming of different areas of the screen. The more expensive TV sets released in 2018 will feature it.
Samsung wants to challenge the technical primacy of OLED. To this end, it’s expected to offer a Micro LED display.
In concept, the technology isn’t new. Micro LED was invented seventeen years ago, and Sony demonstrated a working model in 2012. Techniques for its manufacture were extremely expensive, though, making it impractical for the consumer market.
Refined manufacturing techniques, enabling relatively inexpensive bulk production, may finally make Micro LED practical in 2018.
Micro LED screens rely on extremely small diodes, each emitting its own light, eliminating need for an LCD backlight. Each diode can be switched on or off individually, enabling OLED-like contrast and rapid refresh rates.
Samsung is expected to demonstrate a 150-inch Micro LED model at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, and to release smaller consumer versions by the end of the year.
Voice control isn’t new. Voice-activated video screens and remote controls have been available for years. Early versions were buggy, though, and they often compromised user privacy.
In 2018, voice control and interactive displays will be greatly improved. One of the most important developments on this front is TV makers collaborating with Amazon and Google. Video displays will be coordinated with Alexa and Google Home systems.
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