What to Expect at CES 2013?

hodg100

Distinguished Member
We polish up our crystal ball and predict what lays ahead in Vegas this January

Just as we're bagging the latest and greatest technology to fill our loved ones' stockings – or even filling our own boots in the New Year sales – the industry is plotting how they're going to convince us to do it all again, next Yule, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The most famous AV trade show in the world has been held in Las Vegas every year since 1978 and CES 2013 promises to be bigger than ever, despite concerns about the global economy. Last year's exhibition attracted record numbers of visitors – upward of 155,000 - spanning an astonishing 1.861 million square feet of exhibitor space and the organisers are expecting even more this time out. We'll be out there, of course, bringing you all the latest developments, as they happen, but what can we expect to see at CES 2013?

There's a revolution going on, in case you hadn't noticed. The PC age is moribund and we're moving in to a world where most of its core duties are being taken care of by mobile devices. Come the second week in January, Las Vegas will likely have seen more tablets than your average Hollywood Dr Feelgood can dispense in a month. Microsoft – perhaps too late – has finally come round to the recognition that tablets and smartphones are the new kings with the release of the, touchscreen friendly, Windows 8 Operating System. We're sure to see the manufacturers showing off a glut of Win 8 compatible phones, tablets and - the new next-big-thing – hybrid Tablet PCs; packing the power, connectivity and hardware of the traditional laptop but with enticing, detachable touchscreen monitors doubling as a tablet.

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If IFA – the European equivalent to CES – is any indicator, we'll see Dell promenading their XPS Duo 12 convertible around the exhibition halls, along with Samsung and their Ativ, Lenovo's Think Pad 2, the Toshiba Satellite U925t Tablet-Ultrabook and the Asus Vivo, to name but a few. Microsoft, themselves, bowed out of CES last year to focus on holding their own, grandiose launch events - much in the style of a certain Cupertino based company. However, there's almost a collective will amongst CE manufacturers to counter Apple's stranglehold over the mobile devices market, so Windows 8 products should be heavily to the fore. Microsoft are obviously happy enough to let the license payers have the showfloor so their Surface Tablet will only be in evidence amongst the peripherals and sundries. Of course there's also a ton of capable Android devices on the market but it never does any harm to fight the ‘enemy' on multiple fronts.

Speaking of Android, it's thought that Nvidia will announce the Tegra 4 processor, designed for mobile devices, at the Vegas Show. The Tegra 3 is the power behind Google's Nexus 7 tablet which is currently duking it out with the Kindle Fire HD and, latterly, the iPad Mini for the smaller tablet market this Christmas. The iPad Mini comes equipped with Apple's new Lightning connector, which replaced the old 30 pin connector with the advent of the iPhone 5 and we'd bet the farm and all our shirts there will be a plethora of Lightning-compatible docking stations, wireless speakers, in-car chargers and the like announced at CES 2013.

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Apple's current biggest foe, Samsung, are strongly rumoured to announce a complete overhaul of their company branding in Vegas. No, Apple fans, they won't be calling themselves Pear but the new logo is expected to be multi-coloured to reflect the many different arms of the business – Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet perhaps? Samsung are sure to be one of, if not the, biggest hitters at the Show and we'd expect them to go big on the Galaxy Note II - the hybrid smartphone and tablet (phablet) that features the S-Pen allowing users to write on the screen. Something that Apple doesn't currently have in its portfolio of devices. Bearing in mind the, possibly slightly surprising, success of the Galaxy Notes, we'd also bet there's plenty of hybrid phone/tablets at the show that have 'taken inspiration' from Samsung's lead. We wouldn't be surprised to also see Samsung announce their own movie, music and e-book download service at CES; just about every company and its dog are doing so at the moment and there's clearly plenty of money in it. With Samsung's penetration in so many product categories, they could certainly pull it off.

Samsung's former most bitter rivals - LG – in collaboration with Google, has just launched the very powerful, yet relatively inexpensive, Nexus 4 smartphone and we don't expect them to be reticent about pushing that in to the palms of passers-by. LG's forays in to the tablet market, with the Optimus range, hasn't been pulling up any trees but we don't expect them to give up easily and we'll (wildly) predict a glasses-free 3D tablet from them to accompany the existing 3D camera found in their current device. Sony will no doubt be pushing the Xperia brand of tablets and phones for all they're worth and expect a strong presence from both HTC and Motorola as they tout their wares – particularly the powerful HTC One X and RAZR i smartphones. Motorola may well announce a new XOOM tablet and we wouldn't be shocked to see HTC launch a larger screen, 10 inch tablet to accompany its seven inch Flyer.

