The annual Consumer Electronics Show starts January 7, and we already have plenty of hints about what TV technologies are likely to make an appearance.
Here's a list of five tech trends to watch for at CES 2014.
1. HDMI streaming sticks. Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) gave everyone the proverbial swift kick in the pants when it launched its Chromecast streaming stick. Now copy-cat products are on their way. We know that Alticast Corp. plans to demo an HDMI dongle, while Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) has hinted at a similar product in the works. LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) announced a deal with Azuki Systems last summer to bring a collaborative HDMI adapter product to market. Get ready for dongles on parade! (See Arris RDK Boxes Coming Soon and Azuki, LG Counter Google Chromecast.)
2. 4K TV everywhere. It's not just the TV display companies that will be showing off their ultra-high-definition wares at CES. Chip companies are pitching their new products for enabling HEVC encoding and 4K-resolution TV in the run-up to the show, with big names such as Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM) and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NYSE: AMD) (AMD) set to feature strongly. If email noise is any indication, 4K promises to be everywhere in Las Vegas next week.
3. Cloud DVR. It's taken a while, but several years after Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) first introduced its cloud DVR service, other pay-TV providers are finally showing signs of following in that trailblazer's path. Expect to see TV technology vendors -- including Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Arris -- showing off their cloud DVR solutions at CES and possibly even making some new customer announcements. (See TW Cable Beams UI to Cloud.)
4. Motion-controlled UIs. Alongside the move toward cloud-based user interfaces, pay-TV providers and consumer electronics (CE) companies alike have been tinkering with motion control as a new user interface (UI) option. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC) announced before Christmas that it would be debuting gesture-based controls for its 2014 smart TV product line. Hillcrest Labs , which already powers motion control in LG, TCL, and Hisense TV sets, has said it will show up at CES with motion-control demos for everything from TVs to tablets and wearable devices. Motion's got momentum. (See Samsung Gives Smart TVs the Finger .)
5. Glasses-free 3D. If you thought 3D TV was dead, think again. Even as most of the major CE players have shifted gears to focus on 4K, there are still some companies intent on promoting new glasses-free 3D technology. Stream TV Networks and Izon LLC are both promising 3D demos without the funny eyewear. Maybe without glasses, consumers will finally give 3D a chance. Certainly the dream never dies. At CES this year, 3D is destined to rise like Lazarus once again. (See ESPN Exits the Third Dimension.)
— Mari Silbey, Special to Light Reading