On the negative side, we didn’t get proper “screen time” with the array of new TVs introduced, many of which hold the promise to be pretty spectacular. As anticipated, the big CES TV news was the incorporation of mini-LED technology in more flat-panel TVs, and at screen sizes ranging up to 86 inches. There were also MicroLED displays aimed at the luxury consumer market, and OLED TVs aimed at a mainstream buyer who might normally be predisposed to consider an LCD model due to price concerns. To sum up, there was something for everyone on display at this year’s virtual version of CES.
A Bright Future For OLED
The 2021 OLED lineup LG introduced at CES was led by its 4K-resolution G1 series. Available in 77-, 65-, and 55-inch screen sizes, these are the company’s OLED “evo” TVs and feature a panel with a “new luminous element” that produces higher brightness via a “precise wavelength” and “optimized composition.” Peak brightness is an area where OLED tech has traditionally lagged—the best OLED TVs top out in the 600 nits range, while the brightest LCD TVs exceed 2,000 nits—so the arrival of models that promise higher light output is a welcome development, particularly for viewing in high ambient light environments. LG’s evo lineup also features HDMI 2.1 connections that deliver a full range of gamer-friendly features, a new 9 Gen 4 AI processor, and a built-in ATSC 3.0 tuner.
Better OLED brightness isn’t all that’s on tap for LG. New 8K-resolution OLED models are also forthcoming: The Z1 series will be available in 88- and 77-inch screen sizes and offer many of the same features found in the G1 series, but with an 8K variant of the 9 Gen 4 AI processor to handle 8K upconversion. Two additional 4K OLED lines are also planned for 2021: the C1 series with five screen sizes including a new 83-inch option, and the entry-level A1 series, which will be available in 48-, 55-, 65-, and 75-inch screen sizes. With many of the same features found in the flagship G1 lineup, the C1 models should hit a price-performance sweet spot, while the A1 series models with their 7 Gen 4 AI processors and HDMI 2.0 inputs represent a bargain option.
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The Wireless Meta-verse
WE LIVE now in the wireless world, and the major loudspeaker makers have been quick to embrace it with serious-performance, near-full-range designs. But each seems to have a different idea of what a “wireless speaker” should entail. Some simply connect to an existing component stack via a supplied small wireless transmitter. Others incorporate the whole smart-speaker thang, with full multiroom audio system and Alexa-Google-Siri voice control integration.
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Sonos Roam Portable Wireless Speaker
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TV TRENDS OF CES 2021
THE ANNUAL CES trade show put on by the Consumer Technology Association was an “all-digital” event for 2021. On the plus side, that allowed us to report on the show from the comfort of our homes dressed in hoodies and sweatpants instead of suits.
Mini-LED Made Affordable
IN LATE 2019, TCL flew me to the company’s U.S. offices in California to spend an afternoon with its new flagship, the 75Q825 8-Series Roku LCD Ultra HDTV, a 75-inch 4K model.
Monolith by Monoprice M-TWE True Wireless Earbuds
Noise Cancellation Customized Monoprice is an affordable direct-to-consumer brand, and its Monolith product line features sophisticated A/V gear including speakers, amps, surround sound processors, and now the new Monolith M-TWE earbuds.
The End of Analog
Q Over the years, I’ve discovered that sound and vision are two distinct camps in the home theater realm, and it’s best to keep them separated due to constantly changing video formats.
HEADPHONES AT CES 2021
Once upon a time, CES was a huge show for audio but those days are long gone and showed no signs of returning in the virtual world that was CES 2021, with one possible exception: wireless headphones, a category that has made incredible strides in just the past year or so.
Android loses a huge innovator as LG quits making phones
LG phones pushed the bleeding edge of innovation, but it wasn’t enough.
LG Gram 17 (2021): Light Weight, Giant Screen
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CES 2021: Baby, It's a Wild World!
The biggest tech show on earth sidestepped the pandemic this year to present the long and short view of a hopeful future
LG TO INVEST $4.5 BILLION IN ITS US BATTERY BUSINESS
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TechX Awards: The Most Innovative Products and Technologies of CES 2021
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Asia's Battery Giants Go Global
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LG Stylo 6: Falls Short on Performance
Six iterations in, the LG Stylo 6 looks better than ever, with an attractive, modern design and a high-resolution 6.8-inch display. Throw in a built-in stylus for taking notes and drawing, solid stereo speakers, and a battery that can easily get you through the day, and the Stylo 6 seems like a good deal.
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