5 COOL THINGS SEEN AT CES

Big Picture (So to Speak) Trends Relevant to ATSC 3.0         

By LYNN CLAUDY

“There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy and the tired.”

                                                  -F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

That’s an apt description of the companies and people at CES® 2017, all of them fighting for relevance, headlines, a role in the future or just a quiet place to sit down for a while.

Future Focus

Technology again took center stage in Las Vegas, and the result was blinding, deafening, mind-numbing and mind-blowing – all pretty much at the same time.  It was the 50th anniversary of CES. And, while the celebration of the past was longingly nostalgic (remember the first consumer HDTV sets unveiled at CES in 1998?), the focus of CES 2017 was definitely on the future.

Relevance for ATSC 3.0: At CES in just a few years that timeline will no doubt have an entry for “ATSC 3.0 television sets introduced for the U.S. market,” with a subheading of “This is not your father’s TV.”

Get the LEDs Out

OLED was a featured display technology on more brands than ever (LG, Sony and Panasonic, just to name a few), but so were U LED (Hisense), Q LED (Samsung) and Nano Cell LED (LG), along with other variants, all claiming (correctly) to make gorgeous pictures. 4K Ultra HD was pretty much the default resolution for TVs shown at CES 2017. A growing number of 8K models also were spotted, with common screen sizes in inches getting close to body temperature in degrees. And it was easy to believe that a Red Lobster commercial on an 8K display could actually make you salivate!

Relevance to ATSC 3.0: Picture size and resolution in the home aren’t going down, folks. We need to feed those screens!

First ATSC 3.0 TV Set Revealed

Wandering, wandering, and suddenly… there it was!  For those of you that found, in the middle of the vast LG booth, the ATSC 3.0 4K Ultra HD model that will soon be introduced in Korea, you’ll look back on that first glance as the beginning of the Next Gen TV revolution for consumers.

Relevance to ATSC 3.0: Korea is the first mover and will be a critical commercial proving ground for ATSC 3.0 services!

Cars That Think for Themselves

There were lots of autonomous and connected concept cars at CES 2017, where the North Hall seemed to rival an auto show. Re-imagining the car without the need for constant attention from a driver is still a little scary to contemplate seriously, but the opportunities for re-imagining what goes on in the passenger cabin are incredible.

Relevance to ATSC 3.0: Bringing compelling news, information and entertainment services to a captive mobile audience – and delivering NRT data to telematics/navigation systems – with ATSC 3.0 should get broadcasters excited.

Toast of the Town

And finally (finally!) the Connected Toaster is here, courtesy of Griffin Technology, which in their words is “a full-featured digital toaster that helps users toast smarter.”  This Bluetooth-enabled smart toaster and companion smartphone app offer personalized settings for “the perfect slice, every time.” After my chalk talks over the years alluding to elusive futuristic digital toasters, it’s gratifying to see toaster technology finally get recognized and on display at CES.

Relevance to ATSC 3.0: If toasters can go all-IP, so can television!

Long-time ATSC board member Lynn Claudy is the Senior Vice President of Technology at the National Association of Broadcasters.