There are some clear trends can be observed at the CES 2013 that is currently being held in Las Vegas. However, it is not true that such trends guarantee on an exchange any real breakthrough in practice. An example of the latter phenomenon is 3D TV. Although almost all new TVs in the middle and upper segment now offer 3D display, we cannot say that people in the UK commonly use 3D function on TVs. In the cinema, 3D is exciting experience; and at CES this year everything is around 3D. When we broadly speak about CES 2013 trends, we see some clear preferences that can be grouped into several key elements.
Fortunately, the manufacturers of TVs, audio equipment, computers, cameras, tablets and smartphones have now discovered that all these devices are part of the multimedia environment in the home and beyond it. It is therefore important that all these devices work together and they all need Internet to communicate, but that in itself is not enough. It is essential that simple consumer can easily make these connections without complicated Wi-Fi or Bluetooth settings.
It is clear at the CES that more and more cameras and other rather isolated group of devices are provided with Wi-Fi and sometimes NFC (Near Field Communication) functionality, which is offered for faster connecting of a smart camera to another device such as a smartphone.
The great thing about NFC is that there are not many settings to configure but simply hold the devices next to each other, after which the connection is established immediately. Such technology is a good example of how connectivity should be simple in practice.
If all devices would have such simple settings, then displaying a movie with the smartphone or camcorder is only a matter of holding the smartphone near the TV, and then the TV “understands” that there are probably photos or videos that are waiting to be shown on the big HD TV screen; and then the smartphone functions as a remote control.
Larger sizes and higher resolutions TVs
The trend toward larger TV formats has been going on for a while but lately it makes a clear acceleration. This is not least due to the fact that larger LCD LED screens can be produced at much lower cost. For the real fans 55-inch kind of the entry point and HD TVs with screen sizes of 70 inches are now on sale for retail prices around 2,200 euros.
For screens above 70 inches it is true that the pixels of Full HD display are starting to be clearly visible at shorter viewing distances. Ultimately HD also boasts an image of “only” 1,920 x 1,080 pixels or just over 2 Megapixels. From this idea, it is not illogical that looking at higher resolutions is better and then we talk about 4K or Ultra HD playback. In addition, we talk about a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels, or over 8 Megapixels. We already have a number of 84-inch screens with HD Ultra resolution and it looks very nice.
Also for displaying photographs, Ultra HD is a leap forward. Now all our digital photos on the TV are “downscaled” to 2 Megapixel sensors, while almost every compact camera nowadays can capture more than 10 Megapixels.
OLED TV has been a promise for long and the breakthrough is often announced but still has not come. Despite the clear advantages in terms of contrast, brightness, colour saturation and energy, for last 5 years it is proven to be very difficult to bring OLED screens in larger sizes for mass sales. LG and Samsung made great fanfare last year at the CES show and their 55-inch OLED TV announced late last year should soon come to the market.
Yet, we expect from LG and Samsung in 2013 that their 55-inch OLED models to go extradite. We can also see that other players like Sony, with a long tradition in smaller sizes OLED, Panasonic and others offer now OLED prototypes at CES show. We are thrilled with some prototypes even in Ultra HD resolution.
Unfortunately it will be some time before OLED TV price is dropped down at a reasonable level, but in our opinion it is worth waiting for it.
All in all, it seems another exciting year in terms of consumer electronics.