February 1, 2016

The latest in TV Technology - February 2016

Each year the world of TV technology starts with a bang, when the madness of CES signals the end of the holidays. CES is the main stage of the year for consumer electronics brands to make product line announcements, so it’s always full of Smart TV news. Other TV platforms such as set-top boxes and game consoles generally receive less attention.

This year the magic word for Smart TVs was High Dynamic Range or HDR. It’s a display technology which allows for higher color ranges than before, with a noticeable impact. In contrast with 4K last year, curved TVs the year before and 3D glasses even earlier, this improvement may actually matter to consumers. Hence, every Smart TV brand jumped on board, with the industry settling on Ultra HD Premium as the common branding for HDR.

Some specific bits of information which were interesting in recent weeks were LG launching a TV running Roku OS instead of its own webOS, intriguing transparent and rollable displays by several manufacturers and the appearance of 4K Blu-ray players. Sony is still doing very will with its PlayStation 4, having sold almost double the units that Microsoft has managed with its Xbox One. One of the biggest news items to come out of CES was actually Netflix’s worldwide launch, as it added 130 countries at once.

In general though, there weren’t many big changes at CES this year. Samsung is sticking to Tizen, LG is using webOS again, Sony and Philips are sticking with Android TV and Panasonic is still using Firefox OS. All of them are going through incremental improvements, but none are doing any major overhauls as we saw in the previous two years. Android TV is adding a few more lesser known brands to its stable, but notable big ones.

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