Digital Trends Live: Everything to expect from CES 2019

The latest episode of Digital Trends Live, DT’s live morning show, is the last one before CES, the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and Digital Trends Live hosts Greg Nibler and Caleb Denison spent it previewing the many of the things we expect to see on the show floor.

There will be 4,400 companies exhibiting products at the show. “It’s more every year, and you feel every single square inch of that, however many miles that is there,” Denison said. “You’re pounding the pavement, literally, constantly. It’s a madhouse, you have to fight to get anywhere you want to, people are like road cones, you have to bob and weave to get through them. It’s exhilarating, and also just absolutely nuts.”

So what exactly should people look forward to at CES this year? For starters, beautiful new TVs. The hot topic in the world of television right now is 8K. Samsung has already released the first 8K TV, and other manufacturers are racing to show off their own 8K models. We also expect to hear more about HDMI 2.1, a new connection standard which, according to Denison, means that “you get variable refresh rate, high frame rates, more data going down the pipeline, which is great for gamers. Also, better audio coming out of your TV.”

In the world of mobile devices, the next gold rush is the race to release 5G phones. New 5G networks should offer superior connections, and companies have been building test networks to show off the power of the technology, although it remains to be seen how quickly this tech will spread to consumers.

Artificial intelligence is probably the biggest buzzword in the tech industry these days, especially as Amazon and Google have been competing to incorporate their digital assistants into every aspect of consumers’ lives. There is a lot of discussion over what exactly qualifies as A.I., and a lot of companies use the term in their marketing materials regardless of whether their software can actually learn and adapt. So-called “smart” appliances are still rudimentary compared to the devices people expect from science fiction.

To get an insider perspective on CES, our hosts talked to Gary Shapiro, the CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, the organization that runs the show.

“We’re the Consumer Technology Association,” Shapiro says, “and we’re one of the largest trade associations in the United States. We have over 2,200 corporate members … and we’re a nonprofit, which means that we have a special treatment because we’re only allowed to do certain things, and that is promote the industry. We work with government, we do lobby — we have lobbyists, believe it or not, in most of the states — and we’re based in the Washington, D.C., area. We’re very focused on making sure that innovation can occur, that’s our mandate — that the government doesn’t cut off new, promising areas. It requires us to go up against other established industries. We fought the motion picture industry over recording devices, and the music industry, now we’re fighting the hotel industry over the legality of Airbnb and taxi cab drivers over Lyft and Uber. So we’re out there fighting for the new business models, fighting for the new type of thing which will advance the human condition.”

Digital Trends Live airs at 9 a.m. PT from Monday through Friday, with highlights available on demand after the stream ends. For more information, check out the DT Live homepage, and be sure to watch live for the chance to win occasional prizes.

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