New screen technologies are turning the idiot box into a smarter, more stylish device that offers a cinematic viewing experience.
It’s safe to say Australia is well and truly on board with the smart-TV revolution. We love our streaming video services and expect our television set to be the smartest device in the living room. So it stands to reason that one of the most exciting new developments in this space is OLED (organic light-emitting diode) technology, which completely rewrites the way TV screens work. It allows individual pixels on the screen to turn on and off, making for darker blacks and sharper colour contrast.
After too many years of waiting for OLED TVs, they’re finally instore and at prices that are (mostly) affordable. But regular LED isn’t dead just yet. Thanks to quantum dots – tiny crystals that change the range of colours a TV can produce – LED displays are better than ever. Quantum dots can render brighter and more realistic images on your small screen. The battle for supremacy also has manufacturers implementing signature tweaks such as different screen angles and improved sound.
Finally, if you haven’t made the leap to 4K Ultra HD resolution then it’s well past time. All of these TVs are 4K, letting you join the world of Ultra HD streaming video services, Blu-ray, video gaming and more.
LG Signature Wallpaper OLED TV
$13,499 (65 inches)
LG has been at the forefront of OLED television for some time now but the Wallpaper is quite remarkable. The screen is a mere four millimetres thick and, even at 65 inches, it’s so light that it can be wall-mounted using magnets. Power and HDMI connectivity are supplied via the sound bar that, in turn, connects to the TV via a single flat ribbon cable.
Samsung Q8 Curved Ultra HD QLED TV
$12,499 (75 inches)
Curved TVs were all the rage a little while ago but Samsung is the only manufacturer that still feels love for them. Its QLED screens use quantum-dot technology, which produces sharp, precise colours that are exceptionally bright. The curve can be an acquired taste; however, devotees will tell you that it creates a more immersive viewing experience. If the price is also an acquired taste, you can step down to 65 inches for $7499.
Panasonic TH-58EX780A 4K Ultra HD TV
$2749 (58 inches)
While it’s not a common TV size, 58 inches is the entry point for Panasonic’s EX780 range. These 4K Ultra HD TVs are packing some very smart image-processing power in terms of the way they use HDR (high dynamic range). This means you get a wide range of colours with strong contrast. The brand claims that picture quality is as close as you can get to a “Hollywood cinema experience” at home. For many, though, the height-adjustable stand will be a killer feature for getting the best screen angle.
Samsung The Frame 4K Ultra HD TV
$3299 (55 inches)
If you’re looking for a TV that makes a style statement while also being understated, check out The Frame from Samsung. Available in 55 and 65 inches, this 4K Ultra HD TV is designed to imitate hanging art. When it’s not in TV-viewing mode, the wall-mounted screen displays artwork from a gallery of 100 works by 37 artists and designers. A clear optical cable connects The Frame to a (concealable) unit that you can hook up to Blu-ray players, set-top boxes and more.
Sony A1 OLED 4K HDR Smart TV
Sony’s brand-new OLED TV line-up, to be released this month, demonstrates a flair for the dramatic. The A1 has an easel-like design, in 55- and 65-inch versions, that’s different to anything else available. In addition to the high-tech image wizardry, Sony has also cooked up something impressive for the sound. It’s called Acoustic Surface: rear-mounted sound actuators mean the entire screen operates as a speaker, resulting in a sleeker overall design. ￼
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