The Consumer Electronics Show is something to always look forward to at the beginning of a new year, as the huge event in Las Vegas allows companies to showcase their latest innovations and consumer products for a few days. CES 2019 officially begins tomorrow and runs through Thursday, with tens of thousands of people attending, so there’ll be plenty to see. Here are the three big things to keep an eye on during CES 2019:
As is usually the case for many average consumers, televisions are the thing that will draw the most interest during CES 2019. About 95% of households own at least one television, and it’s a big purchase with all the shows, streaming, and premium networks available today—along with video game consoles and the increase in 4K gaming via ultra-high-definition consoles. There’ll be a lot to watch for in the television space the next few days.
LG (which creates the OLED panels for every company) is the OLED giant, but Sony isn’t far behind with their line of impressive televisions. With the ability to deliver perfect blacks via shutting off individual pixels, OLED offers the best picture quality available, and LG probably tops the list with its group of televisions. This year, LG already announced ahead of CES that they are releasing four new OLED televisions: the C9, E9, W9 and Z9.
-The C9 is likely to come in 55 inches, 65 inches, and 77 inches like last year’s C8 model. As was the case with the 8 series last year, the C9 should have the same picture quality as the E9 and W9.
-The E9 is basically just like the C9 but with a more premium screen-on-glass design. Last year’s E8 came in 55 inches and 65 inches, so we’ll see if LG surprises with a 77-inch model with the E9.
-The W9 is the “wallpaper TV,” which is about as thin as a key and lays flat against the wall in a beautiful design. It should come in 65 inches and 77 inches.
-And the Z9 is brand-new and the first of the “Z” line. It is an 88-inch 8K OLED TV, which will be the biggest OLED available (barring an unforeseen release from Sony).
MicroLED is a new technology that Samsung has been pushing forward—starting last year with its 146-inch “The Wall” TV. The Wall has not been made available for purchase (but not many people could afford it anyway), and this year, Samsung is getting closer to delivering a MicroLED TV for consumers, with a 75-inch version that should be much more affordable than one nearly twice its size. There’s also a monstrous 219-inch version of The Wall Samsung is showing off this year, but that’s probably more of a flex by Samsung than anything and a bit away from actually being available to purchase—and it might cost six figures if/when it is available. Samsung also has many QLED TVs that are likely to be more reasonable for most consumers for now.
This might be more of a gimmick than a product a lot of people will want to purchase, but LG might be releasing rollable televisions available to purchase in 2019. The TVs can roll down while not in use, which some people might like to give rooms a little more breathing room. Rollable phones, including the Samsung Galaxy X, are probably closer to widespread use and acceptance.
4K seems like it just got here, but companies are pushing forward with 8K televisions that will be available for purchase this year. We already mentioned the LG Z9, while Sony is likely to release an 8K television available for purchase, too. Meanwhile, Samsung already has an 85-inch 8K QLED TV available for purchase and are adding to that with more sizes. And LG is releasing LCD 8K TVs in addition to their ultra-high-end Z9. 8K content is still a ways away, though, and 8K TVs won’t be worth buying for about 99% of people until prices drop dramatically and more content becomes available.
AI and smart home devices
Last year at CES, Google Assistant took a step forward into more direct competition with Amazon’s first-to-market Alexa devices. This year, both companies—and other tech giants—could be touting their artificial intelligence and assistant devices as the battle continues. It’s more than just Amazon and Google—companies are improving article intelligence, and you’ll probably notice it in consumer products released in 2019 and beyond.
Many of the companies presenting new hardware and other future-facing innovations will be talking about 5G and how the new ultra-fast, connected network will take their products to the next level. Look for 5G to be huge, with likely talk about making “smart” products and home even smarter, while mobile networks preach the importance of 5G—and don’t forget self-driving cars. This year is supposed to be the year 5G starts to take off, so naturally there’ll be a lot of discussion about it during CES to start the year as everyone tries to jump ahead and stay ahead of the curve.