CES 2013
CES 2013
A view from John Tigg

Think BR: From Vegas to the world

Tablets, giant TVs and a fridge that orders its own milk; Videology's John Tigg takes a walk round the halls at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The local tourist campaign says what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Actually last week, the idea was that what happens in Vegas ends up in your living room, your pocket or even your kitchen.

The Consumer Electronics Show is a monster - 1.9m square feet of exbibits and 20,000 new products unveiled in just four days. And that’s before you add in the off-site meetings involving pretty much all of the big advertising agencies.  

Las Vegas in January has now become as much part of the advertising year as the annual summer pilgrimage to the south of France. In part that explains why experienced CES hands say this year’s show is the busiest ever. It’s also a reflection of the importance that we as consumers now place on technology and innovation. 

The overall theme of this year’s show is connectivity: the idea that by connecting devices to the internet they become smarter, more efficient and more useful.

Smart appliances on show included a fridge that can order more milk when you run low. It may not appeal immediately to your granny but sooner or later we’ll probably all have one. 

More traditional CES fare, however, was the number of tablets on show. Every electronics manufacturer now has its own tablet. The differences are minimal - they all have very high screen quality, they are all very light, they all have very good (usually HD) cameras.

The tablet market is about to become much more competitive from a hardware standpoint, so expect to see tablet prices coming down as new entrants try to buy market share.

No CES, however, would be complete with talk about TV. Last year, connected TV was the big message coming out of CES and that has continued.

Walking around the exhibition centre, however, and you could be forgiven for thinking that it was purely a competition to see who had the biggest screen. Samsung is exhibiting a whopping 110 inch ultra high definition TV - how big is your living room?.

Perhaps more useful from a media perspective is the update to the smart brain inside the brand’s TVs, which adds a recommendation engine, suggesting shows you may want to watch on the basis of your TV viewing habits.

Just as Amazon knows which books we like to read, in the future Samsung’s Smart Hub could be the best predictor of our evening’s viewing.

One thing that catches your eye when looking at any of these gargantuan TVs, though, is the quality of the picture you can now achieve - which is stunning.

Sony is showing off a new 4K OLED TV with an incredibly crisp image quality, and LG is showcasing curved OLED screens, again with extraordinary quality.

This innovation in screen quality is not just limited to TV. Many of the newest mobiles on show can provide exceptional quality when watching video content. I tested the new Sony Experia Z handset, for example, and the video quality is better than my home TV.

The question that all this is that as internet consumption grows on mobile and tablet devices, will the infrastructure be able to handle the level of data traffic required?

When these new devices hit the high street, the consumption of video and other content will explode as the experience is so good. Mobile carriers urgently need to assess their infrastructure investment and getting 4G more broadly rolled out in the UK will be critical.

John Tigg, general manager, EMEA at Videology