The annual speed-dating rite for tech companies began early Monday mornng with companies previewing their International CES offerings in every hour on the hour, in 45 minutes or less presentations for assembled members of the media and the blogosphere.
Now, I didn’t go to all the events scheduled. Just a few. And, as a matter of fact, you can read my news coverage of the Samsung event here, but these are a few impressions of what I saw yesterday morning and early afternoon.
LG highlighted the big picture with its “Innovation for a better life” tag line with Dr. Scott Ahn, chief technology officer, outlining its Internet of Things strategy for its many products. Ahn pushed that LG is all for open platform and its WebOS 2.0.
For instance, LG has a large lineup of new content partners for the WebOS 2.0 smart-TV platform. The new alliances – with leading content and technology providers GoPro, DirecTV, Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, HSN, Showtime, Drama Fever and iHeartRadio – will offer online access to more streaming content and 4K viewing options than ever before to millions of LG smart-TV owners.
LG said one of the most noteworthy new content partnerships is the TV collaboration with GoPro, which will bring content to LG smart TVs. Access to 4K content is anticipated in future updates to the channel.
But the big news from LG is its OLED Ultra HD introductions, with Tim Alessi, new product development VP, saying that the key to those curved sets is “total black” which he said those screens provide, and seeing the images, I don’t doubt him.
He said LG expects a market of 100 million units in OLED by next year, 2016, and it is getting prepared for it with an expanded OLED TV lineup for this year, which includes seven different new 4K OLED TVs — flexible, curved and flat models spanning 55, 65 and 77 inches in display size.
LG considers OLED the future, but in contrast (excuse the TV pun), Sharp, the key developer of LCD, thinks that format still has plenty of life left in it going forward.
Jim Sanduski, new president of Sharp Electronics Marketing Company of America, introduced its 43- to 80-inch Aquos 4K Ultra HD TV for this year, but the big technology piece is its Beyond 4K 80 Ultra HD. This is said to have 167 percent greater resolution than “traditional” — love that adjective — 4K sets and “approaches” 8K resolution. The key is that Sharp, with LCD, can develop this type of almost 8K TV. Shipments will begin in the second half, and, of course, pricing is set to come.
Panasonic proved that it is still in CE at its press event, by using its CE-based technologies through a ton of markets including display, business to business, broadcasting, car and plane electronics … and consumer.
Joe Taylor, chairman and CEO of Panasonic North America, reported that its car electronics business is a quarter of the company’s business in North America. It is working with Ford Sync and continues its partnershp with Tesla on lithium batteries with a facility that can provide batteries for 500,000 cars by 2020.
Julie Bauer, president of Panasonic Consumer Electronics, showed its Ultra HD TV for consumers, as well as other markets, and showed a prototype Blu ray deck for 4K Ultra HD programming. Bauer also showed a 4K camcorder and discussed a ton of “alternative showrooming” — coordinating with health, fitness, sports and beauty events in the past year — which helped demonstrate its display, camera, camcorder and plenty of other related products directly to consumers.
Panasonic is reintroducing its Technics lineup for upscale digital audio systems at CES. The company also announced its support of the UHD Alliance, as did Samsung on Monday, which will gather TV makers, studios, content providers and everyone involved in 4K HD.
Dish Network, and its high-energy veteran CEO and president Joe Clayton, introduced its 4K Joey Ultra HD set-top box which plays content, a new remote and user interface, a whole-home music app that controls Hopper and Joeys to stream music across the home, and streaming video for music videos that are presented with the Hopper Vevo app.
Dish shared its time with Sling TV, a subsidiary of Dish Network, and introduced a live over-the-top TV service designed for millennials thatwill go nationwide in the first quarter. The service will offer sports, lifestyle, family, news, information, you name it, including video-on-demand entertainment and best of online video, live to broadband connected devices at home and “on the go” as the company said.
According to Roger Lynch, Sling TV CEO, the key is that consumers can watch live TV for $20 per month “with no commitment or contract” saying it is “a game changer.” We should soon see. Catch the details in TWICE’s Greg Tarr’s full report on the service.
Those were just some of the news that broke by around 12 noon on Monday, and show wasn’t set to begin for another 21 hours. I didn’t even mention the many wearables and drones displayed at CES Unveiled late Sunday afternoon. That’s what the Official CES Daily by the editors of TWICE is for, plus TWICE.com, the TWICE newsletter and TWICE’s social media outlets.
For those of you lucky enough to be here in Vegas, enjoy the show, and try to experience these and many more new products live this week.