Last week’s CES had to be the most over-hyped trade show in history. It reminded me of one of the last years of the famed PC-industry shows called COMDEX – the coincidences aren’t lost on me. For example, CEA — the people who put on the CES-fest exclaimed at show’s end that it was the BIGGES CES, ever. In fact, they bragged there were over 150,000 people — but they let end-users in. Real buyer numbers? Closer to 20,000.
But, it’s still a giant show. How giant? Well, it takes two hours to get from the MGM Grand to the Las Vegas Convention Center. Need a reservation to eat at a non-buffet? You better have made it in December. And, need a taxi? Good luck with that — ain’t gonna happen without waiting in line at least an hour. Seriously.
And, the week before the CES show, by the way, the Venetian was offering rooms for $59. The week of CES? $369.
But, on TV you hear all the hype. Even radio-personality and Sirius/XM savior Howard Stern sent a crew to cover this year’s CES. And, what did they talk about in the CES wrap-up? A fork that monitors how much you eat and a device you strap on your waist to tell you how many calories you are intaking.
There’s an easier way to do this without a $200 waist strap and an iPhone App — and you don’t need a special $150 fork. Just read the labels.
But, the Stern Show CES analysts did get one thing right — there sure was a lot of hype surrounding the new 4K HDTV (or, UDTV for ultra-definition).
So, in case you missed it, here are the four things that mattered at CES (including that 4K crap):
4K: As I said earlier, anyone who makes TVs who didn’t have a 4K one, blew it. No one cared about 1080p, LED or plasma, all they wanted to see was 4K and 4K in 3D. So, LG, Samsung, Sony, Panasonic, Mitsubishi and a handful of others didn’t disappoint with their 4K wonders – all using 3840×2160 pixels (8.3 megapixels). Heck, toaster manufacturer Westinghouse even launched a 110″ LED-lit LCD 4K TV — only problem is, it’s $300K (yes, $300,000). But, alas,4K is hype, hype, hype. Not as much hype as 3D, mind you. 4K will eventually be a mainstream resolution — like in 10 years. And, if you’re nuts enough to buy a 4K TV, then you should pay $30,000 for the for the Sharp 60″, or $100,000 for the 80″ from LG. Suckas!
More 3D: Seriously, four years after it became mainstream, 3D was STILL one of the top four things people talked about at CES. Stupid, huh? I am not sure what else can be said about 3D that hasn’t been said already, but just in case you haven’t heard it — it’s a gimmick. It is a GIMMICK. It will NEVER, EVER, EVER be mainstream in the home. No matter what. Look, nearly 20 percent of humans can’t see 3D, anatomically. Another 20 percent have severe viewer fatigue with 3D after 45 minutes of watching. That leaves a total audience of 60 percent – assuming those 60-percenters aren’t married to one of the20-percenters. But, they are. So, in reality, the total audience for 3D is maybe, at best, 30 percent. And, 50 percent of that 30 percent are too cheap to pay more for 3D movies and TV shows over 2D (that’s about the percentage that would rather wait 2-3 years for a TV show to appear on streaming on Netflix vs. pay for it right after it airs on AppleTV or GooglePlay). So, it’s a GIMMICK.
Samsung’s and LG’s Flexible Displays: One really cool thing at CES were the flexible, amorphous shaped LCDs. Certainly a ways into the future, but it was cool to see phone screens that can be bent to fit into things and that had wrap-around screens that allow you to see visual notifications and icons on the sides of the phone — as well as the face. This is cool technology and eventually we’ll see TVs that can form a shape around a corner for digital signage and can be bent around windshields for integrated displays in cars. It’s a trend worth following.
The Pebble Watch: Originally a Kickstarter project, the Pebble watch is the first app-driven watch. It’s infinitely customizable, with beautiful downloadable watch faces and useful internet-connected apps. Pebble connects to iPhone and Android smartphones using Bluetooth, alerting you with a silent vibration to incoming calls, emails and messages. While designing Pebble, the company strove to create a minimalist yet fashionable product that seamlessly blends into everyday life. And, it uses ePaper — so the battery lasts months. However, I have sources that tell me that the reason Apple changed the form-factor of the iPod Nano last year is because the company’s planning to launch its own iWatch (an iOS driven watch). Either way, the smart-watch is coming.
So, other than that, if you went to CES, you wasted a lot of time seeing stuff that doesn’t matter. Agree? Disagree? Leave me a comment below and tell me what I missed.