By Scott Baughman
Ah spring, when a young man’s fancy turns to … TV? Well, let’s be honest, a young man’s fancy likely turns to TV at any time of the year, even if that “television” experience is just the tablet or smartphone screen he has in the palm of his hand.
But this issue’s column isn’t going to be about handheld devices like many other columns have been. No, dear reader, this issue’s column is going to be about ACTUAL, honest-to-goodness television sets and how NOW is the time to buy one.
Sure, Christmas has passed and the “big game” is long over, but that doesn’t mean now isn’t a great time to check out a new TV. The biggest reason now is a great time to buy has nothing to do with Santa Claus being passed or the football season being over – it’s because CES 2017 is now in the books! The Consumer electronics show held every year in Las Vegas is a showcase of all the latest and greatest gadgets lining up to clamor for some of your disposable income. And this year we saw some amazingly good TV technologies on display.
Here are some highlights and how they might affect your next efforts to watch live sports, big time movies or even re-runs of Star Trek right in the comfort of your own home.
First up, the really great news for those of you who want an Organic Light-emitting Diode or OLED TV but were not too happy about LG having an apparent monopoly on the technology in question. There is another…manufacturer of OLED TVs now, and it’s not some fly-by-night operation you’ve never heard of operating out of some guy’s basement in North Korea. It’s Sony! Yes, the house that movies built in the 1980s and was redecorated by the PlayStation in the 1990s is now ready to wow you with their very own OLED television. Sony will begin selling the A1E series of OLED TVs in the United States later this year, finally bringing some much-needed competition for the best picture quality television ever. Reports from CES say that at the Sony booth and in a closed-door demonstration the picture looked incredible.
Still, that’s not to say the OLED masters at LG didn’t put on a great show. LG had their W7 Wallpaper OLED TV on display at CES and the name says it all. The television is so thin – with its organic compound layer emitting the picture – that it basically blends into your wall. This is probably what every TV will look like in five to ten years so you could get one now to be ahead of the curve, as it were. But it will set you back a fair piece with a W7 television starting at $8,000. No worries, though, because if you really want one from LG you can get the B7 series for around $3,000.
Looking for something more in the budget department? Look no further than a new Roku-focused TV set like the TCL P series from China-bound manufacturer TCL. The set focuses on the Roku – a streaming service/device that aims to compete with things like Netflix, Google’s Chromecast and Amazon’s FireTV. Now, we’ve had an issue of Technically Speaking that was 100 percent focused on the streaming sets and hardware so I’ll spare you the lengthy explanation this issue, but I will remind you that Roku is definitely the “budget” version of those things.
This new TV from TCL is centered on increasing the picture quality of the Roku services. And with a price point of around $500 it’s certainly more affordable for the average person than the OLED sets discussed earlier.
CES did have one other TV on display that was an eye-popping experience. Our friends at Sony had one more thing in their bag of tricks with the Sony VPL-VZ1000ES – it’s a 4K short-throw laser projector that can fill a 120-inch screen yet look as good as many TVs in bright light. Yes, that’s right, this is a 120-inch projection TV system. Don’t worry, it’ll only set you back about $25,000!
Until next time, download complete.