It's generally a tough time for Audio Visual (AV) manufacturers at the moment. The old-guard powerhouses of Japan – Sony, Panasonic, Sharp and Toshiba – are all bleeding cash in the face of a generally gloomy world economy, a strong Yen hurting exports and saturation levels being hit for the flat panels in most of the established markets. The last real push to bring something new to the TV market with 3D hasn't exactly caught fire with it, mostly, listed as just another feature on the spec sheets of the mid to high end models. The biggest obstacle to public uptake of 3D is generally thought to have been the necessitation for the family to don a pair of silly, and sometimes expensive, specs. Toshiba has had a couple of stabs at producing autostereoscopic (glasses-free) displays but the 3D images have been a let-down and sales slow. Salvation might be at hand from a name more commonly associated with the Audio world, Dolby, who, in partnership with Philips, have developed a new system that looks promising. Philips are providing the hardware know-how whilst Dolby takes up the image processing and at the recent International Broadcasters Convention (IBC), firm 3D advocate James Cameron proclaimed himself ‘blown away' and ‘motivated again to continue with 3D,' by the 56 inch display on show there that featured the technology. We hope the same display makes it to the floor of CES so we can judge for ourselves. Not that we don't trust you, James.

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The Smart TV ‘revolution' has garnered a little more enthusiasm from the public, with Video on Demand (VoD) services the most notable hit, but the publics' new found love for mobile devices will likely see the TV mostly consigned to display-only duties, in the future, rather than the means by which content is accessed. YouTube's Head of Content, Robert Kyncl, recently proclaimed the company's desire to dominate the market and envisaged it would mainly be by Smartphone or Tablet by which content would be accessed and then streamed directly to the TV. The technology already exists so he may well be right. The TV manufacturers have been working very hard on mimicking the convenience touch-screen controls bring, with a number of innovative controllers featured in their high-end ranges this year but they don't yet get anywhere near tablets of phones for intuitiveness and accuracy; and the less said about voice control, in its current state, the better.

Google TV is something we expected to see more of at CES 2012 but, despite a couple of LG devices launching quietly in the States, we've yet to see anything materialise over here. LG seems more interested in working with its fellow partners in the Smart TV alliance, including Philips, Sharp and Toshiba, than pushing Google's platform through their TVs and that's understandable. We got a good taste of the Google TV experience via the Sony NSZ-GS7 box recently and whilst the inclusion of a (near) fully featured Chrome Browser leaves most TV's built-in version for dead there's a desperate need for more app support. We'll probably get a couple of Google TV announcements at January's Show. The long awaited - and much rumoured - Apple TV has yet to materialise and we don't anticipate any hardware manufacturer would dare steal Cupertino's thunder by breaking ranks in Vegas but we still expect to hear whispers from the industry on this near mythical display.

So what can the manufacturers do to encourage the consumers to spend their disposable incomes on a new TV? Use big numbers and sound-bite terminology, of course. Just recently the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) chose Ultra HD as the official terminology for the 3840 x 2160 resolution, previously widely known as 4K. By the looks of things the manufacturers are using both 4K and Ultra HD in their marketing literature so it looks like they're not all convinced by the new name. There's been a number of 4K (sorry, CEA) TVs launched already this year in mostly vast screen sizes. LG and Sony already have 84 inch Ultra HD TVs on the market, admittedly you might need a second mortgage to afford one but should your pockets be deep and wall space plentiful, the option is there. Both Sharp and Panasonic had 4K displays on show at IFA and, of course, every manufacturer that has one to offer will be hawking them at CES 2013. In reality there aren't many UK homes that could comfortably accommodate such a large TV and we'll try and make a visit to the Hisense stand too take a look at their UHD XT880 series, that comes in 50", 58", and 65" sizes, to see if they plan on bringing them over the pond. Toshiba will also be there promoting the ZL2 but we don't expect a new 4K model from them at CES 2013.

