This was a huge year for TVs at CES. In some cases, literally. Some years we see just incremental improvements on existing technology or a bunch of buzzwords that leave us cold when the rubber hits the road. But this year, we saw some real innovation and some big leaps forward. TV makers are pushing the edge of the envelope like never before. Here’s our list of the best TVs at CES.
Let’s start with the most intriguing: LG’s roll-up OLED TV is every bit as magical as you’ve imagined. LG’s 65-inch 4K OLED Type R. The R stands for roll-up or, as we like to call it, Roll-ed. The TV emerges from a long rectangular box like a phoenix from the ashes, and when you’re done watching, it rolls right back down, out of sight. It can also be minimized into what LG calls “line view” to deliver different kinds of content. There’s an integrated speaker system but LG is supporting WiSA this year, which means wireless surround sound is now possible in a whole new way.
We move on to the biggest TV here: Samsung’s 219-inch “The Wall.” It’s a Micro LED TV, which means there’s no backlight. It’s emissive, like OLED, but unlike OLED it uses only Red, Green, and Blue pixels, so not only can it deliver true black levels, but it is incredibly bright and colorful. This is a modular system, too, so the idea is that it can be assembled in any size or shape you want, but as conventional TV sizes go, Samsung went and surprised us with a 75-inch variant, which could be a TV you could own one day.
Also, in the LG booth is this stunning 88-inch 8K OLED. It’s not just big, it’s luscious. The picture is deep, rich, and intoxicating. For best picture quality at the show, this is it for us. It’s also important to point out that LG, like all the big manufacturers, is supporting Apple AirPlay 2, so you can now play your iTunes movies, TV shows, and music through the TV using your iOS device or Mac.
Next up is Samsung 98-inch 8K QLED TV. Not only is it big, but its super well-designed both from an aesthetic standpoint, but also the user experience. From Samsung’s no-gap wall mount to its automatic source detection, to the one-connect box and one-connect cable this TV is just a bigger version of the 8K awesome we’ve come to expect from Samsung. Count on Samsung’s A.I. upscaling system to make any content you watch, from any source, look great at 8K resolution.
Sony also has a 98-inch 8K LED TV, and it’s a looker. The feather in Sony’s cap is its X1 Ultimate processor, which does an incredible job at not just upscaling, but cleaning up an image. Those banding artifacts you get with streaming content which let’s face it is mostly what we watch — looks smooth as silk on this TV, and that’s critical at this size. Sony is making a few other 8K models this year, but it’s hard to deny this 98-incher is the most cinematic-looking TV we’ve seen at the show this year.
Now over to TCL, which is poised to blow up even bigger in 2019. It’s got a 75-inch 8K TV, too, but the difference here is that it is a Roku TV and that it will come in far less expensive than its competition. With TCL producing an 8K TV at this size, it is likely far more people will be able to take the step up in resolution if they want to. It doesn’t hurt that this TV supports Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HLG types of high dynamic range content directly from the Roku platform, making it one of the most user-friendly TVs on our list.
Vizio’s top-of-the-line TV for 2019 is the P-Series Quantum X, a Quantum Dot TV with a ton of zones and nearly 3,000 nits of peak brightness. It isn’t 8K, and it won’t support HDMI 2.1 like most of the top-tier 2019 TVs we’re seeing, but it is an aggressively positioned TV and it looked excellent during our short subjective evaluation. With the P-Series Quantum X, Vizio is taking on Samsung, Sony, and LG’s best 4K TVs, likely at a much lower price, and we think that’s a recipe for success.
Finally, we visit Hisense, where we saw two outstanding TVs. One, the U9F, brings top-tier performance down to an incredibly low price point. A 75-inch 8K Quantum Dot TV with 2,200 nits of peak brightness and over 1,000 zones of local dimming. The TV will come out in June at $3500 let that sink in for a second. Unless TCL undercuts Hisense, that could be the most affordable 75-inch 8K on the market.
Now for something a little different, Hisense’s Tri-chroma, 3-laser, RGB Laser TV. It’s an ultra-short-throw projector that can do a 100-inch image when positioned less than 7 inches from the wall, and because it has a TV tuner, it is technically a TV. The RGB laser system is something we’ve never seen before under hundreds of thousands of dollars, which makes this sucker a game changer. With RGB lasers, it can produce true white alongside more colors than you can actually see. We can’t wait to get this thing in for review.
That’s a lot, isn’t it? As we said, it was an exciting year for TV at CES 2019, and these were just our picks for the best. There are a lot more where these came from, and we’re going to be reviewing a lot of them this year, so keep visiting Digital Trends for the best TV reviews and all your insightful daily tech news.