CES has come and gone as it does every January and now a few days later we can have a look to see what the themes of the show was and what the stand out items and theme was. This year there were two themes rather than one – the promise of wearables and 4K actually starting to be realistic.
Wearables feel as if they’ve been available for a while. Google’s Glass made the concept of wearable computers enter the main stream consciousness but they have not actually launched a purchasable product. Apple’s iWatch has long been rumored but they have never confirmed that it exists, let alone giving us a release date. Fitness bands have been available for a couple of years, but have been plagued with problems and have been restricted in capacity and hard to get in the UK. 2014 might be the year where it all starts to come together with a huge number of companies showing off wrist solutions, Epson and Vuzix showing off glasses and even smart socks from Sensoria.
It remains to be seen which form factors and standards will come out on top but the market’s expanding range and abilities and falling price point have to hit a convergence point eventually.
The second big theme at CES was 4k. 4k is the next standard in resolution for video and TVs, being 4 thousand pixels wide as opposed to HD which has around 2 thousand. As a standard it has been available for a while but there have been few commercially available TVs, projectors, cameras or camcorders and little to play on a 4K TV if you actually got one. This year we had announcements from the major TV manufacturers with LG, Sony, Panasonic all bringing out monster size (up to 105 inch) TVs and Sony showing off their new HandyCam that will record in 4k. Perhaps more importantly Netflix is adding 4k streaming to its standard package as content becomes available and will be producing their own content in 4K from now on.
The 4K market is still expensive and most of us will not have space for the huge TVs it supports, but given a few years the prices should come down and 4K will get onto smaller and smaller TVs.