Best of CES 2018: Video

best of ces 2018

Before I left for CES 2018, I heard someone say that display technology has come about as far as it can, and all we could expect at the show was incremental improvements. I strongly disagree with this assessment, and the video displays at CES were a testament to continued innovation.

Of course, there were many examples of incremental improvements in LCD and OLED TVs, and in some cases, those improvements will be available at lower prices—which is pretty big news in its own right. But there were also several examples of revolutionary new technologies that promise a bright and vibrant future for video displays.

To recognize these achievements, AVS Forum handed out 10 Best of CES 2018 awards to exceptional video products that represent the highest level of technological innovation and/or value at the show. (Another eight were given to outstanding audio products, which AVS Forum Senior Editor Mark Henninger will summarize in a separate article.)

Congratulations to the winners of the AVS Forum Best of CES 2018 video awards!

Hisense H10E LCD TV

best of ces 2018
Kara Glynn, Hisense’s Senior Manager of Channel Strategy and Execution, accepts the AVS Forum Best of CES 2018 award for the H10E, seen above her left shoulder.

The Hisense H10E offers just about everything you could ask for in an LCD TV—4K/UHD resolution, FALD (full-array local-dimming) backlight with 1056 dimming zones (far more than most), quantum-dot technology, 99% of the DCI/P3 color gamut, HDR10 and Dolby Vision high dynamic-range capabilities, Android smart-TV functionality, and Alexa and Google Home compatibility. It will be available first in a 75″ screen size, with a 65-incher expected later this year.

LG Display Rollable OLED TV

best of ces 2018
Hyuncheol Kim, LG Display PR Team Leader, accepts the AVS Forum Best of CES 2018 award for the LG Display rollable OLED TV, seen behind us.

One of the Holy Grails of video technology is an emissive TV that can be rolled up like a projection screen. LG Display—the company that makes raw LCD and OLED panels for LG Electronics and other TV companies—demonstrated the world’s first 65″ rollable 4K/UHD OLED, and it wowed everyone who saw it. This is not an imminent consumer product, but a technology demo that represents the future of OLED.

LG OLED Canyon

best of ces 2018
The LG OLED Canyon was not a product per se, but an astounding installation that clearly deserved an AVS Forum Best of CES 2018 award.

LG Electronics always builds an impressive booth at CES, and this year was no exception. Visitors entered the booth through a winding OLED Canyon, which consisted of 246 55″, custom-curved, 4K/UHD OLED TVs in video walls that towered over the crowd. In all, over 2 billion pixels reproduced scenes of forests, waterfalls, glaciers, and canyons, accompanied by ambient sounds and music from a Dolby Atmos immersive-audio system. It was wondrous to behold!


best of ces 2018
Most of LG’s 2018 OLED TVs, including the W8 seen here, incorporate the new Alpha 9 processor and a greatly expanded 3D LUT for extremely accurate color, making them a shoe-in for an AVS Forum Best of CES 2018 award.

This year’s crop of LG OLED TVs offer more than incremental improvements. In particular, LG’s new Alpha 9 video processor, which is much more powerful than last year’s, utilizes AI (artificial intelligence) in its operation. The Alpha 9 supports a variety of advanced features, such as a greatly expanded color LUT (look-up table) for better color accuracy, much more advanced noise reduction and image enhancement, and frame rates up to 120 fps via USB. (The entry-level B8 has a slightly less powerful Alpha 7 processor, which can’t do both 4K HDR and HFR at the same time.) And the LG OLED TVs remain the only ones in the market that support all four major HDR formats (HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG, and Technicolor) as well as Dolby Atmos audio.

LG-SpectraCal AutoCal

best of ces 2018
LG and SpectraCal developed a system whereby 2018 LG OLED and Super UHD TVs can be fully calibrated automatically—an obvious choice for an AVS Forum Best of CES 2018 award.

One of the most exciting announcements at CES 2018—at least for video geeks—was automatic calibration for LG’s 2018 OLED and Super UHD LCD TVs. Using SpectraCal’s CalMan software and a suitable color meter and pattern generator, those TVs can be fully calibrated in a fraction of the time it takes a trained technician to do it manually. Even better, the software reaches directly into the hardware of the TV, bypassing the user and factory controls completely, resulting in a more accurate calibration.

