Small LEDs make great light: For TV fans with the necessary budget, there are some improvements in the new TV model year. This is shown by the digital trade fair CES. But other trends in the television segment are also on the horizon.
The new televisions in 2021 have some exciting technical details ready for TV users. It will be brighter, more colorful, the tone will wander – and there is also a bit of sustainability. TECHNOLOGY BUTTON gives an overview of the television trends for 2021.
Mini and micro LED for a clearer picture
The magic word for TVs in 2021 is mini-LED. Larger than the extremely high-priced micro-LEDs, but smaller than previous light-emitting diodes, the mini-LEDs should bring more color and contrast to the screens. And how is this supposed to work? The small, colorful light points are not as bright as previous LEDs, but there are many more of them. The result is just as good, if not better, lighting and much clearer color gradations.
An example: a particularly bright object against a dark background. On current televisions, light usually shines over into the dark surface – so-called blooming. Mini-LEDs should minimize this effect and come even closer to the self-illuminating OLED displays, which are superior in this regard.
TV viewers with the necessary budget can check whether this works in practice in 2021 with the new upper-class TVs from Samsung, LG or TCL, among others. It will take some time, however, before technology reaches the bread-and-butter class.
New processors for more sound and a better picture
Televisions have long ceased to be pure playback devices; they also have numerous options for image improvement. It’s not completely new, but now it should get even better. For example at Samsung, Panasonic or Sony. In the new top models of the Bravia series, Sony lets the television watch in a certain way. Artificial intelligence then ensures an optimized image.
For example, if faces come into the picture, the software will work them out particularly well, especially the eyes. It also uses special databases to better display textures such as fur or stone. The system also recognizes which objects or living beings can be seen in which lighting conditions.
The basis for this is provided by a new chip: the “cognitive processor XR”. It should also help upscaling video to 8K resolution, i.e. projecting images into the high resolution of the television screen. Because this requires a lot of computing power, the XR processor identifies image areas that viewers pay particular attention to and which are therefore optimized with priority.
Just imagine: a bee flies across the television screen – and the buzzing sound is always where it is buzzing around. Samsung and Sony, for example, are advertising exactly this on their top TVs in 2021. Sony’s XR chip, for example, analyzes the position of the sound in the picture so that the sound is placed correctly. With the new models, Sony further developed the technology in which the display itself serves as a loudspeaker membrane.
At Samsung, the corresponding technology is called “Object Tracking Pro”, the new television models in 2021 can also play speech more clearly or detect background noises – for example a running vacuum cleaner – and adjust the sound. And, so the promise: It should not only work with specially prepared material, but with all films and series.
Also read: How do I find out if my TV is out of date?
Optimized gaming and smart software
Consoles, game streaming – the television has long been a place for hours of video game time. And like on the PC, there are also various technical possibilities here to be a little bit faster than the opponent. Panasonic uses a display mode with the meaningful name “Game Mode Extreme” for the new OLED models. It should offer particularly fast image build-up so that players can react faster. Samsung’s Game Bar offers gamers quick configuration for their titles and also allows ultra-wide screen formats to be viewed.
Four different films on one screen at the same time? Was it in “Back to the Future” and will soon be available on Samsung’s micro-LED screens, which are not affordable for normal users. The current models in affordable regions receive real help – for people with hearing or visual impairments, for example. The 2021 models allow subtitles to be shifted so that central elements of the picture are not covered. The South Koreans also want to improve their voice guide by 2022. It makes it easier for visually impaired people to operate their televisions via voice guidance.
LG has a fresh version of the webOS TV software this year. It is designed to provide viewers with better viewing recommendations based on their preferences. There is also a new remote control called Magic Remote with more quick access buttons for streaming services or voice assistants. And the televisions are connecting more to other ecosystems. Sony, for example, now also offers access to Apple’s HomeKit smart home solution and supports image and sound transmission via Airplay2. The features will also be made available for some 2019 and 2020 models.
It’s just a small step, but at least there is also a little sustainability. Samsung’s new remote control now has a battery and a solar cell. This means that the Smart Remote can also be charged using interior lighting. In this way, a number of AAA batteries should be saved over the course of the TV’s life, which would otherwise end up in the garbage. If the energy-saving lamp does not provide enough light in the living room, the Smart Remote can also be charged via USB. Incidentally, around a quarter of the plastic in the remote control comes from recycled plastic.
And one more step: Samsung’s TV packaging will in future no longer be colorfully printed and pasted, but made from brown cardboard with white text printing made from eco-friendly ink. Buyers willing to make handicrafts can use a pattern to convert the boxes into cardboard furniture or play equipment instead of ending up in the basement or in the bin.
Extravagance in the TV sector
Samsung’s modular televisions will continue to be an absolute niche product in 2021 – and according to the company, they will at least remain so for a while. The assembling TV tiles presented in Las Vegas in 2020 remain custom-made for the time being. But at least: for the necessary change – five-digit amounts, they say – there will be micro-LED televisions in 110 and 90 inch sizes this year, with smaller ones to follow. Due to its size, the 110-inch umbrella is delivered folded up.