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2018: What to Expect in TV Displays

In the last decade, we’ve seen dramatic improvements in TV screens. HD has given way to 4K, the first HDR screens are on the market, and OLED and QLED displays have become practical. We don’t expect innovation in screen technology to come to a halt, but it won’t be moving at the blistering pace we’ve seen lately. So what will we find in video displays in 2018?

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Incrementalism is likely to be the dominant theme in video display tech this year. Most developments will merely build on radical technical leaps of the past, very few being completely new to the consumer market.

Still, some interesting prospects are on the near horizon. Here are a few of the most important changes in video equipment that we will see in 2018:

 HDMI 2.1

How often do you think about the cables connecting your TV set? They don’t get much respect. They can be critical, though, for the quality of your TV sound and picture.

The current HDMI 2.1 specs were published only in November 2017. This obviously leaves an excruciatingly tight time frame for manufacture of 2018-model TV sets or other devices that will comply with the new standard. Almost no HDMI 2.1-compliant sets, therefore, will be on the market until late in the year.

For now, you don’t need to worry about their absence. The HDMI 2.1 spec is almost outrageously future-proofed. Some of its capabilities, including 8K resolution and much higher frame rates, won’t be available in consumer TV for several years. A TV set you buy this year can handle the best available content for several years.

Emissive Quantum Dots

Quantum Dot LED (QLED) TV have gotten a lot of press in the last two years. QLED sets have shown great promise. They can’t yet match the overall picture quality of OLED, though, lagging in refresh rates and contrast.

2018 may be the year QLED catches up. Some experts are placing their bets on emissive quantum dots (EQD). EQD sets have been hyped as the “true QLED” that video buffs have awaited eagerly for years.

With EQD, miniscule quantum dots actually emit light instead of merely enhancing LCD backlight. They could also match or surpass OLED’s “infinite” contrast ratio, with far lower power consumption, and with a much wider and more intense color gamut.

4K & HDR Everywhere

You’ll see many 4k and HDR sets this year. Almost every manufacturer is producing models that can handle both specs.

Both formats were developed at least two years ago, but are difficult to build into TV screens. Also, very little programming has been available in either format, because they require new cameras and editing tools.

That will change in the new year. Almost all new display screenss will be compatible with both formats, and studios are beginning to produce a wide array of video content for them.

Local Dimming

Local dimming is independent brightening or dimming of different areas of the screen. The more expensive TV sets released in 2018 will feature it.

Micro LED

Samsung wants to challenge the technical leadership of OLED.  For this purpose, it’s expected to offer a Micro LED display.

In concept, the technology far older than you’d guess. Micro LED was invented seventeen years ago, and Sony demonstrated a working model in 2012. Techniques for its manufacture were extremely expensive, though, so it wasn’t suited for the consumer market.

Refined manufacturing techniques, enabling relatively cheap bulk production, may finally bring Micro LED to us in 2018.

Micro LED screens feature extremely small diodes, each emitting its own light, eliminating need for an LCD backlight. Each diode can be switched on or off separatelyly, enabling OLED-like contrast and rapid refresh rates.

Samsung is expected to demonstrate a 150-inch Micro LED model at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, and to release smaller consumer versions later. The latter may be available for purchase by the end of the year.

Voice Control

Voice control is hardly new. Voice-activated video screens and remote controls have been on the market for years. Early versions were buggy, though, and they often compromised user privacy.

For 2018, voice control and interactive displays will be much more reliable. One of the most important developments on this front is manufacturer collaboration with Amazon and Google. Video displays will be synced with Alexa and Google Home systems.


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Image result for oled screens images

With the annual Consumer Electronics Show about to end, we’ve gotten a glimpse of the near future in the market for video displays. In years past, LED and LCD displays with High Definition (HD) resolution were all the rage. They work well, but they’ve been around long enough that they almost seem passe’. Manufacturers are now producing flexible screens, OLED and QLED technology, and 4K or Ultra High Definition (UHD) resolution.

If you want your TV set to offer the best possible picture and sound, investigate displays with the following features:

4k and Ultra HD

As their names imply, 4K and Ultra HD (UHD) screens display four times the number of pixels in an HD screen. Only a few content providers offer their programming in 4K or UHD format, but more are adopting it every month.  Within two years, 4K will be standard.

High Dynamic Range (HDR)

One of the top trends in TV innovation is High Dynamic Range (HDR). Unlike 4K or UHD, which are brute-force approaches to picture sharpness, HDR does not entail simply stuffing more pixels into the display.

HDR is a new technology altogether. It offers much brighter highlights, deeper shadows, more detail and subtlety in the midrange, and a wider color gamut than conventional TV. Most observers say it improves the picture more than 4K does.


Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) and Quantum Light-Emitting Diode (QLED) displays are at the top in picture quality. They offer far better contrast and color saturation than LED, LCD, or plasma screens.

OLED screens have been far more expensive than competing types, but this is changing. Samsung and LG have learned mass-manufacturing techniques that are making their prices much more competitive.

Both LED and QLED look impressive. There may be subtle differences in picture quality, but they are so small, most of us wouldn’t notice them. Both are clearly superior to everything else.

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Magnavox HDD DVR and DVD Recorder w/ Digital Tuner

DVRs For Cord Cutters

Many consumers, exasperated with the high fees and poor customer service common to cable TV subscriptions, have become ‘cord cutters’. They’ve ditched the subscription model. With millions of people using mobile devices for nearly all communications, and with internet video streaming becoming more practical, the cord cutting trend is now irreversible.

Though cord cutting saves money, it comes with drawbacks. Free over-the-air TV is limited to live broadcasts: little other than local news, sports, and award shows. An over-the-air (OTA) DVR can help expand expand your viewing options. Most DVRs have been dedicated boxes available only with cable or satellite TV subscriptions. In the last three years, though, several manufacturers have built OTA DVRs that don’t require subscriptions: TiVo, Tablo, SiliconDust, and Channel Master, among others.

The Channel Master DVR is among the best of them. It sports dual tuners, so you can watch one show while recording another, and its on-screen electronic programming guide is free.  TiVo, probably the best OTA DVR on the market in features and function, requires an annual $150.00 service fee in addition to its $300.00 purchase price.

The most surprising new entries into the OTA DVR market are by Magnavox. Once one of the dominant electronics brands, Magnavox has been a minor player in the industry for the last two decades.

In last week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, though, Magnavox unveiled three new DVR models. Each one has at least two tuners and 1 TB of storage capacity; one has six tuners and 3 TB. All are due for release in the last quarter of 2016. Each has  a free on-screen EPG. Each has a built-in WiFi router, so you can stream live or recorded video to iOS or Android devices. Magnavox says its DVRs will also download content for viewing offline, and one model will burn video into an integrated DVD recorder.

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