CES is traditionally the show where TV manufacturers showcase new technology and new models, and this year's show did not disappoint. Now that the exhibition is over, we can take stock.
Samsung was the first to showcase new TVs for 2024 last Sunday at an event held behind closed doors. The message that Samsung wanted to convey was the same as it has been in recent years: microLED and 8k-QLED are the spearhead of the Korean manufacturer.
Samsung Micro LED
MicroLED displays, which consist of discrete panels containing individual inorganic LEDs, are technically the holy grail of display technology. It combines extremely high brightness, a wide color gamut, ideal viewing angles and black reproduction, without being sensitive to burn-in. The disadvantage of microLED is that it is an expensive technology and the individual LEDs are still relatively large. As a result, it is not yet possible to make small displays with high resolution. For this reason, Samsung has so far only sold very large microLED displays, with screen sizes starting at 76 inches. A smaller model has now been added, meaning that from this year the range will range from 65 inches to 140 inches.
Samsung 2024 MicroLED TV
Samsung continues to develop microLED technology from a technical standpoint. To mount the LEDs on the substrate used as a display panel, Samsung switched from pick-and-place technology to laser transfer technology, which works three hundred times faster, according to Samsung Display. This allows microLED panels to be produced faster and therefore cheaper. In addition, the structure of the panels has changed, as the sides of the panels now also have a matte finish. The effect of this is that the seams between the panels become almost invisible and you can now (almost) no longer see that the large microLED display is actually made up of many smaller displays. As in previous years, Samsung Electronics has not announced pricing for the new microLED TVs. But anyone hoping for a price breakthrough will likely be disappointed; For now, microLED technology remains a “price on demand” product with prices starting well above €10,000.
Samsung 8K QLED LCD
In addition, Samsung, as the only manufacturer, continues to focus entirely on 8K displays, despite the fact that the market shows that there is actually not much demand for them. This did not prevent Samsung from equipping its new 2024 8K TVs with a new, much faster processor. This should lead to much better performance, especially in super-resolution upscaling, thanks to improved neural networks for object recognition, content classification, and image fault recognition. Based on what these neural networks detect, the most appropriate super-resolution algorithm is chosen for each part of the image to enhance the image. In a demo behind closed doors, Samsung demonstrated the ability to scale from 720p to 8K, with surprisingly good results. Samsung's regular 4K TVs will also benefit from this improved image processing, but as we understand it, 4K QLED and OLED TVs will not receive a (significant) improvement in this area. The most powerful new processor will only be available for 8K TVs.
Samsung 2024 Neo QLED 8K TV
Samsung did not display any 4K QLED LCD TVs either in front of the scenes or behind the scenes. These will be announced later this spring. What we saw during the preview event were the new OLED TVs.
Samsung 4K OLED
Samsung will launch three different OLED TVs this year: the S85D, S90D, and S95D. The top model, the S95D, will be available in 55-, 65- and 77-inch sizes, and all of these versions will feature a third-generation Samsung Display QD OLED display. This new panel promises a maximum brightness of 3,000 nits. This is of course peak brightness, which is measured at the panel's native color temperature. As we understand, the peak brightness in movie mode will still be well above 2000 nits, and the full screen brightness should be above 300 nits. The second improvement to the S95D's new QD OLED panels is that they now have a matte finish, making reflections from lamps or windows, for example, less noticeable. We were able to view the S95D and the matte finish does its job very well. Compared to other OLED displays, which until now have always had a glossy panel, reflections are much less annoying. The drawback is that the matte coating “smears” incoming light, making the painting appear lighter as a whole in strong ambient light, which does not improve contrast. Hopefully we'll be able to test the S95D soon and will pay extra attention to that.
Little is known about the S90D and S85D. In addition to 55 inches, 65 inches, and 77 inches, the S90D series is also available in 42 inches, 48 inches, and 83 inches. Samsung Display does not manufacture QD OLED displays in the last three sizes. However, the panels for these displays come from LG Display, which means they are Woled panels. However, the 65-inch S90D prototype shown at the show has a QD OLED panel. It is currently unclear whether the 55-inch, 65-inch and 77-inch versions will all have QD OLED panels, and Samsung has opted for the S90S entirely. Or whether a combination will be used. We wouldn't welcome the latter, because the characteristics of Woled and QD-OLED are really different thanks to their different structures. Unfortunately, Samsung hasn't been able to tell us anything about this yet and nothing has been shared about additional specifications of the S90D.
From the S85D, a new lower profile series. We don't know anything yet, other than that it should be cheaper than the S90D. The S80D prototypes on display at the show were equipped with WoLED displays from LG Display, but it remains to be seen if this will also apply to production models.
LG showed off just one new TV at its booth: the Transparent OLED T TV. This TV uses a 4K OLED panel without MLA technology, but with LG's latest image processor, four HDMI 2.1 ports, and VRR support up to 120Hz. In transparent mode you can literally see through the screen. LG has also installed a roll of heavy film in the base of the screen that can be wrapped behind the panel, so the panel simply turns opaque black, just like a regular OLED TV. The LG OLED T will likely only go on sale in the Netherlands and Belgium at the end of the year; Nothing is known about the price yet.
LG Signature Series T OLED
In addition to the OLED T, LG also showed us behind closed doors the new OLED M4 Wireless and the OLED G4 and C4. The main improvements to these TVs are a new second-generation MLA panel from LG Display. This new panel, just like competing Samsung Display's new QD OLED panels, can achieve up to 3,000 nits of brightness and support refresh rates of up to 144Hz. The question is whether LG Electronics will make the panels in the M4 and G4 work at the same brightness. What is striking is that during the presentations we received nothing was said at all about increased brightness compared to last year's TVs. The second improvement over the M4 and G4 is the new Alpha 11 image processor, which should provide better image processing thanks to higher computing power and can now also do so with DRM-protected content. How this is implemented in practice will become clear when we test the devices.
The OLED C4, the new model in the popular C series, receives smaller improvements. This TV is also getting a slightly more powerful processor, but not the new Alpha 11, and it will also have to do without an MLA panel this year. The C4 can handle signals up to 144Hz (VRR), where the limit for LG TVs until now was 120Hz. Additionally, we know that the C4 will get a slight boost in brightness, but we don't yet know exactly how much.
For more information about LG's new TVs, read our comprehensive preview and accompanying video.
“Thinker. Coffeeaholic. Award-winning gamer. Web trailblazer. Pop culture scholar. Beer guru. Food specialist.”