Best of CES 2013: TV Awards
Now that the dust has truly had time to settle on CES 2013, which is without a doubt the busiest week of in the tech industry, we’re here to give you our view on CES 2013 and the new batch of Smart TVs, 4K Ultra HDTV, and OLED TVs for 2013!
As you know all too well from our detailed hands on video coverage of CES 2013 (30+ videos and counting!), there is a whole wealth of information and absorb and analyze, with all the major TV manufactures fighting for attention and highlighting their new products for 2013.
Along with announcing their entire 2013 TV lineups, every manufacturer always tries to steel the show with their latest and greatest new product, and each year at CES, no matter what area you look at, it always comes down to the TVs.
This year was no different, and far from disappointing. While we were correct with most of our predictions, there was certainly a surprise of two from almost every manufacturer.
Along with the expected increase in range of 4K / Ultra HDTV (smaller, with more reasonable sizes, …and bigger), from leaders such as Sony, LG, and Samsung, we also saw more humble firms, such as Westinghouse getting in on the 4K TV market, with smaller price tags, bringing the technology closer to the average Joe.
The ever popular OLED TV category also had some more life injected into it with both LG and Samsung announcing a new 2013 version of their 55-inch OLED TV.
Other surprises also included us seeing a combining of these two emerging technologies, combining both the 4K resolution with the new OLED display technology with a simply jaw dropping prototype 4K OLED TVs from both Sony and Panasonic. To me, this is the holy grail of TV technology.
The last surprise was delivered to us from both LG and Samsung, with their “World’s First Curved OLED TV”. The feat is no doubt impressive, and can only be truly appreciated in person, we’re not sure how this will develop. LG’s curved OLED has a model number, and were touting the advantages of it, such as reduced eye strain, but we’re not sure if it will ever come to market, while I feel Samsung’s was more just because they could.
Okay, so lets get down to business!
Best OLED TV: LG 55EA8800
So far LG is the only manufacturer to live up to their talk and manged to get their 2012 OLED TV out to market (the 55EM9700 / $12,000). Since then, LG have been hard at work, and have shown off their second generation OLED TV, the very impressive LG 55EA8800.
While their first generation is the most impressive TV currently available on the market, the second generation LG 55EA8800 takes things even further.
It keeps the amazing image quality, with the best black levels, contrast and colors we have ever seen. Blacks truly are black and the colors pop like nothing else. The 2013 LG OLED has been updated with a new “Flamingo” stand, which looks great, and contains the TV’s circuitry for an even slimmer profile.
The 55-inch LG 55EA800 also now features NFC (near field communication) which allows you to transfer and playback videos, photos and more directly to the TV from a NFC supporting Smart phone or tablet.
As far as we’re aware, it uses the same WRGB filter with white diode RGB used in their first OLED. This is far from a negative, as this provides simply amazing visuals.
Best HDTV: Panasonic TC-P65ZT60 Plasma HDTV
Plasma HDTVs have taken some what of a back seat over the last few years with LED HDTVs taking over. But at CES 2013 Panasonic changed this, with their 65-inch Panasonic TC-P65ZT60 plasma TV.
Having seen pretty much every new HDTV in person at CES 2013, the Panasonic TC-P65ZT60 definitely stood out from the crowd, and offered black levels and viewing angles only beaten by the OLED TVs, at a fraction of the cost.
The Panasonic ZT60 will be available in 65-inch and 60-inch models. Panasonic are calling the ZT60 “Beyond the reference” levels of image quality. Making use of the new Studio Master Panel, they have eliminated the air gap between the panel and the front glass. There is also a new phosphor front louver filter and 300 focused field drive. This results in the deepest black levels and brighter images than we have seen on any plasma HDTV before. For more information on the ZT60, read our Panasonic 2013 Plasma lineup post.
Best Innovation: Sony 4k OLED Prototype
Even though Sony’s 55-inch 4k OLED TV was a prototype, after drooling over its image for far too long, I feel it very much deserves an award.
Sony was late to the OLED game, and have yet to announce a retail model, but they did say that this 4K OLED TV, or a version of it, will come to market “eventually”.
As I said earlier, I consider the combining of OLED and 4K technologies to be the holy grail of TV viewing, and the true future TV technology. I was simply blown away not only by the contrast, black levels, and vibrant colors of the TV, but also by the details of the 4K image.
Best Smart TV Platform: Samsung 2013 Smart TV Platform / Evolution Kit
Smart TVs, and the hardware and software that run them are now a very important part of a TV purchase to many. Samsung has won this award yet again, and have improved on their very impressive 2012 Smart TV interface.
The new 2013 is easier to use, fast, and very clean. When you turn on a new 2013 Samsung Smart TV you’re presented with the interface straight away, rather than having to click the button and wait for it to load up.
This award it not just for the innovation of the new 2013 interface, but also for their revolutionary Evolution Kit, which allows you to upgrade some of the higher 2013 Samsung Smart TVs to the new 2013 Version. The kit upgrades both the hardware, giving you a quad core processor, and the software, bring it up to 2013 top specification.