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Of course the biggest question mark hanging over Ultra HD's head is how on earth the content providers and broadcasters are going to get 4K in to the home. It's looking like the solution for broadcasters won't be an earth-bound one, however, as at the recent IBC, SES and Sony managed to send a 4000 line resolution feed in to the convention hall using a DVB-S2 satellite tuner, the same found in many TVs now, using ‘old fashioned' MPEG-4 at 50 Mbps. SES' target next year is to use the new and more efficient HEVC/H.265 encoding – also showcased at IBC - to get the number down to 20 Mb/s; meaning a pair of channels can be carried on a single transponder. Even that solution is going to require some compression being applied so we're just as – if not more – interested in what physical solutions there might be.

There's a possibility that 4K Blu-ray will be confirmed at CES 2013. LG UK said earlier in 2012 that they expected to have a player ready in 2013 but we've not heard anything since and, even then, it wasn't clear if that was a native player or one that scaled. Sony, who probably have more to gain than the rest from UHDTV – being as they're involved with creation of it through their movie studio business – are rumoured to have been in talks with other studios and the BDA to ratify a 4K Blu-ray standard but there's nothing concrete to support that. It would present another marketing problem for all concerned, too; what to name such a format? Ultra HD Blu-ray is hardly catchy, UHD-BD is too geeky and 4K Blu-ray, whilst rhyming nicely, might not be enough to convey the difference of the formats to the mass public. Not that they could give two hoots at this stage but that's another problem!

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Probably the most exciting things at least year's show were the OLED TVs from LG and Samsung, both sized at 55 inches and delivering glorious contrast performance, even in the less-than-ideal confines of an exhibition hall. Had everything gone to plan, you would have been reading our reviews on the products right about now but the path of technology never runs smooth and it looks as though mass shipments, for both Korean manufacturers, have been put back in to late 2013 as they look to combat the feared yield issues that beset the technology. We were told, last year, that this was a thing of the past but that doesn't look to be the case.

The burning question at hand, with regards to CES 2013, is whether the Japanese manufacturers will leave their Korean counterparts with another year to themselves showing off OLED. We know that Sony and Panasonic are collaborating in OLED panel manufacture, with Panasonic taking the lead, but they have already said there's no plans to bring them to market until 2014, which would point to a CES 2014 launch. We'd guess both will have something OLED related to show at CES 2013 but, given the delays for LG and Samsung, they might not press it too hard and instead focus on 4K and massive screens. Panasonic recently announced 70 and 80-inch LED TVs, for commercial use, so it doesn't take much of a leap to predict they'll do the same for the domestic, VIERA TV division. There's also a whisper that Panasonic will introduce some all-new phosphor technology for their plasma TVs, scotching the numerous rumours that they're just about to pull out of plasma altogether. We may see them dropping sub 50 inch plasma TVs, thus giving their LED TV ranges have more room to breath, and it wouldn't be a shock to see the total demise of the G series plasma that found itself with something of an identity crisis in 2012.

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Audio wise, it's all Soundbars, Wireless Speakers, Headphones and Docking Stations at the moment – that's where the money is - so we'll no doubt see many announcements from all the major manufacturers on those. The noisy exhibition halls are hardly the greatest place to showcase cutting edge audio technology but we'll do our best to try and get in some quality listening above the din. Sensibly none of the major projector manufacturers choose to launch at CES but we might see some of the lesser names pushing LED/Laser hybrids at tempting prices.

So that's some of our hopes and expectations for CES 2013 - what are yours?
 

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1080 jawbreaker

Well-known Member
do next gen console get announced at CES or have they always been keep quite until E3?
 

golden phoenix

Distinguished Member
my dream has always been for panasonic to optimise a 50 htz viera for the european market, which would probably eradicate most of the issues that aren't already inherent in plasma tech. but i guess they dont think this market is big enough for them to do that :(
 

witchdrash

Active Member
Always E3 for consoles, they would get lost at CES, as most of the dedicated gaming press don't really attend in any significant quantities, and most gamers (who aren't tech geeks) probably don't know CES exists.

I'm hoping for a bit more 4K goodness, or at least devices that could support that resolution.
 

