CES 2024 review: high stakes and new wagers at Vegas expo

posted on Sunday, 21st January 2024 by Steve May

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Display dice were rolled, and connected cards dealt as CES 2024, the grandest technology trade show on the planet, unfolded in Las Vegas. Drawing in over 135,000 attendees from 150 countries, and featuring more than 4,300 exhibitors, including a record-breaking 1400+ startups, CES once again raised the ante, showcasing innovative trends that promise to reshape the future of the CI industry.

The show was also foot-punishingly large. This year’s show covered 2.5+ million net square feet of exhibits, 15 percent bigger than CES 2023. Inside CI didn't get to cover it all, althought we gave it our best shot...

Unsurprisingly, artificial Intelligence emerged as the star player at CES 2024, dominating conversations from hall to hall, and seemingly powering every major launch. But it wasn’t the only key trend.

Electric Vehicles were also big news. CES solidified its position as one of the world's largest auto events. With more than 600 mobility exhibitors, including BMW, Honda, and Hyundai, the LVCC West Hall showcased autonomous vehicles, electric cars, vehicles with Dolby Atmos sound systems, and even a flying car.

Gaming and ESports had a visible presence. Gaming is evolving from a console and PC-focused entertainment to a social platform, and inclusivity is the name of the game. The push for inclusive design standards in controllers and accessories aims to bring more consumers into the gaming fold. Advancements in captioning technology and hearables further enhance accessibility.

In a surprise move, Panasonic partnered with Amazon, effectively shifting its smart screen TV line-up to the Fire TV OS. Panasonic's incoming OLED flagship TVs, the Z95A and Z93A, impressed with their superior image and audio quality, gaming support with a 144Hz refresh rate, and compatibility with Apple Home and AirPlay.

In a surprise move, Panasonic partnered with Amazon, effectively shifting its smart screen TV line-up to the Fire TV OS...

Demonstrating superior image and audio quality, courtesy of a new processor, the HCX Pro AI Processor MK II and a brighter MLA (Micro Lens Array) panel module, the models now support Dolby Vision IQ Precision, promising even greater pictorial nuance. Final colour-tuning is courtesy of leading Hollywood colourist Stefan Sonnenfeld. We had an up-close look and were blown away with the set's cinematic images.

Panasonic is putting the emphasis on gaming, as well as movies. Both the Z95A and Z93A OLED TVs support 11440p144Hz, as well as 4k 120HZ. Making them excellent candidates for media room use, the sets sport the brand’s celebrated 360 Soundscape Pro Dolby Atmos sound system, once again tuned by Technics.

Elsewhere, LG wowed with its transparent, confounding, rollable OLED T screen. Boasting a wireless Zero Connect box, which sends 4k images and immersive sound to the OLED T, the OLED T barely looks like a television when turned off, providing infinite new interior design options.

The company used a stunning display comprising 15 77-inch OLED T models to welcome visitors to its showfloor stand, a display that emphasised both the transparency of the screen, and its roll-up backing, which enables the TV to offer a picture performance comparable to a conventional OLED screen.

An all new Alpha 11 AI processor powers the OLED T, offering a 70 percent improvement in graphic performance and a 30 percent faster processing speed. The same processor will also be used on the new LG G4 OLED (which we also saw, and looks stunning). The OLED T can double as a transparent digital canvas and features an Always-On-Display (AOD) for showcasing art or information.  Expect these beauties to be hand-built to order, when they becomes available (price TBA)...

Samsung introduced the Music Frame at CES 2024, a wireless picture frame with an embedded audio system that can operate as a standalone wireless speaker or pair with a Samsung TV. It’s an extension of the brand’s hugely popular Frame range of gallery-style TVs, and looks likely to be just as successful. Should Sonos be worried?

Samsung introduced the Music Frame at CES 2024, a wireless picture frame with an embedded audio system that can operate as a standalone wireless speaker or pair with a Samsung TV... 

Samsung also unveiled an 8k Ultra Short Throw projector, equipped with an 8.2.2 Dolby Atmos sound system, that uses a wireless One Connect box. This will be a boon for integrators looking to provide upscale media room projection, with minimal installation complexity.

On the flatscreen front, Samsung impressed with its new Neo QLED 8k QN900D Neo QLED televisions, which utilise a next-generation AI processor, the NQ8 AI Gen3. Selling points include 8k AI Upscaling Pro, for enhanced 8K upscaling and Real Depth Enhancer Pro, which adds detail to fast-moving sports scenes. These new screens also look spectacular, thanks to an Infinity Air design just 12.9mm deep.

We also learnt that Samsung’s Tizen OS is getting an update for 2024, with the introduction of user profiles for customised recommendations. Its streaming IP TV service, Samsung TV Plus, is also getting an updated user interface in 2024 with an overview of available content.

CES 2024 wasn’t all high tech though. The show witnessed the resurrection of the music cassette player, with new Hi-Fi brand FiiO launching the CP13, appealing to retro music fans. This cute, throw-back portable boasts a metallic case, and USB-C rechargeable battery. No one saw that coming.

CES returns to Las vegas January 7- 10, 2025. With this year's chips now down, the tech industry eagerly awaits the next hand to be dealt at CES 2025. We'll see you there.

Steve May

Inside CI Editor Steve May is a freelance technology specialist who also writes for T3TechRadarHome Cinema Choice, Trusted Reviews and The Luxe Review.

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