The way we consume media is evolving faster than ever before, and smart TV experts are quick to note that 2021 is bringing us some of the most significant innovations yet. While some of these technology trends have yet to take off, others, like sales of big-screen TVs, are growing. Here are some of the latest trends in smart TV technology to keep an eye on.
Big Screen TVs Equal Big Sales
With movie theaters shuttered for the better part of last year, it’s no surprise TVs are getting bigger. Brands are introducing more and more big-screen options. In 2021, Smart TV experts expect 18% of TV sales to go to devices 60 inches or bigger and 70-inch plus screens are predicted to grow to 10% of the market.
Manufacturers are now optimized to produce massive LCD screens called ‘motherglass’ in their new factories. This allows brands like Samsung, LG, and Sony to introduce more large-screen models at affordable prices.
Improved Image Quality
HDR Programming is Coming
Screen technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace. The images on our TVs have the potential to be brighter, more vivid, and more lifelike. More and more devices are touting High-Dynamic Range or HDR capabilities. HDR programming gives viewers a broader range of colors and highlights compared to traditional TVs.
To take advantage of HDR programming, consumers need the right TV, with backlights producing 1000 nits or greater, and HDR-supported content. HDR10 and Dolby Vision are two of the major HDR formats. While Dolby requires a licensing fee, HDR10 is a license-free open format. Streaming services such as Netflix are starting to support HDR devices. Smart TV experts expect to see more content rolled out to support these formats in the coming years.
OLED and LED Backlights
OLED screens or organic light-emitting diodes can switch off individual pixels, creating a much higher contrast ratio than LED displays. OLEDs displays can also be very energy-efficient. When all-black, an OLED screen only uses 650-watts of electricity.
The same image quality can be achieved at a lower cost with full-array LED-backlit screens. These devices with LEDs across the entire back of the TV give more brightness control over each LED. Some makers are taking this one step further and using, allowing more LEDs to be used with even greater precision.
What About 8K?
With the rise of HDR, bigger TVs, and improved image quality, one might expect 8K pixel resolution to be taking off as well. However, smart TV experts say sales of 8K devices are still very slow. 8K means more pixels and vivid, lifelike images. Only big-screen TVs can take advantage of this. Broadcasters are still struggling with the bandwidth requirements for 4K content, and cable companies are unlikely to be able to support 8K content anytime soon.
8K may still be a long way off, but Smart TV experts predict that rollable screens may begin to be adopted soon. More practical than curved devices, these screens can be rolled into sleek compartments like projector screens. Considering rollable screens’ hefty price tags, consumers may instead turn to more affordable options like motorized mounts that allow height adjustment of their display.
Beyond screens, smart TV experts claim consumers will start to hear more about “Next-Gen TV.” Technically called ATSC 3.0, this is the term for the next generation of over-the-air TV signals picked up by an antenna. It can carry a lot more data than previous standards and can carry internet content alongside traditional over-the-air TV channels. This means broadcasters can offer streaming services alongside traditional TV channels. What’s even better is that this content could reach smartphones, tablets, or even cars. The “Next-Gen TV” rollout has been slowed by COVID, but it is ramping up again. To take advantage of this technology, consumers will need a TV with an ATSC 3.0 enabled tuner to receive these new signals.
The latest smart TV trends are pushing the bounds of what is possible. At Sidespin Group, we know smart TV patents often lag behind the current trends. As the companies incorporate new technology into their devices, our Smart TV expert witness team expects to see more Smart TV patent infringement.