Cable-free TVs that stick to the wall, roll up to be stored away and go unnoticed, or spin to stand upright. These are some of the devices that have been featured at CES, the world’s largest consumer electronics show, in recent years. In this edition, which is being held this week in Las Vegas (United States), technological giants such as Panasonic, Samsung and LG presented their most powerful and innovative televisions, with which they aspire to revolutionize the smart home.
These devices increasingly have larger screens with better image quality, as Jessica Boothe, director of market research at CTA, points out (the Association of Technology Companies of the United States, organized by the CES). Despite this, the expert insists that television “is much more than just a screen”. It has begun taking the first steps toward becoming “a smart home center that goes beyond entertainment into streaming“.
“It becomes a smart command center that will connect devices like the kitchen and laundry or access your security cameras to show you what they’re recording,” he says. And it goes further. TVs are predicted to become an e-commerce platform that allows consumers to purchase products and services while watching programs.
Jakub Pesl, an employee at Panasonic, also believes that the television will first and foremost be a home hub: “People will still be able to sit down and enjoy quality entertainment, but they will also be able to control any device in the house. » “It’s hard to know what the television of the future will look like because everything is moving so quickly. I imagine a screen where you can interact by video with your friends or see who rings the doorbell, but also a remote control with a button that will allow you to order your autonomous car to approach the door.
We will still have to wait to see if these predictions end up coming true. At CES, manufacturers demonstrate what their devices can currently do. Panasonic, which invited EL PAÍS to the show, announced that from 2024 its televisions will integrate Amazon Fire TV. In a demo given to this newspaper, a Panasonic employee gave Alexa a few commands: from playing a series to turning on the lights or closing the curtains.
Although many companies are committed to making TVs the brains of the smart home, some are emphasizing the potential of these devices elsewhere. This is the case of David Gold, president of Hisense Americas, who believes that the reach of its screens “goes beyond home entertainment and covers multiple aspects of daily life, such as hospitals, classrooms , stadiums, offices and museums.”
Wireless and transparent TVs
If anything is clear after visiting the show, it’s that manufacturers are looking for ways to surprise users. A man walks around the fair with a television on in his hands to demonstrate that it is completely wireless. He’s Balaji Krishnan, founder and CEO of Displace, a company that made headlines in 2023 by making the first wireless TV that sticks to the wall “like magic.”
“We have experimented with many different technologies. For example, with rollable, wireless and transparent TVs,” boasts LG employee Jennifer Solovey, who believes that over time “there will be markets for all these devices.” Transparent screens are actually not new. Several manufacturers have been presenting prototypes for years.
But now LG has launched LG Signature OLED T, the first wireless TV with a transparent panel, which will theoretically go on sale this year. Hundreds of people came to their space at CES to record this 77-inch panel with their cell phones. In it, a movie is shown and it looks like conventional television. Suddenly, a kind of black curtain slowly slides and the screen becomes transparent. The goal is that the device can be placed in the middle of a room and go unnoticed, although it can also show fish or other animations. Samsung does not want to be left out and took advantage of the show to announce a completely transparent micro LED television.
Artificial intelligence is the main protagonist of CES. Jong-Hee Han, vice president and CEO of Samsung, believes that this technology will allow connected devices to enhance people’s routines without being intrusive and always remaining “in the background.” With it, TVs can make personalized recommendations and interact with other devices.
This technology is also used to optimize image and sound. The televisions presented by Panasonic at CES – the Z95 and Z93 models – incorporate a processor that uses artificial intelligence to obtain a brighter panel with a higher level of detail. In addition to image, sound is also particularly important for identifying locations or characters in films, reinforcing atmospheres and evoking feelings. Samsung works on Active Voice Amplifier Pro technology, a system that analyzes voice and background noise with artificial intelligence to optimize the listening experience and “be able to enjoy various contents as if they were heard in the first line of a stadium or in one Movie room”.
Achieving the most immersive experience possible is also one of the priorities of companies like Panasonic. Their TVs incorporate multiple speakers on the back to achieve this. Additionally, they have a mode called sound focus which allows the sound to be directed to a specific location in the room. “Maybe one person listens to the TV, while another prefers to stay quiet or sleep in the same room,” says Gabor Szegner, head of product marketing and communications for home entertainment in Europe at Panasonic.