CES 2013 - 3Vision Highlights
12 Mar 2013
The annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this year had over 150,000 attendees
The biggest buzz on the TV manufacturer stands was 4K, or Ultra HD as it is also being referred to. This is the new standard in picture definition being marketed to consumers, which delivers four times the picture quality of HD. Big brands like Sony and LG where showing 84 inch screens that retail at over $20,000. The price of these TVs is expected to fall rapidly but the main problem is the lack of content in native 4K format. The “upscaling” technology built into the sets produces very good picture quality but it will be some time before we see an enhanced Blu-ray format delivering full 4K.
Smart TV continues to be a focus for manufacturers. Numerous improvements to previous innovations were on show, such as an improved interface and much more sophisticated voice control navigation from Samsung.
Many manufacturers were also demoing technology to transfer images and video between small and big screens. They've realised that consumers want to both move video from the TV on to their own devices as well as show what's on their phone on the TV, but super-engaging second screen apps are still elusive.
UltraViolet was also being promoted more heavily. This is the cloud based movie delivery system being supported by many content and technology players as a counterbalance to iTunes www.uvvu.com. All the Hollywood studios except Disney have got behind the technology and the service is claiming success with over 9 million subscribers registered in the US. However, it's not clear how active users are and the registration process is generally recognised to be over complex and off-putting. Nonetheless we expect UV to become more broadly adopted in 2013 with the service rolling out to major international markets.
The Connected Car was big news at CES - mainly focussing on navigation, safety and music services such as Pandora. Ford and GM both announced that developers will be able to build apps that use their platforms in a similar way to iOS and Android - this will result in both new apps for the car as well as linking to existing smartphone apps.
Apple does not attend CES and most content owners we spoke to had the view that their dominance of smartphones and tablets was starting to wane with the Samsung's increased success and the launch of much cheaper devices running Android. There was also positive talk about the new Blackberry 10 devices but it seems unlikely consumer uptake will be significant.
As more and more new devices continue to appear in the hands of consumers content and the CE world will continue to have a complex, interlinked and ultimately profitable relationship. So CES will be more and more of an important event for the content world. See you there in 2014.