CES2014: Here’s the wrapup

Well, the blog team are back in our cozy chairs with suitcases unpacked and hangovers finished, and it’s time to look back on the stuff we really liked and disliked about this year’s International CES. This ended up being a very good show despite a lot of initial worry, and we were glad to be a part of it.

Yes there were still a lot of TVs.

Despite the fear that CES would prove itself hopelessly irrelevant by showing nothing but huge, unattainable TVs, the major manufacturers found a way to strike a balance between the big TVs and the stuff that’s a bit more important to our lives. Samsung did this best, devoting almost as much space to tablets as they did to TVs. There were a lot of 4K (Ultra HD) TVs at the show, and the most disturbing trend is that more and more manufacturers are making their TVs thicker, not just by curving them but just… making big chunky TVs. So much for hanging them on the wall.

If you ever thought the Chinese weren’t here to stay…

If last year was the formal introduction for brands like TCL, Konka, Changyong, and Hisense, this was the year they proved that they deserve to be in our homes. Many of the Chinese TVs weren’t just good enough to come out and play, they were indistinguishable from the premier Japanese and Korean brands. If you’re not thinking of buying a Chinese TV today, you will be tomorrow.

Tons of wearables and none we wanted to wear

We didn’t report on wearables largely because we didn’t find a single new wearable product that we believed was worth buying. Not that you should be surprised by that but there was always hope that a startup would have something truly transformative.

On the other hand, 3D…

The whole blog team is racking our brains trying to find a use for 3D printing technology. This is THE big technology of the 21st century so far. 3D printing is faster and cheaper this year, and it’s easier to make objects with moving parts. The overall quality is as good as injection molding, too. It’s still slow and expensive, but that’s temporary. We’ll be 3D printing the things we want soon, we’re sure of it. It will start with small replacement parts or cases, and it will go everywhere. When they come up with a way to make really durable parts, every auto shop will make its own stuff.

Let’s be clear… We. Want. This.

What we’ll see in the next 6 months…

Don’t count on seeing all those curved Ultra HD TVs in your local big-box store in the next six months, but you’ll see a lot more flat ones in stores, at prices comparable to where HDTVs were just a few years ago. You’ll also see more Bluetooth, more integration with your car and with your home, and you’ll see a lot more people wearing Google Glass. Last year the team saw one person wearing Glass in the whole show and this year there had to have been 100. It won’t be long before you see an “Explorer” (as Glass-wearing folks call themselves) in your hometown, and even if you never try it yourself, it’s hard to argue with the impact.

You’ll also see Samsung’s excellent Galaxy Pro line of tablets. As for Sony’s cloud service, LG’s new phones and WebOS TVs… those might take a little longer.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.