By Chris Chinnock

February 21, 2023

Reading Time:
8 Minutes

CES 2023 almost returned to normal this year with lots of exhibitors and people, but not yet back to pre-pandemic levels. The show has evolved over the years with auto technology, health, AI, AR/VR and more taking a bigger focus. The major consumer electronics brands still talk about TVs as the universal hub for entertainment, health, social interaction, gaming, and home monitoring. But TVs were far less visible and prominent at CES this year.

In another shift, many brands are choosing to use Las Vegas hotels for more invitation-only meetings to showcase technology including displays and TVs, while others plan separate events to reveal their TV lines, as Sony now plans to do.

8K TV Trend

8K TVs have been highlighted by many TV brands at CES for the last few years, but 2023 marked a change. Only Samsung doubled-down on 8K while others are pulling back and/or de-emphasizing the technology. What’s driving this are several factors. The first is the slow pace of sales of the TVs. High prices, the lack of native 8K content and not always discernible difference between the picture quality of a 4K TV and 8K TV's have made them hard to sell at retail. New energy regulations that come into effect in the EU in March is also having a dampening effect. These updated regulations set energy consumption limits for 8K and microLEDs TVs. All 2022 8K and microLED TVs fail these limits and would be outlawed for sale. Reducing power consumption for normal TV watching on these HDR displays to meet the new level is going to be extremely difficult.

However, there is a workaround that is likely to happen. This requires a new out-of-box SDR eco-mode that will limit the luminance and therefore the power consumption of the TVs. But consumers won’t like this mode as it will be dim, so they will need to choose another mode for normal viewing. That will be a marketing challenge for the TV brands, and it is unclear if the EU regulators would support this workaround.

The ruling has consequences beyond just TVs as without an 8K display, many other efforts in the 8K value chain will come to a halt. This means the EU will fall behind on developing key video innovations – a kind of unintended consequence of the regulation. Only time will tell how this all plays out.

So how are TV brands reacting? TCL says it will withdraw its 8K TVs from the EU market, but other brands like Sony, LG and Samsung seem more likely to adopt a new eco-mode to meet the letter of the regulations. Others seem unclear on how they will proceed.

Samsung still believes in the 8K market and announced new initiatives at CES. To address the 8K content concern, they have added a new dedicated menu item called 8K YouTube, which will continuously play curated 8K content on the owner’s TV (see image). Samsung has also partnered with content providers to offer 8K still images to run in ambient mode. This content is also available for purchase via an NFT mechanism. Their 8K TV line also gets some picture quality upgrades and a new 98” model.

Image courtesy of Insight Media

TCL showed their high-zone, mini-LED-based 98” ODZero 8K TV (spec sheet below) that will come to market in China first with commercialization in other regions a bit fuzzy. They also showed prototypes of a 480Hz 8K display with some picture quality issues and a 65” 8K ink-jet-printed OLED display that looked terrific and slated for 2024/2025 commercialization if TCL and J-OLED can commit to a mass-production facility. 

Graphic information courtesy of Insight Media

The other brands showed an 8K TV or two but were clearly focused on 4K sets. LG Electronics shared their 8K OLED TVs are slated to get a processor upgrade and the new microlens array technology will also be applied to the G3 line of 4K OLED TV which may be useful to lower power consumption to help meet the EU regulations. As far as LG’s 8K LCD models, no new models were announced, but the QNED99 will continue in select markets for what seems to be a limited time.

Sharp will re-enter the U.S. TV market with a line of Aquos-branded LCD and OLED TVs, but no 8K models are planned. Panasonic, Hisense, Skyworth, and Konka all announced new TVs but no 8K models.

4K TV Trend

Most of the advancements seem focused on 4K resolution displays. First, wireless, or nearly-wireless displays got a lot of attention this year at CES. LG Electronics announced their Zero Connect TV (a clear play on Samsung’s One Connect TVs). Both LG and Samsung package all the electronics and connectors in an external box that Samsung connects to the TV with a fiber optic cable and LG does wirelessly. Note that power is still required for the TV so not fully wireless. LG did not disclose the protocol it is using for the audio/video connection, but it does require a line-of-sight connection. That could mean a Li-Fi technology, but perhaps more likely, mmWave 5G technology.

On the other hand, a new company called Displace, introduced a wireless TV solution that includes hot swappable­ batteries in the TV for a fully-wireless solution. The 4K OLED display uses Wi-Fi-6E protocol that they claim can support six 4K TVs, and soon, six 8K TVs. They did this so that a customer can buy four of them and assemble as an 8K video wall. This is not a line-of-sight solution so unclear why LG thought it necessary to go the direction they did when Wi-Fi 6E would have sufficed. Displace also announced a vacuum mounting solution with two backup solutions should the vacuum fail.

