The 2018 Consumer Electronics Show is taking place this week in Las Vegas and yesterday was the first day attendees could walk the show floor and get a first-hand look at the shiny new gizmos and gadgets.
As day three of the convention came to an end, here were the highlights in the TV technology category, as seen by some of the nation’s leading tech sites:
* Journalists and other attendees touring the convention hall seemed most impressed with two products that may not find a place in your living room for years, if ever. (Pictured above: LG’s ‘rollable’ TV.)
Based on articles, and social media posts, Samsung’s 146” ‘Wall’ TV and LG’s rollable OLED TV were the talk of the show yesterday. (You can learn more about each product here. ) CNET’s David Katzmaier, an industry veteran who has seen it all, referred to the LG TV rolling up and down like a piece of paper as “insanity.”
You can see Katzmaier’s video of the LG TV here.
However, because of the technical complexity (the LG rollable set) and the size (the Samsung ‘Wall TV’), it’s likely that both products will remain convention showcases for sometime rather than retail lures.
Of course, it’s quite common at CES for products that may never actually be sold to generate so much interest.
(For instance, companies love to battle over which one can display the set with the largest screen, although the winner never makes a buck from the TV itself because it’s too expensive to mass produce.)
While many ‘real-life’ products do make their debut at CES, the show (i;e – the media and PR executives) tends to overemphasize items that are merely window dressing. (Also see: LG’s OLED Canyon.)
* New Roku TVs are everywhere at CES, but where’s Amazon’s Fire TV?
The Verge notes that new 2018 televisions (from Hisense, TCL) with Roku inside are getting considerable attention on the show floor. However, the site’s Chris Welch wonders why Amazon didn’t announce similar TV partnerships at CES for its Fire TV operating system.
“As far as I know, there’s not a single TV announced at this year’s show that comes with Fire TV OS as its software,” Welch writes.
Of course, Amazon has a history of doing things at a time of its choosing rather being dictated to by a mere convention attended by 180,000 people. But it is a bit surprising that the company isn’t pushing its Fire TV service more aggressively, at least not at CES. Amazon is heavily promoting the Alexa digital voice assistant in Vegas, but not the Fire TV.
* Hulu unveils a new interface for its live TV guide.
TechCrunch.com writes that Hulu yesterday unveiled a new look for the on-screen guide for its live TV service.
According to TechCrunch.com:
“The new interface includes features designed in response to user feedback, including a Live TV guide for quickly navigating through what’s currently airing, as well as more tools that will help Hulu to better suggest content you actually like, while removing items you don’t…A better Live TV experience is an important goal for Hulu because today’s users aren’t watching that much live TV via the current interface, as it turns out.”
The site says Hulu is targeting a spring 2018 for the new interface, but would not release photos because the page is still in development.
* TV executives are concerned that consumers are overusing ‘free trial’ offers from streaming services.
Broadcasting & Cable reports that several network executives expressed alarm that users of services such as DIRECTV Now, HBO Now, Showtime, Sling TV and PlayStation Vue are jumping from one ‘free trial’ to another.
The live streaming services usually offer a free trial period, ranging from one week to one month, to encourage people to try them. However, at a panel discussion entitled, ‘The Disruption of Internet TV: Programming Everywhere,’ some company officials said there’s evidence that many people never begin paying, not ever intend to. They are content with using the service for the free trial period, and then shifting to another one to take advantage of its free trial.
Considering that there are now so many streaming services, a savvy consumer could theoretically go months watching quality content without ever paying a dime.
“That phenomenon, sometimes termed ‘offer surfing,’ is creating a ‘tension there that needs to get solved over time, said Sherry Brennan, senior vice president for distribution at Fox Networks,” writes Broadcasting & Cable.
— Phillip Swann