CES 2016: TVs are lastly taking a backseat
The place are the TVs? In my ten years of attending CES I’ve by no means needed to ask this query, and to be truthful, this yr they have been nonetheless entrance and middle in a number of cubicles. However Sony pushed TVs and projectors to the perimeter of its spacious CES sales space (ceding area for headphones and… turntables?) whereas Panasonic might solely spare a few tables for the newest Extremely HD TVs.
In the identical area the place Darth Vader stood in entrance of dozens of flat panels to announce a Star Wars Blu-ray, now Spartan Race athletes sporting motion cameras took on obstacles, and electrical scooters confirmed off quick charging. As an alternative of driving excessive as the first electronics gadget on present, TVs, set-prime packing containers and Blu-ray gamers are settling in with wearables, VR, drones and the remaining as simply one other factor that look to your telephone for recommendation.
Positive, LG and Samsung are nonetheless locked in a battle of flat-panel supremacy, displaying off lovely however pointless ninety eight-inch 8K screens. And neither one goes quietly into that submit-TV goodnight: LG’s array of OLEDs are nonetheless beautiful and webOS three.zero looks like a good suggestion. In its place, Samsung thinks contained in the TV is a superb place for its sensible residence Hub units to stay, and who is aware of — that could be sufficient to make its flat panels stand out. However I used to be struck principally by what I did not see, particularly from these two massive gamers.That they had a lot to say about 4K, however LG did not even convey an Extremely HD Blu-ray participant whereas Samsung shoved its $399 field right into a gap within the wall. The message is obvious: The films look higher, sound higher (and area coding is lifeless!), however there’s not a lot else to say.
One firm that had a lot to say was Netflix. By delivering entry to one hundred thirty new nations on the present’s second day, it confirmed why it is such an amazing pal to this rollout of latest TV and residential theater tech, and in addition a foe. Now that Netflix is in almost each nation, when TV makers add a function like 4K or HDR, with a flip of a change Netflix can provide content material that is optimized for it. The one drawback? Netflix does not simply cease on the TV display. It’ll stream to your pc, your pill or your telephone simply as nicely. Need to launch a film in your telephone, then forged it to the TV with out ever touching the distant? Netflix has your again, and it does not care which display you are watching on.
The looming query is why TVs should have Netflix or any app constructed-in. From webOS to Tizen to Roku to Android TV to Firefox OS, not one of the embedded sensible TV setups confirmed a lot that demanded choosing one over the opposite. For years, individuals have requested for a “dumb” display with all of the excessive-finish image high quality and processing, however nothing else. No apps, no working system, no UI-altering updates after 6-, 12- or 18-months, no invasive promoting packages and no confusingly designed distant controls. That is how TVs used to work, and there is no cause why they could not once more.
I do not assume TVs would get any cheaper for dropping these things, however within the eyes of many they might be higher. Ultimately, some firm might want to do one thing totally different to create area from the competitors, and that is one factor clients are literally asking for. No matter’s subsequent, TV makers ought to determine it out earlier than we’re all watching simulated one hundred-inch screens in our VR headsets.
[Image credit: (top) DAVID MCNEW/AFP/Getty Images]
Blood sort: Purple.