Image courtesy of Insight Media

Another clear trend is adding more LEDs and dimming zones to LCD TV backlights and upgrading to miniLEDs. For example, Hisense is doubling the number of dimming zones and adding miniLEDs even to their value TVs. Their high-end UX line, topped with an 85” model, offers 20K miniLEDs, over 5000 dimming zones, 16-bit backlight processing, quantum dots, 2500 nits of luminance, a low reflection screen, a 30% increase in the viewing angle, 144Hz panels, and an ATSC 3.0 tuner. Those are impressive features and specs, and the TVs look great. Pricing was not announced but will clearly be below the top brands.

TCL was not quite as aggressive with their upgrades but showed similar trends – maybe a little more focused on gaming features, IMAX enhanced support, and support for all the HDR formats. Other brands did not reveal much at all.

Laser TV Trend

Laser TVs are becoming their own category as well. Hisense really developed the category offering an ultra-short throw projector, a fullTV O/S, and an ambient light rejecting (ALR) screen as a packaged solution. They offer single laser (blue laser plus yellow phosphor wheel) or triple laser (RGB) solutions. At CES, they announced they are moving from Android TV to Google TV, changing the screen to a Daylight 1.0 Gain ALR, while adding Wi-Fi 6E, and an ATSC 3.0 tuner. These are all 4K resolution solutions that use a 1920 x 1080 DLP chip set and pixel-shifting optics to project 4K pixels on the screen.

Image courtesy of Insight Media

New at CES are 8K TVs from Hisense and Samsung. Both will use a large 4K DLP chip and pixel-shifting optics, but pricing will likely be north of $25K.

OLED Trend

LG Display used its private suite to showcase upgrades to its OLED technology. Highlighted was their microlens array technology, first shown at Display Week 2022, which they call META. LGD says there are 42.5 billion microlenses in a display or 5000 per pixel with the diameter of each lens on the order of 10 microns. An image of a sub-pixel suggested more like 100 lenses per sub-pixel not thousands, so maybe that was not a real image. The advantage of the META architecture is a 60% boost in brightness (to 2100 nits for a small window in Vivid mode) and a 30% increase in viewing angle. This will be implemented in LG Electronics’ G3 line of TVs with other brands expected to adopt the technology as well.

For 2024, LG Display will introduce what they call META Boost. This technology addresses a current algorithm limitation that can only boost brightness for video with an average picture level (APL) of 25% or higher. The G4 version will boost all APL levels and drive the peak luminance to 3000 nits (again, in a small window in Vivid mode).

Graphics courtesy of LG Display

Samsung Display used its suite to highlight its boost in luminance for it QD-OLED panels from 1500 nits to 2000 nits (3% window, Vivid mode). QD-OLED technology was first introduced at CES 2022 and consists of an OLED blue layer with red and green quantum dot subpixel patterning. This enables a much larger color volume compared to the white-OLED panels made by LG Display.

This luminance increase is not done with any new thermal management techniques or lens arrays, but through a combination of refinements. This includes a “hyper-efficient” blue OLED layer (not with new phosphorescent blue OLED materials, but possibly with an optimized electron transport layer), minimization of light absorption, and enhanced light resonance. They have also added improved pixel control and a real time optimizer.  Overall, they say lifetime (or reliability) has nearly doubled from 2022 models.

The 2023 QD-OLED panels also use less power, allowing them to meet the EU energy requirements.

The 2023 TV panels, including the new 77” version and will support frame rates up to 120Hz, while monitor panels, including the new 49” 8Kx 2K version, can go up to 144 Hz. Gray-to-gray transition time is specked at asmall 0.1 ms and monitor makers will be able develop products that support Nvidia G-Sync Ultimate, AMD Free Sync Premium Pro, TrueBlack and low-blue-light certifications.

microLED Trend

While some TV brands showed microLED direct-view TVs, Samsung was the only one with a clear focus on commercializing the technology.  In their private suite at Caesars’ Palace, they showed microLED TVs in 50", 63", 76", 89",101", 114" and 146" screen sizes. These are apparently based on the 7.9" microLED module which uses an LTPS backplane on a glass substrate with a 0.5 mm pixel pitch. That means each of the demonstrated displays have a different resolution.

Image courtesy of Insight Media

Not all of these screen sizes will be commercialized, and it is unclear what screen sizes will actually get to market in 2023 - we need to wait and see. Samsung did describe how they have moved from a pick-and-place transfer technique to a laser-based line transfer approach, which will definitely help to speed up the process and reduce costs - but still not to ordinary consumer level pricing in 2023.


There is always good display news from CES – if you know where to look and can probe beyond the marketing speak of most representatives. For more  details on all the Insight Media news from CES 2023, checkout the CES video playlist on YouTube.