A new year means new tech, and it was great to be back in full force at CES 2023 in Las Vegas. For the Accedo team, with our focus on technology that is enhancing entertainment experiences for end users, it was certainly exciting to witness the incredible amount of innovation across VR, fitness, OTT and smart home integrations. But, for the purposes of this blog post, we are going to highlight the latest and greatest from the connected TV (CTV) OEMs at CES 2023.
LG showcased some amazing technology at CES, with one of the best booths at the event. Upon entering the LG demo center, attendees were greeted with a floor-to-ceiling display of their OLED TVs.
As it celebrates 10 years of OLED TV technology, LG is pushing the boundaries with its latest releases. The standout product is the 97" Wireless OLED-M model, which features a wireless AV box that can be placed anywhere with a clear line of sight to the TV. All devices can be connected to this box, which is capable of transmitting 4K-quality pictures. It's worth noting that the TV still requires a cable for power instead of being battery driven.
Another innovative product introduced by LG was the transparent OLED-T TV. This transparent display is a perfect example of the focus on "disappearing TVs" that OEMs have been pursuing for a number of years. Whether it's Samsung's "Frame" TVs or Sony and LG's rollable OLED CTVs, this unique concept allows for TV placement in more locations than just the standard wall mount in the living room, and allows users to make use of more open space. While its practicality may be up for debate, the technology is certainly intriguing.
LG also announced general improvements across its TV models, such as the Brightness Booster and a newly redesigned LGWebOS interface. This includes updated features focused on encouraging more personalized user experiences for brands who have, or plan to have, applications available on the platform.
At CES 2023, Samsung's display area was a popular destination as the company announced new and improved versions of its existing TVs, including QLED and QD-OLED models.
There was also a great display highlighting the 8K filming and photo capabilities of the new Samsung Galaxy S22, and its ability to use SmartView to cast and view on the new Samsung QLED in 8K.
The Neo QLED models got a visual upgrade. Samsung’s new Auto HDR Remastering AI technology can analyze and apply HDR effects to SDR material in real-time, on a scene-by-scene basis.
Samsung's main focus for CES 2023 was highlighting its expanding universe of devices, including promoting the availability of Samsung TV Plus across devices in the home, from QLED smart TVs to refrigerators. Additionally, Samsung's focus on device management and sustainability, such as monitoring energy usage in the home, was a refreshing and environmentally-friendly aspect of the company’s showcase.
Lastly, Samsung announced that Samsung TV Plus now has 1800+ FAST channels. This was easily one of the biggest FAST services announcements at CES this year.
The big news coming from Roku revolved around the company’s own branded CTVs, finally confirming the long held belief that the age of the dongle is over. The most impressive feature of the new Roku TVs is their price. Starting at $199 CAD all the way up to $1000, these are poised for high market adoption.
While the new hardware made the biggest splash, the big change coming to Roku this year is the focus on content discovery and universal search across its platform. Roku recently introduced the "Continue Watching" swimlane available directly through the Roku OS from your OTT applications, as well as the "Featured Free" section promoting FAST and other free content.
AT CES, HiSense highlighted the exceptional picture quality available through its 6K, 7K, and 8K CTVs. The company has placed a strong emphasis on enhancing brightness with its new ULED X mini-LED QLED TV, reaching a peak brightness of 2500 nits. As it transitions away from its partnership with Roku, HiSense is utilizing its own Vidaa OS or Google TV as the primary operating systems.
In addition to CTVs, HiSense also showcased the latest lineup of its short throw laser projectors, known as Laser TVs, including the L9H Trichroma. These laser projectors offer a unique viewing experience and expands the possibilities of where and how a TV can be used.
Comcast announced the transition of Xumo into Xumo-branded Ultra-HD 4K TVs. As the company continues to grow Peacock using the hybrid monetization model, Xumo transitioning into this new experience provides a lot of potential for the future.
During CES, TCL announced its first QD-OLED TV, but this was retracted shortly after. While it is likely that there will be one in the near future, the major focus is still QLED. The company has adjusted its branding to consider two model types: the higher-end Q-series and the lower-cost S-series.
Roku has shifted to manufacturing its own TVs, while HiSense has chosen to focus on using its in-house TV operating system, VIDAA, as well as partnering with Google TV as the primary operating system.
OEMs have a significant impact on what users experience when powering on their devices. Companies like Google, Amazon, Samsung, and Roku are competing to license their operating systems to lower-tier TV vendors, with even TiVo competing in the mix. Each company aims to expand the reach of its software and increase reliance on its platform, as well as promoting its preferred content.
As these companies compete for viewers, it will be challenging to ensure that their apps are easily discoverable. Google TV has announced that it has over 150 million monthly active Android TV/Google TV users, indicating that the competition for eyeballs is heating up. With a focus on viewership for 10-foot experiences, according to Conviva Sos Q2 report the viewing hour distribution of the top 6 platforms is as follows:
To gain more users in the coming year, companies must continue to improve the user experience and make it easier for end users to discover content.
Many of the OEMs at CES were focused on improving brightness and visual quality, as well as increasing the size of their TVs. While the advancements in QD-OLED, wireless, and even transparent TVs are exciting, it's unlikely that the average consumer experience will change significantly in the next year. It may become slightly easier to find the shows you want; however, the overabundance of content will continue to make deciding what to watch difficult. Irrespectively, a few things are clear:
The coming year offers many interesting topics to follow, such as the potential impact of a worldwide recession on the adoption of high-end 8K or QLED TVs versus the continued popularity of lower-end, more affordable devices. At what point do TVs become too large for the average living room? Does 16K make sense for consumers? What happens if more governments follow the EU’s energy regulation which could ban most 8K TVs unless OEMs adapt quickly? How are OEMs planning to keep users engaged on their platforms aside from highlighting additional free or FAST content? There’s never a dull moment in the media industry!
Accedo is proud to be at the forefront of this dynamic and rapidly-evolving market, and we look forward to helping bring your applications onto the latest and greatest in CTV technology across all major OEMs.
We have the expertise and knowledge needed to help your video service grow and expand. If you would like to find out how we can support you, or you wish to talk more about some of the details in this article, please get in touch.