The Screen Scene at CES

The crazy, chaotic and exciting Consumer Electronics Show is here and walking through the halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center, one thing is very clear: display technology is changing faster and more furiously than you can imagine.

There are lots of things to notice and appreciate about CES but you’d have to be blind to miss the proliferation of incredible new TV screens. Here’s a short list of some of the most impressive models I’ve seen over the past few days.

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Sony Bravia X900C
This gigantic 65-inch display is only, gulp, 4.9 millimeters thick. Yes, I didn’t make that up, this screen is thinner than an iPhone 6. From the front it’s big, sharp, and beautiful, and from the side you can barely see it. It has eight million pixels to work with, so despite its narrow profile, it boasts sharper contrast, clearer blues and greens, and a more vivid picture than its 4K brethren. It won’t be available until spring and while the prices hasn’t yet been set, expect to pay a pretty penny for this svelte screen.

Samsung’s 110-Inch 8K Glassesless 3DTV

This year Samsung is showing off this huge 110-inch monster. By far the biggest crowd at Samsung’s booth was there for a huge 110-inch TV that not only showcased 8K resolution, but also 3D display technology that doesn’t require 3D glasses. With 16 times the pixels of home HD TV’s. this is television on a whole new level. This thing has somewhere in the ballpark of 16 million pixels and they’re virtually unseeable. Also from Samsung is a new wave in display technology where screens are outfitted with transparent OLED screens. Super cool.

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LG Quantum Dot

Another entrant in the giant, skinny and beautiful television competition is the LG 65-inch UF9400 Quantum Dot 4K. This TV is fundamentally an LCD panel — the same technology currently found in living rooms around the world — but it incorporates a layer of quantum dots, which are extraordinarily small — as tiny as 20 atoms thick — also called “nanocrystals.” The size of these crystals determines the color of a pixel and it can be controlled precisely. The result is unprecedented color reproduction, as much as 30% better than regular LCDs. Quantum dots are part of LG’s proprietary technology, which also boasts improved color at off-angle viewing; a common issue with many LCD sets. This is another stunner of a set and once again is as yet unpriced.

Dell's UltraSharp u3415w display.

Dell’s UltraSharp u3415w display.

It’s a Curved World

If 3D TV’s were a big deal in previous years, this year it’s all about the curve. Samsung’s curved models inspired a new all-in-one PC with a curved display, and Hewlett-Packard and Dell announced new 34-inch curved displays. At first, the monitors seem like regular flat LCD panels. The slight curvature is noticeable only after closer inspection, but having the screen closer to the eyes undoubtedly provides a more intimate viewing experience. Lots of people expect to see only curved screens in the workstation of the future. The Hisense 4K curved screen had the sharpest picture quality of any TV I saw at the show. It’s not available in US yet but it offers a truly stunning image.

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Sharp’s New 8k, um, 4k TV

4K TVs are no longer the hottest thing on the block so manufacturers are bending over backward to show you that their sets are somehow more 4K than everyone else’s. Is it possible for even more “k”? Check out Sharp’s newly unveiled 2015 lineup, the 80-inch AQUOS Beyond 4K Ultra HD TV. Its effectively cuts pixels in half vertically and lets subpixels create their own color values, leading to a near-8K (7,680 x 4,320) picture. Sharp is only making this technology available in an 80-inch screen. Pricing was not announced but there’s no way on earth it will be affordable to the masses.

Sharp’s Transparent Screen

Sharp’s new see-through display technology has remarkable implications for display marketing. In the video above the bottles of wine are actually behind the screen, not on it. It’s not hard to imagine how retail windows or simply “blank” walls could utilize this technology to influence point of purchase decisions offer discounting and personalize greetings. Who knew that the future would be invisible?