TV TRENDS OF CES 2021
Sound & Vision|April - May 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.
AL GRIFFIN

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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