CES 2019 TVs preview: Get ready for 8K AI rollable OLED with Alexa

Samsung just started selling the first 8K TV in the US, the $15,000 85-inch Q900, and LG showed an 88-inch 8K OLED at IFA in Berlin, targeting a 2019 sale date.

Las Vegas skyline at sunset

Ready or not, the 2019 International CES — aka Nerds in Vegas — is just around the corner. And for TV hardware nerds like me, it’s like a second Christmas.

CES is the place where TV makers unveil their latest creations, both “stuff we’re going to sell this year” and “wacky concepts and new tech we may never sell, but looks hella cool.” The massive booths and sprawling show floor lend themselves to big screens used in creative ways, which helps explain why CES seems more about televisions than any other kind of gadget.

So what TVs can you expect at CES 2019? I have some educated guesses. In fact, most of the TV makers have already told me about a lot of the stuff they’re gonna have at the show. I can’t officially reveal it yet, but what you’re about to read provides a pretty good approximation of what I know. That said, there’s always a surprise or two in store.

Rollin’ with the OLED homies

Frankly, I was as surprised as anyone to learn that the coolest concept TV of last year’s CES — an OLED TV that can roll up like a poster to disappear inside a trim, little box — is reportedly going on sale in 2019.

Why? Aside from the obvious answer of “because they can,” a roll-up TV is truly useful. As I wrote last year: “One of the worst things about big-screen TVs is the necessity for a massive swath of black plastic taking up a chunk of wall when it’s turned off. With a rollable TV that’s no longer an issue, and that practicality is the main reason I think LG Display will want to perfect this technology and help manufacturers bring it to market sooner rather than later.”

Looks like “sooner” will win.

8K for sale! Get yer 8K TVs, rich guy!

Samsung just started selling the first 8K TV in the US, the $15,000 85-inch Q900, and LG showed an 88-inch 8K OLED at IFA in Berlin, targeting a 2019 sale date. At CES 2019 you can expect more higher-than-4K-resolution TVs to be announced, not only from Samsung (which is already selling smaller, cheaper 8K TVs in Europe) and LG, but perhaps from Sony, Vizio, TCL and Hisense.

All of these TVs will likely be very expensive in 2019, and I don’t expect the resolution increase alone to be worth the cost. But over the next few years, 8K will likely come down in price and start to become the default resolution for very large screen sizes, much like 4K is already the default for TVs 55 inches and above.

Bigger and higher deffer

Speaking of very large screens:

“The main trend is clearly big screen TVs, really big screens, continuing to be a growing part of market,” says Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD Group. “And of course you saw a manifestation of that during Thanksgiving with the $398 65-inch TVs Walmart was selling.”

Here’s Baker’s quarterly sales numbers for TVs sized 65 inches and above, showing a gradual yet steady increase nearly every quarter (Q4 2018 numbers were not available at press time). More

DAVID KATZMAIER

cnet.com