The annual gadget viewing spree at Consumer Electronic Show is no small affair with an two football fields of exhibits and 160,000 visitors looking out for fun gadgets to play with and for many journalists, industry experts and entertainment execs, a way to see what the next big thing for consumers.
Sadly, I was thousands of miles away from Las Vegas for the annual bonanza but have eagerly followed the reviews and announcements, to share a personal view of the TV spoils.
The trend towards the advanced TV experience which is built around TV for me, flows through in the hardware and software on display which are aiming to take advantage of the IOT(Internet of Things) to create personalised, very high quality TV on a screen I will want to show off in my lounge.
The theme comes through in a number of key areas:-
Screens still getting thinner with higher quality
The top end televisions are all still getting thinner – Samsung has a 3mm one and LG at 2.57mm. If you want to turn the TV into something more upmarket LG has a set which can display artwork even if it is switched off.
The big showcase was the Ultra High Definition sets with quadruple the HD resolution all the manufactures are heading down this path. The Ultra High Definition Alliance formed a year ago under the premise that for UHD to be readily adopted then there was a need for content to be created that would make the screens look just amazing. The alliance includes Netflix, Disney, Warner Bros, 20th Century and Sony. Panasonic claims to have the global first with a TV that can carry the Alliance Ultra HD premium logo, as meeting all the technical requirements. IT will be interesting to see if consumers are willing to pay.
Smart TV’s are getting smarter
Smart TV’s have become the norm for many now, however given the switching around and array of different online TV apps, they are certainly not at their advanced industry state. There were some good improvements at the show, with Samsung showing the Smart Hub which is described as a’ seamless simple interaction’ for all your TV services. In theory, no more searching for different remotes for different services as you can choose between apps, live TV, recently accessed or recommended content, and select with a single click on one remote. For me this really will need to eventually be the norm to meet viewer expectations.
The hub though is much more, as it uses the Internet of Things (IoT) technology and can work with other smart devices to allow you to control them all via your TV including home security, music and air conditioning. It does sound very appealing, although there is the ghost of Interactive TV which when first launched had very high expectations of the TV as a hub of your home life. I still see the mobile phone as the most likely contender in this race, with the TV as complimentary, as the mobile always by us, when watching TV.
Online TV goes fully global
Netflix certainly created a buzz announcing that it was launching in an additional 130 countries, taking it to 190, a year ahead of their schedule. It also stressed the commitment to creating global licensing for content where it can.
There is no doubt that the OTT market is a global one and so creating and sharing global content through one platform is a powerful delivery model that will certainly add to the competitive stakes in many countries. Personally, I still see a very strong case for local content and curation which gives a strong point of difference for local providers who may well increasingly face global competition from content providers distributing content creation costs across the globe in one platform.
For many of the TV execs visiting the show, I am sure the most fun gadgets have nothing to do with their day jobs like the portable drones or the game playing tooth brush!