The big players in the television technology race are squaring off over the latest version of the "next big thing".
They have already shrunk our sets to whippet thin and super light, offered us new kinds of practical wall-mounting options, and rounded up unsightly cables.
But the quality of the screens and the pictures they offer us is still undergoing innovation and competition.
Brands such as LG and Sony are betting on organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screens, while Samsung champions quantum dot ones.
But what’s the difference?
OLEDs are not back-lit by a LED screen, but by electrifying the organic material of the screen itself. So sets can be thinner than LED TVs and offer incredible response time and colour accuracy.
This is because the pixels are controlled individually, and if a section of the picture is black, the pixels in that section of screen do not light up at all. That way they achieve excellent contrast.
Quantum dot has been around a while. Tiny nanocrystals — from two to 10 nanometres big — give off colour according to their size. They are backlit by LEDs, but are tiny and offer brilliant accuracy and saturation across a wider range of colours than OLEDs, as well as great brightness.
And that’s what’s been sitting in my lounge for the past three weeks — a curved 55-inch Samsung Series 9 SUHD TV with quantum dot technology. Aesthetically it’s great, with an ultra-thin frame, and an elegant glint of metal for a stand. It almost appears to hover above the cabinet, and the 1,000-nit brightness makes for fantastic viewing.
It’s a smart TV, of course, and also connects with certain Samsung phones for remote control.
It has a searchable smart hub to let you find content, and autodetection for peripherals such as game consoles. Should you wish to examine the crow’s feet of your favourite Hollywood silver fox in alarming detail, this TV has the screen to do it on.
The models in the series range from R26,999 to R59,999, but the price is not ludicrous for this premium line.
Of course, the next "next big thing" is already on the horizon. Samsung recently announced its quantum dot light-emitting diodes (QLED) range — the Q7, Q8 and Q9 — which promises flexible, beautiful, low-power, high-colour screens that are relatively cheap to produce.
When these will be available in SA remains to be seen, but they are expected in the US later this year.
Samsung quantum dot TV
Cool factor *****Usability ***** Value for money ****