In January, nerds gathered in Las Vegas for the annual Computer Electronics Show. This annual trade show brings tech companies large and small together to show what they’re working on for the year to come. It’s an event that showcases some outlandish technology that never makes it past the concept phase, but attendees also see what the biggest innovators in the world are hoping to accomplish over the next year. CES shows in the past have provided a first look at HDTVs, smart watches, and Blu-Ray technology. So what did this year bring?
CES 2017 didn’t demo many new physical devices. It seems that most companies are working on improving existing technology. For example, Amazon didn’t have many prototype devices, but they did have plenty to talk about with Alexa, their virtual assistant. Alexa features are now part of smart lights, 4K TVs, and even Ford cars.
TVs are always a big draw at CES. Bigger, sharper displays are always easy to find on the convention floor. This year, HDR and thickness were the features. Since 4K TVs are finally cheap enough for all of us to buy, brands have to come up with a new way to sell $4,000 32” units. Enter HDR. Sharper contrast and deeper black lines help take these units to a new level of clarity. Also, television thickness is on a serious downtrend. LG showed off a unit less than 3 mm thick. The unit is basically plastered to your wall and honestly looks fake when viewed from the side. Less bulk helps lighten the load, so mounting these TVs won’t lead to massive holes in your drywall.
Another hit at this year’s CES was streaming services. Until now, people, like me, don’t cut the cord because I can’t get live television—this means no sports! Hulu, AT&T, and Sling are working hard to change that. New streaming options on display this year included options for live television events. The best of cable plus the best of streaming seems like an exciting combination and could even force cable companies to finally lower that cable bill we’re always complaining about!
Some technology at CES never sees mass production, but it’s always interesting to see what the R&D departments are doing at large tech firms when money and production costs aren’t concerns. Most of this year’s focus was on software upgrades, so there’s a high probability we’ll be seeing most of this technology available at our local Best Buy sooner than later. Now, who do we need to talk to about those flying cars?
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