The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas is always a great start-of-the-year treat for home cinema fans, and 2024’s been no different.
Over the past week, our team of experts at the show have seen everything from cutting-edge transparent micro LED concept TVs to super affordable wireless Dolby Atmos systems make their debut on the tradeshow floor.
And while the volume of cool new kit appearing at the show is awesome, it can also make knowing which specific announcements you should care about pretty tricky. This is why we’ve created this list detailing the six most exciting home cinema products to appear at CES 2024.
LG OLED T
LG’s got a track record for showing off whacky TVs at CES and this year it proudly continued this tradition, unveiling its OLED T.
The T is a transparent OLED built using the same wireless technology as the company's M4 set. We’re putting this list over Samsung’s micro LED concept because you’ll be able to buy it at some point later this year.
LG has not revealed the OLED T's retail price. But based on the 100 grand-plus it charged for the rolling OLED R, we’re fairly sure it’ll be more expensive than the firm’s standard LG G4 and LG C4 OLEDs, which also made their debut at the show, by a considerable margin.
And while our editor-in-chief personally wished the company had made more of an effort to create cheaper OLEDs over uber-expensive next-gen kit for one-percenters, there’s no denying the underlying technology is exciting, hence the OLED T’s place on this list.
Sharp's affordable wireless Dolby Atmos kit
Wireless Dolby Atmos audio was a hot topic in 2023, with companies including JBL and Sony releasing cool new soundbars with wireless subwoofers and satellite speakers.
This year Sharp decided to jump on the bandwagon at CES 2024, where it unveiled its new HT-SB700 soundbar, HT-AWS0101 wireless flat subwoofer and HT-AWS2001 wireless rear surround speakers.
The new hardware is the first to feature AQUOS Wireless Surround Technology which transmits multi-channel sound, including Dolby Atmos, wirelessly from compatible Sharp TVs.
While we’ve seen similar set-ups to this before, there’s one key reason we’re excited about Sharp’s new kit and can’t wait to get it into our listening rooms – its price.
The HT-SB700 soundbar is set to retail for £189 / €199, while the HT-AWS2001 rear surround speakers and the HT-AWS0101 wireless subwoofer are expected to cost £209 / €239 and £139 / €159 respectively when they launch in March.
That makes them significantly cheaper than most competing wireless Atmos soundbar packages, and a very exciting prospect for home cinema fans on a budget. Hopefully, they’ll deliver decent results when we get them in for testing.
The Panasonic Z95A was a big surprise for our team of TV reviewers, who had previously been expecting the company to unveil the hotly rumoured NZ2000 OLED TV at CES 2024.
And while the Z95A isn’t a massive departure from what we expected Panasonic to do in 2024 from a hardware perspective, featuring the same MLA panel tech as last year’s Panasonic MZ2000, it did herald one big change for the company – a move to using Amazon’s Fire OS software, rather than Panasonic’s own My Home Screen.
Why’s that a big deal? It’s because, while it’s fairly intuitive to use, My Home Screen has always been a minor annoyance whenever we review, or long-term use Panasonic TVs. As well as being slightly slow, the OS app and feature library aren’t as developed as some rivals, including LG’s WebOS and Android TV. There are no specialist services like CrunchyRoll or Shudder, and it doesn’t feature the full-fat version of Apple TV, for example.
This is why the move to Amazon Fire OS, which has a much more developed service library makes sense and could be a very positive step for Panasonic TVs in 2024. This, plus the very positive impression it left on our TV/AV Editor Tom Parsons after he had a brief chance to test it at CES makes the Z95A one of the most exciting OLEDs to arrive at the show this year.
TCL QM891G, 115-inch mini LED
But it caught our TV/AV editor’s attention straight away at the show thanks to its incredible specs. Specifically, the fact that it comes loaded with a 115-inch Mini LED panel with 20,000 dimming zones and a quoted 5000 nits max brightness.
The dimming zones are the big selling point here. One of the regular issues you get when stretching out mini-LED panels to larger sizes is that unless they have a large amount of dimming zones, the larger size can lead to some picture quality issues like blooming, where an unwanted halo effect can appear around objects in the image.
Having more dimming zones can combat this by giving the panel more flexibility and granular control over sections of the screen. And from what our TV editor saw it works wonderfully well on the QM891G, with him reporting:
“Blooming was kept very well in check, too. The demo footage included some very stark tests of contrast – a sparkling, gem-encrusted ring against a pure black background, for example – and there was barely any glow around the bright highlights, particularly when viewing the TV head-on.”
The TCL QM891G’s performed so well during his demo, that he went so far as to pen a special opinion piece explaining why the set is now on his birthday wishlist for 2024.
The 42/48-inch Samsung S90D and S85D
With most of our writers and reviewers being based in the UK, the What Hi-Fi? team has never made a secret about its desire to see more small OLEDs hit the market. Last year, the only real company making a serious effort to plug this gap was LG, which offered its C3 in 42 and 48-inch sizes.
And while we liked these sets, to the point they still feature in our best small TV guide, they weren’t perfect, with audio in particular being sub-par during our tests. This is why this CES we were super excited to see Samsung enter the ring with its new 42-inch S85D and 48-inch S90D. The sets are the latest to challenge LG, and while we’ve not had a chance to test either, their very existence is exciting and a sign that 2024 may finally be the year companies start taking the small OLED market seriously.
Xgimi Horizon Max
Xgimi loves being the first company to do something, with it having unveiled the first Dolby Atmos compatible projector mere months ago. It chose to continue this focus at CES when it launched the Horizon Max, which it claims is the first IMAX Enhanced long throw projector.
At first glance, it looks a lot like its Dolby sibling, the Horizon Ultra, featuring a boxy design with a wood panelling front finish. But under the hood it comes with a reworked “dual light system” that Xgimi claims makes it “35 per cent brighter” than the Horizon. As an added layer of allure, it also features a new Intelligent Screen Adaptation 5.0 (or ISA) which Xgimi claims “lets the projector run on autopilot” and recognise different surfaces and adapt its picture as necessary.
We didn’t get a chance to test the Max at CES, but the promised upgrades, and inclusion of IMAX Enhanced, which traditionally only features on premium projectors, is enough to pique our interest and earn it a place on this list. Here’s hoping it performs as well as Xgimi claims when we get it into our test rooms later this year.
Hisense Rolling Laser TV
Hisense hasn’t shied away from the ridiculous and sublime at CES, with its 8K Sonic Screen Laser TV and 110-inch ULED X TV with 40,000 backlighting zones being two of the most hardcore AV products announced at this year’s expo.
However, it's the Rollable Laser TV that’s caught my eye, specifically as it’s a perfect throwback to a product from a past CES.
I instantly drew connections to LG’s ridiculous Rollable OLED TV from 2019, but this time around, it seems much more practical and generally more of a realistic product proposition. While Hisense hasn’t revealed much in terms of specs, the product itself is a much smarter way of achieving the rollable dream.
Combining a Laser TV projector with an ambient light-rejecting screen that neatly tucks away when not in use is something I could see myself using, and maybe even affording compared to the ludicrous £100K asking price of LG’s concept.
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