2016 was a year in which 4k media made several more strides into the mainstream. While just a few years ago the technology was the sole preserve of oligarchs and lottery winners, it’s now available for a very reasonable sum – and it’s found in living rooms across the country. But widespread 4K isn’t the only technical milestone being surmounted in 2017; high-end television is being made even more immersive with the introduction of new technologies like HDR (high dynamic range) backlights, and OLED displays that don’t require a backlight at all. Each look set to become a part of the future of television.
As ever, those looking to upgrade their television set will want to be sure that they’re getting the maximum for your money. With that in mind, let’s examine the available options this year...
This television from Panasonic delivers a pristine 4k image in a manner that only the priciest of modern televisions can match. It’s been awarded THX 4k certification, owing to the strength of its performance, and it’s also compatible with DLNA, allowing you to share content with your television via smartphone. It’s a display that’s sure to form a jaw-dropping centrepiece for your home cinema setup – which is why it’s earned five-star ratings from What Hi Fi?, and a ‘recommended’ label from AVForums.com. The current roster of Panasonic televisions includes models in a number of different sizes – but each of them is functionally identical – simply pick the model which most closely matches your setup.
Sony’s KD55XD9305 comes with an eye-popping HDR display that’ll ensure details are present and accounted for – rather than being lost in shadow or sunlight. This innovation looks to be the next big thing in the world of television design – and it’ll assuredly get the best from the sharpness of a 4k TV. The XD93 series in particular comes with a number of features that make it even more appealing. These include cable management, which makes use a hidden panel structure to keep all of those unsightly wires tucked away into the centre of the stand. You’ll also be able to connect the television via Sony’s Android TV technology, and enjoy your Android applications on the big screen. The set comes equipped with Sony’s X1 chip, which ensures compatibility with both HDR and 4k content – but that’s not the limit of the new technology introduced with this set. You’ll also get X-tended Dynamic Range PRO, and Sony’s new ‘triluminous’ display, which helps to ensure that the dynamic range of the image is as high as the ‘HDR’ moniker would indicate. The television comes with four separate HDMI inputs, each of which is compatible with the HDCP standard required to get a 4k signal from your media device to your television. As with the Panasonic, What Hi-Fi? magazine have bestowed a five-star rating onto this set, declaring that ‘this is what we want from a HDR set’, and that ‘there’s little of any matter that could keep us from imploring you to buy this.’
If you’ve heard about the merits of OLED screens (built from millions of ‘organic’ light emitting diodes), then this offering from LG is sure to tempt. OLED holds a number of advantages over traditional LCD and Plasma television – it doesn’t require a backlight, which means that the television can be made incredibly thin. What’s more, you’ll get the sorts of contrast ratios that are only possible with OLED; since the technology allows every pixel to be individually dimmed, it’s possible for blacks to be really black, while whites can be brilliant and piercing. The result is an image that truly ‘pops’ from the screen – and which is sure to bring the absolute best from your films and television. As recently as August, What Hi-Fi? singled out LG displays as having ‘hit the jackpot this year’. These particular displays are noteworthy as they represents a relatively affordable point of entry into the world of OLED – and so if you’re in the market for an OLED, there are few better places to jump on board.
Samsung are a manufacturer with considerable – almost unparalleled – pedigree in the world of television. Each member of their current line-up maintain their lofty standards, with each of them earning the five-star accolade from What Hi-Fi?. You therefore won’t need to worry about variations in quality between the sets on offer; you’ll simply need to select one that’s suitable for your interior space and budget.
Samsung have seen fit not to pursue OLED displays for the time being, concentrating instead on their Quantum Dot technology. This set is evidence that their approach is worthwhile, and that there’s plenty of life in the LCD format yet. The current roster offers televisions of both the curved and flat-panel varieties – so you’ll be able to choose the sort which most closely matches your taste. If you’re not yet sold on the power of an OLED television, then this line-up of bright, vivid HDR televisions are sure to make the case for traditional LCD in your home. You’ll get fine detail, sharp edges and smooth movement, as well as an improved interface. What more could you ask for?
If you’re looking for the most cutting edge technologies, like Ultra SMR (smooth motion rate) and HDR, then you’ll want to consider this offering from Hisense. It offers these features in a tempting 55” package, and comes with HDMI2.0 sockets that’ll allow you to display 4k content. You’ll also get connectivity over WiFi, and all of the internet-browsing and streaming capability that goes with it. While Hisense might not command quite the same prestige as some of the bigger, specialist names in the world of television, this product remains one that holds its own, and is worthy of consideration. With a brushed-metal frame, powerful functionality and a stunning, sharp picture, this offering from Hisense will provide a great 4k experience that doesn’t cost the Earth.