Samsung QLED LCD TVs

best of ces 2018
Samsung’s 2018 QLED TVs offer many improvements over last year’s models, plus this new 85″ 8K monster with AI-based processor seen here, making the entire lineup an AVS Forum Best of CES 2018 award winner.

As the moniker indicates, Samsung’s QLED TVs employ quantum dots in their backlights to achieve nearly 100% of the DCI/P3 color gamut. The biggest improvement in this year’s Samsung QLED TVs is the switch from edgelighting to FALD (full-array local-dimming) backlighting in the top models, which results in deeper blacks. The only specific model announced at CES was the Q9S, an 85″ 8K behemoth with an AI-based processor that uses machine learning to upscale lower resolutions to 8K/UHD. It looked gorgeous!

Samsung The Wall

best of ces 2018
(L-R): Samsung’s Scott Cohen, Senior Product Training Manager, and Jim Langehennig, Senior Manager, Quality Innovation, North American QA Lab, accept the AVS Forum Best of CES 2018 award for The Wall, seen behind them.

This is the next big step in the evolution of video displays. The technology is called microLED, in which each pixel is a trio of tiny red, green, and blue LEDs emitting light directly. The LEDs are embedded in interchangeable tiles that are then assembled into a screen of just about any size. Samsung’s The Wall is the first implementation of microLED for home use, and a 146″ screen has a resolution of 4K/UHD. The Wall can produce a far brighter image than any projector, and its blacks are absolute, because the LEDs can be dimmed to 0. Plus, uniformity is essentially perfect, and there is no optical distortion endemic to projectors. The picture I saw was stunning!

Sony 10,000-Nit Display

best of ces 2018
Sony demonstrated a prototype 10,000-nit HDR display that was truly astounding to behold. How could we not give it an AVS Forum Best of CES 2018 award?

Several high dynamic-range (HDR) formats are based on a maximum light output of 10,000 nits from the display. However, no currently available displays are capable of producing anything close to that much light. At CES 2018, Sony demonstrated what such a display would look like—and it looked amazing! Specular highlights were dazzling, and the overall image was far brighter than even Sony’s flagship Z9D, one of the brightest flat panels on the market today. The engineering prototype won’t be a consumer product any time soon, but it clearly showed how bright the future of video really is.

Sony X900F LCD TV

best of ces 2018
Sony’s new X900F bests last year’s model with the addition of the X1 Extreme processor to a mid-range lineup, earning it an AVS Forum Best of CES 2018 award.

Last year’s mid-range X900E was a real sleeper hit, with FALD (full-array local-dimming) backlighting at moderate prices. At CES 2018, the next-generation X900F ups the ante by adding Sony’s X1 Extreme processor, which allows the TV to support Dolby Vision high dynamic range as well as HDR10 and HLG. Other enhancements include the addition of X-Motion Clarity and improved X-tended Dynamic Range Pro. Also, Sony added a new 85″ screen size to the lineup. If the prices remain in the same ballpark as the X900E, the new models will be a seriously good value.

TCL 6-Series LCD TV

best of ces 2018
Bruce Walker, TCL’s Product Evangelist, accepts the AVS Forum Best of CES 2018 award for the 6-Series TV, seen behind him.

After the success of TCL’s 55P607 last year, I was eager to see what would replace it in 2018. The new 6-Series will retain a FALD (full-array local-dimming) backlight, and the number of dimming zones will increase from 72 to 96 in the 55″ model and 120 in the 65-incher. Plus, it achieves nearly 100% of the DCI/P3 color gamut. Among the new features for 2018 is iPQ Engine, which is said to deliver accurate color from every TV out of the box, and HDR Pro Gamma, which lets you adjust the look of HDR content depending on the room lighting. Speaking of HDR, the TCL 6-Series supports Dolby Vision as well as HDR10. Its smart-TV functionality is provided by Roku with voice control. Best of all, the price of the 55″ model is the same as last year—$649! No pricing was revealed for the 65-incher, but I’m sure it will be extremely affordable.