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My Top 10 Memories of CES ’15

The 2015 International CES was memorable to me since it was the first time in 25 years I was a contributor and not the editor of a daily at the show. But this blog isn’t about me; it’s about the things I saw and was impressed with in Vegas. Some of my picks just might increase industry profitability now, and in the near future, so here goes:

10.Drones seemed to be all over the show. While I still don’t think retailers will use them to deliver products, there are still plenty of legitimate consumer and business uses for drones: emergency situations, news broadcasts, sports broadcasts, exploration, farming … you name it. But you will want the FAA to control the technology — especially if you are a frequent flier via jets — for obvious reasons.

9.Driverless cars from Mercedes (with CEA’s Gary Shapiro emerging from it) and BMW. While we all know there are currently “driverless cars” on U.S. roads today due to drivers being distracted from texting and phone calls, among other reasons, real self-driving cars may actually happen sooner than we all expect.

8.Major appliances have been around CES for years. But I think it got more attention from bloggers and consumer media this year than ever before, a point that TWICE’s Alan Wolf made very well in a recent blog. When you consider tech developments with white goods over the past few years, and the Internet of Things trend, you can see why CES is now a big major appliance show.

7.Dish Network 4K Joey Ultra HD set-top box: The content-playing device features 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. This will get 4K content to those TVs now. Separately, a prototype 4K Blu-ray player Panasonic displayed at CES may be a factor in the near future.

6. Sharpdoubled down on LCD. It is still a major supplier and proponent of LCD, has been for years, while competitors push other formats for 4K and 8K. From its perspective, why not? Sharp’s 4K and 8K sets on display were very impressive.

5.Sony proved that thin is always in, and I was floored with its X9000C LED LCD TV that at its thinnest was said to be slimmer that the company’s Xperia smartphone.

3.(tied)LG and Samsung 8K displays are amazing, and both companies used the CES spotlight to its full advantage. Yes, I know, the industry hasn’t sold 4K yet, but it is important for their companies and the format to unveil what will be available in the near future.

2.The Sling TV OTT streaming service was designed for millennials by the Dish Network subsidiary, since many of that age group have rejected traditional subscription-based pay-TV services. The millennials I have been hanging out recently love the no-contract aspect of the service, that it will provide sports, lifestyle, family, news and information, including video-on-demand entertainment and the best of online video, live to broadband connected devices at home and away, and the price: $20 a month.

1. Internet of Things keynote by Samsung’s CEO B.K. Yoon clearly explained that the age of IoT has already started, in a thoughtful speech citing concrete, real-world examples. These will be products and systems that today’s electronics/appliance retailers, CE specialists and installers will be able to explain, sell and install, which means profits. I’ll have more to say on the whole subject in an upcoming blog.