Jules

Distinguished Member
What about Sony's crystal LCD idea from last year? If OLED still has its problems, surely they could clean up in a 'Post Plasma / traditional LCD' era.
 

golden phoenix

Distinguished Member
isn't it true that at short distances that the human eye cannot see any more resolution between 1080 p or 4k at say 10 ft at 60 inch screens or below?..if this is true, once you have that information it makes 4K redundant for most people in an average property.
 

Phil Hinton

Editor
Staff member
isn't it true

No, it's not. Ask any members who have seen our native demos recently. There is also more to it than resolution alone. I've seen two 20" monitors, one native 4K and one 1080p, from the same distance there was a visible increase in resolution on the 4K one.
 

golden phoenix

Distinguished Member
No, it's not. Ask any members who have seen our native demos recently. There is also more to it than resolution alone. I've seen two 20" monitors, one native 4K and one 1080p, from the same distance there was a visible increase in resolution on the 4K one.

thanks for setting me straight...there seems to be plenty of mis-information floating around (even on these forums then members posts im referring to) although it always comes back to the same thing until oleds and ultra HD are at a price point of £2000 for a 55" tv...they will be a niche product for most people

and even that amount of money for a tv is generally for the likes of us (av geeks)..the average person I know grumble at paying £1,000 for a tv let alone 2K.

anyway to get back on thread..im hoping to get more accurate information on 4K, more information on OLEDS...information on the panasonic new ranges, and hoping they have dealt with this years panny issues.
 
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jimmyboy1975

Well-known Member
I'd love to know more about OLED & 4K. It's an area I'm keen to follow but I doubt it'll be mainstream (if at all) for at least another 5 years. Is there such a thing as an UltraHD OLED tv?!
 

HMHB

Distinguished Member
I wish I could get excited about these new HD formats but I can't. We are still served up 2nd rate broadcasts mostly from all the television providers and I'm sure that bandwidth is going down because HD picture quality on certain channels is worse in my opinion than a couple of years ago.

What chance do we ever have of getting ultra HD broadcasts? All they are doing is giving us more channels and having to give less bandwidth to each one.
 
HMHB,
confused.gif



I cannot agree with you more. All these manufacturers are spending megabucks on R & D, trying to give us larger and better quality screens for our homes. What is the point of spending vast sums of our cash on these when Sky HD transmissions are in 720P. The only time that I ever see the HD sound format logos on the screen of my Denon amp is when I am watching Blu-ray, other than that it is Dolby Digital or Pro-logic for the bulk of viewing in our home. Does anyone transmit (to the masses) a full 1080P signal ? I don't know of anyone that does. I tend to watch movies on my media player, but the bulk of these are MKV's so only Dolby Digital or DTS.

Two days ago I came back from a nine day trip to Japan, where I had the pleasure of visiting Achiabara (Electronic City) in Tokyo. Sony and Sharp had massive T.V's on display (80" plus) they were pretty impressive, but in an average sized 3 bed semi ? Come on !!!!!
One thing I was told during my stay was how deep in debt both Sony and Panasonic are. Apparently Panasonic's debt is manageable, but the same cannot be said of Sony.

Chris
 

HMHB

Distinguished Member
Sorry, are you saying you don't agree with me? It seems like we're both saying the same thing to me!!!!

EDIT - Just read your post again and realised you said that you cannot agree more :) Sorry I misread that first bit :laugh: :blush:
 

Phil Hinton

Editor
Staff member
Only a week to go, what do you expect to see at CES 2013?
 

vaktmestern

Banned
Oled as my number one followed by 4k ... and hopfully a product combining the 2 techs
 

Steven

Senior Moderator
Samsung to reveal what their trailer has been all about

Android smartphones

The audio aficionado in me would like new IEM announcements
 

golden phoenix

Distinguished Member
most of the time, because there are a number of formats and also variations on a format (ie different types of 3D or lack of material) it can confuse consumers and doesnt take off. im wondering about the OLEDS vs 4K (or Ultra HD) ultra HD seems the natural progression to me from 1080P.

but until we get accompanying equipment, and broadcasts that can display natively the new format, is it really necessary?

id be interested in what other equipment they have up their sleeves, to achieve this. no doubt it will be a case of upgrading again..sigh.
 

HMHB

Distinguished Member
Or just forget about it all because as I've said before, most of the stuff we are fed isn't even in HD so why bother :D
 

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