Just got back to my hotel this moment. Lot's of news to share. Today I spent most of my time with the major TV manufacturers.
First, Sharp top execs told me Elite is here to stay and they are very happy with the sales that are outpacing the actual forecaster production. They have no plans on any price reductions and the model year will stay as is so we can expect the next generation to launch by September 2012 and will likely be 60", 70" and 80".
They also told me the 945, which is expected in late June or July, 2012 is not designed to compete with the flagship Elite series as it have far less local dimming zones, no IVS, and a lower grade video processor. Of course, no THX verification, no THX mode or ISF modes.
Here's my take on the two 55" OLED TVs. Samsung and LG showed 55" OLED TVs that look beautiful. Electrical efficiency is similar to LCD, but not as efficient as LCD/LED TVs. Samsung is using individual Red, Green and Blue pixels; LG utilizes white OLEDs and has filters to generate the colors.
To my eyes Samsung's OLED produced a better pq, but I'm concerned about the reliability as Blue OLED is not as reliable as LG's White OLED scheme. So although performance looks like it goes to Samsung in this space, reliability may be in LG's court. Price and screen size will also limit the saleability of this new emerging technology. So my suggestion is don't be an early adapter, lets see how it goes and consider gen 2.
Of all of the plasma offerings, I strongly endorse Panasonic's plasma's. Panasonic's 2012 line looks stunning. 50% brighter and about 15% blacker with stunning color saturation and what looks like absolutely perfect motion resolution.
Panasonic redesigned the entire 2012 line-up. New plasma glass panels, new drive scheme, new internal video processor and they upped the gradation 5 times yielding about 25,000 shades of grey. And the new design is simply beautiful. The VT50 has a very slim hidden bezel beneath the single sheet of glass. The depth is less than 1.5" and the new slim 8 speaker system with three built-in amplifiers deliver great TV audio and without the bottom bump-out that was in the 2011 model year.
Panasonic also introduced several new 47" and 55" LCD/LED TVs with their second generation IPS panels and these new entries deliver a great image quality in another beautiful overall design. Very slim and sleek with a ultra small bezel. These new LCD/LED TVs look appealing and I must say the only thing that looks better than the great new design is the very well respected pq.
Panasonic is no slough in the Interactive and Social Networking apps. All Viera Connect series have built-in web browsers and more Internet apps that you could imagine for every possible person's tastes and interests. Here's a list of the new 2012
apps, this is in addition to the large suite of apps that launched in 2011.
Disney Books, Plaz Jam, Red Karaoke, iFit, Vimeo, MySpace TV, Snag TV, Miramax, Fixter, Cosmoh, Let's Golf 2, Uno, Play Jam, Black Jack Royal, Brain Trainer, Shoutcast Radio, Chess Challenge, Zap Trap, Mahjong Fruits, Rock Swap, Mongrels, Adventures, Solitaire, developer site, web browser and much more.
My prediction is Panasonic will take a commanding lead in pdp and LCD sales in their entry, mid and certainly the high-end displays for the 2012 model year.
Toshiba, showed a few very nice high-end TVs. The L7200 Cinema Series looked nice and the 4K resolution glasses free 3D display looks great in 2D with 1080p content. My good friends at Toshiba took me past the barrier that keeps the CES attendees from a very close up look so I can see the 4k panel with 1920 x 1080 content and I could barely see the pixel structure even with a manufacturing glass.
Although it's very cool to see 3D without glasses the limit of nine viewing positions and the greatly reduced resolution does not come close to what the top two (Elite and VT50) premium 3D TV makes are doing.
All in all a very nice product offering from Toshiba.
Tomorrow I'm back for another long day and I hope to get to some of the audio and accessory exhibits.
Any questions or comments?
PS, I'll be updating my Facebook page and new site regularly so for more CES new product information check out my three sites often.