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New TVs lack a killer feature, and more tech news you need to know

Why would you buy a 2020-era TV? The list of reasons is short because 8K, MicroLED, and the like don't cut it. Yet.

Published onJanuary 15, 2020

LG OLED Signature R TV

Your tech digest, by way of the DGiT Daily newsletter, for Wednesday, January 15.

1. “Don’t buy a new TV”: yup

Gizmodo is on the money post-CES, explaining why the latest and greatest TV technology trends are …actually not completely amazing or necessary just yet?

  • This comes on the heels of dramatically cheaper 4K TVs, and smart TVs that use Roku or Android TV instead of the old bad manufacturer interfaces.
  • And there’s an increasing rollout of 4K HDR content for those 4K HDR screens, meaning the content has caught up with the hardware, and for $500 you can get a great screen.

What’s next and why doesn’t it matter enough? Here’s what Gizmodo’s Adam Clark Estes noted out of CES 2020:

  • “There is a new generation of TVs that offer 8K resolution, speakers embedded in the screen, and new display technology like microLED. This was all on display at CES, although it seems useless for the average person.”
  • “There’s not much 8K content to display on fancy new 8K TVs. Most reasonable people use soundbars instead of their TV speakers, and microLED technology still isn’t ready for prime time. That means that most of what major TV makers are putting on the market this year is just a slightly upgraded version of what they offered last year and the year before. And those older TVs are cheaper than ever.”
  • Conclusion: “All of these new TVs are terrific and beautiful, but none of them are really revolutionary.”
  • It’s all true! And it’s not uncommon for TV makers to push technologies that sound great but don’t always do much.
  •  For a long time early 4K TVs were much too early and expensively pointless, and even now it’s more likely you’ll be watching something at less high resolution, due to terrestrial TV or cable limitations, along with broadband limitations for streaming 4K from Netflix et al.
  • So the headline “don’t buy a new TV” is really about emphasis: feel free to buy a new one! Just don’t buy the newest ones.

Even the manufacturers aren’t trying to convince you, just yet:

  • Olivier Semenoux, Head of Product Management at TCL, at CES, truthfully admitted to one of my Android Authority colleagues that 8K content beyond YouTube won’t be available for “1-2 years”, noting that the emphasis is on encouraging people to future-proof for 8K content if they do need to buy a new TV, rather than buying something without compatibility.
  • Which is true, but a high-end 8K TV is going to run you closer to $5000 than $500, and buyer’s remorse is looking pretty unlikely unless you really really love to be on the bleeding edge, and don’t mind first-generation products.

What should you buy instead?

  • Budget: At just about any size TV, the likes of the TCL 5-series offers great 4K UHD budget options, while the TCL 6-Series is step up in quality, along with price tag.
  • Premium: The LG OLEDB9P series, with its brilliant OLED display, offers the best of current technology at an affordable price, while the comparable C9 series is a touch more and you get better image quality.

2. A 15-second-long hands-on video of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus has emerged, and the middle-tier 6.7-inch display device coming next month looks powerful (Android Authority).

3. Also there’s some explaining to do around the Samsung Galaxy S20 120Hz display refresh rate rumors (Android Authority).

4. Deal: Kindle Basic and Kindle Paperwhite on sale for 35% off, which is Black Friday level pricing (Android Authority).

5. Trump criticizes Apple’s encryption stance on Pensacola phones, ACLU defends Apple (Reuters).

6. Disney+ was the most downloaded app in the US in Q4 2019 (Sensor Tower).

7. How digital sleuths unraveled the mystery of Iran’s plane crash (Wired).

8.  Coral is Google’s quiet initiative to enable AI without the cloud (The Verge).

9. Google says it will phase out support for third-party cookies in Chrome within two years, which will transform the cookie-tracking ad industry and probably would be bigger news if Chrome wasn’t part of Google which will likely stand to benefit (

10. Instagram starts bringing DMs to the web (The Verge).

11. Visa, Plaid, Networks, and Jobs (Stratechery).

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