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Next-generation TVs might try to force AI upon you

When it comes to tech, people usually fall into two camps. Some prefer their gadgets, whether it’s a phone, car, or TV, to do everything possible in one go. Others lean towards a more specialized device that may do fewer things but excel at each of them. The folks in the second group missed the boat a long time ago, especially in the TV scene. It was crystal clear at CES 2024 with the overwhelming wave of AI. Every press release had a chunk about AI, and every exec at a press conference was gushing about how awesome their AI is.

Sure, AI is just a fancy abbreviation. “Artificial intelligence” is basically a fresh approach to processing and making sense of data. As we discovered at the different Las Vegas happenings where they revealed the 2024 TVs, manufacturers are incorporating AI in various ways.

“Better processing makes a better picture,” Scott Ramirez, TCL’s vice president of marketing and development, said in his company’s press conference. “It just does.” He’s got a point. AI-driven upscaling has been around for quite some time. It took a bit before it made its way into actual TVs—Nvidia had it in their Shield TV device as far back as 2017—but now it’s a permanent fixture.

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OEMs making the AI push in TVs

In 2024, TCL is going all-in on this type of AI-powered upscaling, using a set of three processors across the board. The S5 and Q6 TVs pack the AIPQ processor, while the QM7 and QM8 boast the AIPQ Pro. As for the gigantic 115-inch QM89 TV, it’s rocking the AIPQ Ultra. Lots of stuff revealed at CES went beyond just upgrading content, which is pretty much the basic requirement these days.

“Our Hi-View Engine chipsets are ushering in a new era of user experience,” David Gold, vice president of Hisense International and president of Hisense Americas, said at his company’s CES press conference. “Our commitment extends beyond superior picture quality and performance. It is about tailoring experiences for the entire family.”

Doug Kern, the marketing head at Hisense USA, pretty much shared the same story.

“These features, technologies, and images on the screen need to work together,” Kern said. “It’s a state-of-the-art AI chipset that utilizes deep learning and an array of technologies to refine the viewing experience.”

AI processing is not just about fixing blurry spots

However, AI processing has evolved significantly beyond just looking at the entire picture and fixing blurry spots.

“Through local tone mapping optimization, it assesses hundreds of thousands of image areas,” Kern said. “Its face detection feature recognizes faces in the image and adjusts for a more natural appearance.”

The upcoming Hisense TV could come with built-in facial recognition. It’s a bit like an anti-camera for Hisense. Instead of identifying your face, it spots a face on the screen and adjusts things in some way. Or if you want to think big, picture a company recognizing someone like Tom Cruise and then suggesting other movies.

LG went above and beyond, spinning a story of AI ingrained in the very fabric of the company, not just a feature in one product.

“The AI brain of LG that we envision is a powerful engine with orchestrated processes,” CEO William (Joowan) Cho said at the press conference that kicks off every CES. “It starts from focusing customers’ needs through interactive conversation, or contextual understanding, like behavior patterns and emotions. And ultimately the AI brain generates optimal solutions to prompt tangible actions by orchestrating physical devices. So we call this, ‘Orchestrated intelligence.'”

That’s some high-flying stuff. Alongside the regular AI processing we covered earlier, LG is taking it up a notch by recognizing users through their voice and applying the right user profile. As Matthew Durgin, the VP of home entertainment content and services, put it, the new Alpha 11 processor lets “LG TVs recognize you.”

Also Read: Will Apple Vision Pro work for you if you have glasses or contacts?

LG’s 2024 TV took AI to new heights

LG already showcased its new QNED TVs and soundbars before CES. Later it showcased the 2024 OLED TV lineup. Essentially, take everything that made the 2023 models awesome and throw in some extra superlatives: larger, brighter, faster, and more powerful.

Let’s dive into the powerhouse upgrade. The LG Signature OLED M4 and OLED G4 now come equipped with α 11 (pronounced “alpha eleven”) processors. According to LG, this means a whopping 70% increase in graphics performance and up to 30% faster processing speeds. They’re calling it the “α 11 AI” processor because, well, everything needs a dash of AI these days. Beyond just turning your OLED TV into more than a big, black rectangle in your living room, all that processing power is dedicated to enhancing the picture. This is a big deal in the age of overly compressed streaming video, especially for live, linear TV.

And according to LG, it accomplishes all of that pixel by pixel. Not just by considering the whole picture or even a few zones on the screen, but by scrutinizing each and every dot. LG claims it uses precise pixel-level image analysis to effectively sharpen objects and backgrounds that may appear blurry. Now, who wouldn’t want that?

“All driven by the discerning judgment of the AI itself, delivering a more clear and vibrant viewing experience. Moreover, the ingenious AI processor adeptly refines colors by analyzing frequently used shades that best convey the mood and emotional elements intended by filmmakers and content creators,” LG said.

So, the on-the-fly processing is supposed to evoke all the feels—LG claims it will even make things appear more three-dimensional, courtesy of “Dynamic Tone Mapping Pro.”

The M4 lineup now spans from 65 inches to a whopping 97 inches diagonally. If you’re a fan of the wireless TV concept—where the Zero Connect Box handles the heavy lifting and transmits the image data to the panel—it’s making a comeback in the upcoming series, capable of handling 4K resolution at refresh rates of up to 144 Hz. In contrast, the 2023 M3 didn’t have a 65-inch model (starting at 77 inches, with 83 inches in the middle) and capped out at a refresh rate of 120 Hz. This higher refresh rate now applies to all 2024 TVs in the M4, G4, and C4 lineups, up to 83 inches.

Vishal Kawadkar
About author

With over 8 years of experience in tech journalism, Vishal is someone with an innate passion for exploring and delivering fresh takes. Embracing curiosity and innovation, he strives to provide an informed and unique outlook on the ever-evolving world of technology.