Hisense Announces “Dual-Cell” LCD – But That’s Not the Real Story!
Hisense has announced their 2021 TV lineup for North America. The model grabbing all the headlines is their flagship $3,500 U9DG. It only comes in one size: 75-inches. And the ‘D’ in the model name stands for “dual-cell.” It’s going to be the first widely available, consumer TV model that uses two LCD layers. But while that is very cool, it isn’t the real story!
Dual-Cell LCD Technology Overview
The Hisense U9DB utilizes dual-cell LCD display technology. This is something that we’ve heard about for some time but no one has brought to market yet. Why? The cost. The way it works is that there are two LCD panels in the display rather than one. One LCD layer handles just the black and white information and basically functions as millions of local-dimming zones. The second functions as a normal LCD panel. In the U9DG, that black and white LCD layer is 1080p resolution. Then there’s the usual, 4K resolution, color LCD layer on top. That means that every four pixels get their own backlight (in essence). That’s the equivalent of over two million local zones of dimming.
That’s a lot of dimming zones!
The U9dG is getting all the press attention because it is the first to bring dual-cell LCD technology to market. But the U8G, and especially the “budget” U7G models might actually be the ones to keep an eye on.
But the Real Story is the Rest of the Lineup
If you aren’t wowed by the dual-cell LCD tech, Hisense has more affordable but no less capable displays for you. The U8G Series comes in 55-inch ($950) and 65-inch ($1,300) sizes. They have 360 local-dimming zones, 1,500 nits, quantum dots, and every flavor of HDR support. They also have IMAX Enhanced, Filmmaker Mode, and two HDMI 2.1 inputs with all the 2.1 gaming features like 4K/120 fps input, Variable Refresh Rate, and Auto Game mode.
The U7G Series has 55-inch ($750), 65-inch ($950), and 75-inch ($1,400) models. 120 local-dimming zones, 1,000 nits, and all of the same HDR and HDMI 2.1 support as the U8G Series. Feature-wise, that puts them ahead of TCL and Vizio at a lower price.
The only evidence we see so far of corners being cut is the inclusion of the aging Android TV platform. When asked about upgrading to the newer Google TV, Hisense indicated no upgrade would be coming. For those that never use the included apps with their display, this may be a very welcome place to save manufacturing costs. If you are one that uses your display for its apps, you’d be best to make sure that the Android TV platform is for you.
Our Take on the New Hisense Display Lineup
We love seeing these announcements of large displays. These “projector-killers” are finally getting to the price point and size that they can truly compare to a home cinema projector. But we do have some concerns that keep us from putting one of these displays on our “must buy” list. Historically, a lot of Hisense TV models had very inaccurate colors and insufficient calibration controls. This meant that you could never really get their displays accurate. The Android TV platform also has us a bit concerned. How they implement their interface can make a huge difference in how much we like a display (especially if it can’t be easily integrated into a Harmony remote system RIP).
So we’ll have to get our hands on one or more of these displays to make sure the performance of these 2021 models is up to snuff. But in terms of features and prices, they’re definitely being aggressive this year. With all the features you’d want and very competitive prices, these are sure to sell. But it is only after we see how they actually perform that we’ll start recommending them. Keep your eyes peeled for more information on these Hisense displays as they start shipping this summer.
Hisense 2021 Displays Highlights
|Series||Size||Price||Resolution||Smart TV||Light output (nits)|
|U9DG (Dual-cell)||75-inch||$3,500||4K||Android TV||1000|
Thanks to Rob H. of the AV Rant podcast for his invaluable help with this article.