Scott is back from CES and this week he wants to talk about the audio gadgets he saw. A lot of the high end audio was at the Venetian Hotel. But Scott says that audio had a much smaller presence at CES this year, and Scott thinks that audio companies are going to be going to regional shows to offer their goods, rather than spend a ton of money at CES. And it's difficult to rise above the noise at a larger convention. Smaller, regional shows offer a big fish in a small pond kind of vibe.
Scott put in his customary 28 miles of walking during CES and he saw some really cool TVs. One thing he saw was a TV with Dual Layer Modulation LEDs, which uses two LED screens to deepen color and dynamic range. The one behind is black and white only, which is used to dim each pixel separately. The contrast ratios are approaching 1 million to one! HiSense had one with 3000 nits of brightness and a black level of .0003. MicroLEDs were also huge. Samsung showed off a 75" 4K microLED that was huge.
Scott says that next week is the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and he expects a ton of 8K TVs will be showcased. But they'll be extremely expensive and there's no real 8K content. So it'll be a while before it's worth investing in an 8K TV. The real improvement will be the new HDMI 2.1 standard. So any new TV should have that component architecture to it, and it will offer an increased bitrate of 48MBps. There will be improved low latency and variable frame rate as well. HMDI 2.1 will require new cables as well, but it will be fully backward compatible.
Scott just saw Spider-Man into the Spiderverse and he really enjoyed it. It's basically about an evil villain that breaks down the walls between universes and unites all the Spider-Man's to battle him.
Scott says that there are now 4K HDR projectors, and you can get them under $5,000. It sounds like a lot, but it really isn't considering where the prices were last year. Sony makes one that uses a technique called E-Shift, or 4K enhancement. The pixels 'wiggle' back and forth and can create close to 4K using 1080p imagers. It's pretty impressive. Scott says that the black levels are key to making the image really pop, and JVC is better with black levels than Sony. TheDLA-X790R is the one with great native contrast ratio and deep blacks.
This week, Scott says that Tom Cruise came out this week against "motion smoothing" in modern TVs and encourages fans to turn off frame interpolation on their TVs before watching Mission Impossible: Fallout on Blu-ray. Scott says it isn't trivial to find the feature and turn it off either. It's called something different with every manufacturer. On top of that, it's turned on by default. Motion smoothing, Vivid mode, or frame interpolation, sharpens your image, which can be helpful in watching sports or action movies.
Over Black Friday weekend, shoppers used their mobile devices to buy over a billion dollars in products. Total retail sales for November is 38 billion dollars. Are TVs better to buy during the Super Bowl, rather than Black Friday? Scott says maybe. They are later in the product cycle and the deals are to clear out models for the new models. So TVs are a better bargain the week before the Super Bowl. But Black Friday deals are pretty good for TVs if you need one.
Black Friday Deals are looking very good this year:
Scott got an email from a listener who wanted to stream using an old analog receiver and speakers, and Synology NAS. Scott says that the listener discovered that using the Chromecast audio (which has an analog/digital output) was the ideal solution. It works great with a powered speaker or a pair of speakers which are powered by the AV receiver. You have to set it on AUX, but if all you have is analog, this is a great workaround.
What is the difference between OLED and QLED? Scott says that OLED is Organic Light Emitting Diodes, and is based on organic chemistry, or carbon. That's how it makes light. QLED, on the other hand, stands for Quantum Dot Light Emitting Diode, and it's just a higher end LCD TV. The light source behind the panel is using quantum dots, including LEDs to illuminate the image. They are completely different technologies. But the "QLED" term confuses people, and they may think they're getting a special OLED screen, but they aren't.