With all the talk about OLED and 4K at the show, it was easy to overlook the other 2012 TV introductions. Panasonic's new plasma lineup includes four series (from flagship to entry-level left to right in the photo above)VT50 (55 and 65 inches) with Infinite Black Ultra panel; GT50 (50, 55, 60, and 65 inches) and ST50 (50, 55, 60, and 65 inches), both with Infinite Black Pro panel; and UT50 (42, 55, and 60 inches). Not shown are the XT50 (42 and 50 inches) and 50-inch TC-P50U50, the only TV in Panasonic's lineup without 3D capabilities.
To combat the glare and reflections endemic to plasma TVs, LG has created a TruBlack filter for its flagship PM9700. As you can see in this photo, the screen has a distinctly matte finish, greatly obscuring reflections that are especially problematic in dark scenes.
Whereas Panasonic used to make only small LCD TVs and large plasmas with no overlapping screen sizes, that is no longer true. New for 2012 are four series of large-screen, LED-edgelit LCD TVs (flagship to entry-level right to left above)WT50 (47 and 55 inches), DT50 (47 and 55 inches), ET5 (42, 47, and 55 inches), and E50 (42, 47, and 55 inches). All use IPS (in-plane switching) LCD panels for wider viewing angles, and they offer Viera Connect online content apps.
Pictured here are LG's LM9600 (bottom row) and LM6700 (top row) LED-LCD TVs. The 47- and 55-inch LM9600 use the company's nano-LED backlighting, while the 60-inch version uses conventional LED backlighting with local dimming, and all incorporate LG's L9 dual-core processor and refresh the screen at 480Hz. The 120Hz LM6700 is LED edgelit with LED Plus pseudo local dimming.
As one of only three major manufacturers of plasma TVs, Samsung continues its tradition of excellence with the E8000 flagship line, which offers screen sizes of 60 and 64 inches. A dual-core chipset is said to provide enhanced performance, with excellent 2D and 3D picture quality and deep blacks thanks to the company's Real Black filter. Its Smart TV functionality includes Samsung's Smart Content and Smart Interaction technology that lets you control the TV by motion and voice, and Smart Evolution lets you upgrade the hardware as new features become available.
I learned more about the flagship of Samsung's 2012 LED-LCD TV lineup since the press conference last Monday. For example, it will be available in screen sizes of 55, 60, and 75 inches. Like all Samsung LED-LCDs, this one is edgelit along the sides, and a new Micro Dimming Ultimate algorithm provides pseudo local dimming with more zones than previous versions. Also, Smart Evolution lets you upgrade the TV's hardware as well as firmware, making it essentially futureproof.
One of the most important themes from CES this year is the continuing development of Internet-delivered content, which is quickly maturing into a viable alternative to cable and satellite. For example, the ES7500 LED-LCD TV (shown here), ES8000, and other premium Samsung TVs provide Smart Content, which offers over 1400 apps from providers such as CNBC Real Time, ESPN ScoreCenter, Hulu Plus, MTV Music Meter, Netflix, and Time TV. New apps in 2012 include Bravo, Technicolor M-Go, and The Daily as well as Media Hub, which was previously available on Galaxy S smartphones and Galaxy Tabs. This powerful app offers a diverse selection of movies and TV shows the day after they air as well as past seasons of the shows; some movies are available the same day they are released on DVD and Blu-ray.
Another important new app in the Samsung suite brings Verizon FiOS live TV directly to its Smart TVs and Blu-ray players. This app allows FiOS subscribers to watch 26 live TV channels and access more than 10,000 video-on-demand titles through Verizon's Flex View service without the need for a set-top box. Also provided is a full web browser.
Chief Twit Leo Laporte and I explore the show floor at CES 2012. Our first stop is the DTS booth to interview legendary producer/engineer/musician Alan Parsons and engineer/producer Elliot Scheiner. Next, we head to the LG booth, where Leo is impressed with the 3D video wall and we take a look at the 55-inch OLED flat panel and Google TV. At the Sharp booth, Kerry Hodel explains the company's ICC-4K upscaling and shows us a stunning 8K display, after which we wander over to Samsung, where Stuart Silloway shows us the ES8000 LED-LCD TV, Samsung's 55-inch OLED, and the Verizon FiOS app. Finally, we take a quick look at Sony's Crystal LED flat panel, which seems to be that company's version of OLED.