Television talk dominates the opening salvo from CES 2018

Bigger, brighter, and better

Some of the biggest news from CES thus far surrounds a massive, 88-inch 8K OLED television from LG featuring such fine detail that tiny newspaper text was readable from several feet away. While 8K might sound far-flung — most of us are barely settling in with new 4K TVs! — CES is always a showcase for the future, not necessarily a reflection of the present market.

While LG might be the biggest name in TV manufacturing thanks to OLED (a type of display no other company makes), technologies like Samsung’s QLED and even the new micro LED are pushing to become the gold standard, with Samsung’s ridiculous 146-inch “Wall” display drawing attention at CES. Micro LED means “modular” televisions of any size, though right now the tech isn’t refined enough to work well on smaller panels. Samsung does plan to sell micro LED televisions in 2018, but they’ll most likely be far too expensive for most to consider.

Manufacturers like TCL and Hisense are also following up on strong 2017 showings, showing off new television lineups in hopes of gaining entry to the metaphorical TV pantheon.

Roll out!

If you’ve been following CES coverage today — even casually — you’ve probably already heard about LG’s 65-inch, 4K rollable (yes, rollable) OLED television. The nature of OLED displays means you can bend and manipulate the screen without causing damage, and LG’s prototype retracts and expands like a classroom projection screen, allowing the display to perfectly match the aspect ratio of any content (which means no more black bars) or disappear entirely. Don’t expect to see these for sale in Best Buy anytime soon, though.

Virtual assistants, real competition

Over the past year, Amazon’s Alexa has built a lead in the virtual assistant department, thanks to widespread integration into smart home products. With Apple’s Siri, Samsung’s Bixby, and Google Google Assistant finding their ways into various electronics, the “touchless computing” competition has just begun. Computer learning is allowing for new technologies to appear at an incredible rate, some of which might be considered invasive. What if Alexa could identify a can of Coke in your hand, or analyze your eyes to find out what you look at the most (then sell that information to advertisers)?

Voice assistant integration in televisions is a prominent trend thus far at CES, with Samsung and LG trying to cement their televisions as the “central hub” for smart home control. Understandably, many are wary of such a hyperconnected system.

Power cords? No, thank you

Wireless power seems to be another hot topic at CES; despite years of empty promises, wireless charging has largely evaded us, but things are finally starting to click for companies like VentevOssia, and Energous, which says it can even deploy “Mid Field charging,” which can juice up a device from three feet away!

Jacks of all trades

We’ve also been seeing companies stepping their game up when it comes to laptops, thanks to advances in graphics and processing power. 2-in-1 laptop/tablets can now be outfitted with Qualcomm Snapdragon processors, which will significantly improve power consumption, and manufacturers have even begun to put speakers inside laptop screens.

That’s it for today! Tune in tomorrow to see what’s hot in Las Vegas. For more CES coverage, be sure to head to our home page or to our official CES landing page.

We’ve got more news on our Facebook page and YouTube channel, and be sure to tune in to this week’s DT podcasts: Trends with Benefits (general tech shenanigans)  on Thursdays, and Between the Streams (movie and TV topics) every Friday.