OPINION: Every year we make guesses as to what the year could hold for TV and audio products. Sometimes we’re right and oftentimes, we’re very wrong.
But that’s the fun of speculation – not everything turns out as you would expect. Last year we predicted that 8K TVs would hit £1000, but the introduction of Mini LED technology to 8K models actually kept the price up. Other predictions included OLED TVs becoming affordable (thumbs up) and Mini LED to make waves in the market (yes). Although our prediction about Micro LED failed to come to anything.
This could be another interesting year, but we do wonder if things could get a little… messy.
Philips, Samsung, LG, TCL and Hisense all brought Mini LED TVs to the market. Samsung arguably had the greatest success, the Mini LED Neo QLED range producing a transformational performance for both their 4K and 8K TVs.
LG introduced its QNED Mini LED TVs but both the 4K and 8K models were expensive. Philips and Hisense’s efforts entered the market late in the year, while TCL still seems to be establishing itself as a presence within the UK market.
But with a year under their belt, we’re certain they’ll be back for another round. Mini-LED’s introduction to the UK market was a quiet revolution but expect it to gain more traction as time goes on.
QD-OLED to take the stage
There have been persistent rumours about QD-OLED TVs coming to the market. QD-OLED or Quantum Dot Displays as Samsung would prefer you to call them, are the Korean firm’s alternative to LG’s WRGB OLED panels, aspiring to offer higher peak brightness than OLED is capable of.
And scuttlebutt would suggest Samsung has achieved that goal – we wouldn’t expect them to launch an inferior product to OLED. It’s also been mentioned in online dispatches that Panasonic and Sony are sniffing around, the latter reportedly looking to release 55- and 65-inch QD Displays.
It would bring disruption to a market LG has dominated, but could also bring confusion to consumers as to what model they should go for.
A focus on affordable soundbars
We reviewed lots of soundbars, and the vast majority of them haven’t been behemoths but compact single bar efforts with a Dolby Atmos component. And they’ve been relatively affordable in the grand scheme of things.
Denon, Sonos, JBL Yamaha, LG, Polk, TCL, Panasonic – the list of brands who released a compact soundbar is long and isn’t likely to stop. The market has become competitive but with people looking for smaller solutions to solving their TV audio woes, we can see compact soundbars becoming even more popular in 2022.
The gaming TV battleground to heat up further
LG will launch a 42-inch OLED primarily intended to hoover up cash from gamers. It will be one of many salvos TV manufacturers launch at each other throughout the year.
Alongside the rise of competitive e-gaming, TV manufacturers have been putting out the boat to get gamers to choose their TVs. Advanced gaming features such as VRR, ALLM and 4K/120 are all helping to elevate the experience, with major TV brands reducing latency on their TVs, too.
No brand has done more than LG to promote gaming on TVs. By the time you read this, Google Stadia and Nvidia GeForce NOW will be supported, making LG tellies the most gaming friendly options around. Xbox Game Pass is coming to TVs but which TV platform will it land on first? Hopefully, we’ll get an answer in 2022.
TV interfaces to become the centre of your home
The pandemic has led to a slight reboot of TV interfaces. You may have noticed more manufacturers are adding wellness features, but as people are staying at home a bit more and consuming hundreds of hours of content on the biggest screen in the house, that’s led to brands seeking out more entertainment options.
And we believe that will continue in 2022. Expect gaming to be a big focus for manufacturers as mentioned above. We think interfaces will become slicker, with more smarts and more options than ever before. Couch potatoes rejoice.
The battle of the flagship headphones
Bose launched the QuietComfort 45 in 2021. We expect Technics to launch their flagship EAH-800 in 2022, and Sony tends to release a new model in their WH-1000X series every two years – so we’re primed for a new entry in 2022. Could we expect new models from Bowers & Wilkins, Sennheiser and others? It’s been a while since their last flagship efforts, so potentially.