As with most years, televisions were front and centre at CES 2014. And while the general design and principles haven't changed much, the technology behind the goggleboxes on show is more impressive than ever: 4K is becoming the norm for larger screens, curves are finding their way into screen design and, well, 3D has become all but forgotten.
Here are our favourite tellies from the Las Vegas show floor, and the ones you may well find yourself pining – and saving up for – later this year.
Polaroid 50GSR9000 and Kogan UHDTV – 4K on the cheap
Polaroid and Kogan have used CES to prove that 4K televisions don’t have to break the bank.
The 50in Polaroid 50GSR9000 will cost a mere US$1,000 (£600) yet offer all the pixels required for the retina-slicingly sharp format. We don’t expect the picture quality to rival that of pricier sets from bigger-name brands, but that’s not really the point – the point is that 4K is no longer the preserve of the super well off, and that can only be a good thing.
The Kogan UHDTV actually trumps that on both price and specs: it’s 55in, £550 and equipped with Android 4.2 for app support. And more importantly we know that it’s almost definitely coming to the UK.
Panasonic TC-65AX800U – a worthy 4K plasma replacement
Panasonic is pulling out of the plasma TV game, and that’s a huge bummer for anyone who appreciates peak picture quality – but the company promises that its new range of LED sets has been tuned to deliver plasma-rivalling images.
You’d be right to be slightly dubious of such claims, but wrong to discount models like the TC-65AX800U, a stonking 65in 4K LED screen with local dimming (the LED backlights can turn off in areas of the screen that need to be darker, while remaining on in areas where brightness is needed) and Studio Master Colour, a technology designed to deliver a similar colour gamut to plasma.
The screen will also be available in a 58in size. Pricing and release date are TBC.
More after the break...
Philips’ Android TVs – a new breed of smart TV
Smart TVs have been around for a few years now, but it could be argued that the public has never fully embraced the idea of app-compatible web-connected tellies – and that the fault lies largely with the clumsy, unintuitive and walled garden UI approach of such screens.
Philips could be making a big step towards quashing this issue with its forthcoming crop of Android-equipped, quad-core chip-powered smart TVs, which give users access to the vast supply of apps in the Google Play Store and, according to Philips, operate with the same speed and fluidity you’d get from an Android smartphone or tablet.
The TVs will arrive in selected European countries in March 2014, and in the UK later in the year.
LG EC9800 – 2014’s ultimate TV?
Quite possibly our all-round favourite TV of CES 2014 (and a recipient of a Hot Stuff award, no less), LG’s new range of models, which starts at 55in and goes up all the way to 77in, ticks all the major boxes: it uses OLED technology for an eye-pleasingly high contrast ratio and lush colour reproduction; it supports 4K for huge amounts of detail; and it embraces the latest trend in TV design by curving gently inwards.
Just as exciting is its smart TV platform, which is powered by the back-from-the-dead webOS and supports 4K Netflix. Yes, that’s right: buy one of these tellies and season two of House of Cards will available to watch in glorious, glorious 4K quality.
Samsung’s bendy TV – your future flexible friend
Hats off to Samsung for coming up with the show’s most eye-catching and possibly bonkers television – an 85in 4K OLED screen able to bend at the push of a button. The whole curved TV trend may come across as a bit of a gimmick, but watching a giant TV screen flex? That’s undeniably cool.