The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas can give electronics companies, retailers and consumers an idea of what to expect when it comes to the items that will be hitting shelves in the coming months and years. This year the item people were most excited about was the bevy of televisions being released. Last year, 3D was all the rage as Panasonic (PC) and a host of other companies sought to release an item novel enough to have people toss their perfectly sufficient flat screens. This year, companies are at it again only instead of focusing on getting something to top out of the television set, they’re concentrating on what’s inside it. OLED screens instead of plasma or liquid crystals. New OLED screens, or organic light emitting diodes, are the new rage in televisions.
OLED’s are nothing new, they have been used in luxury smartphone screens for some time but it had been difficult to make the transition into a larger screen for some reason. Companies from LG (LG) to Samsung (000068) though have now mastered the technology and are lauding the screens as the future in television.
The debut of the LG television this year, has received considerably press already. Marketed as the world’s, “thinnest, largest and lightest” television the 55-inch screen with a crystal clear picture is wowing audiences. At this point, the beauty of the screen will only reach a few eyes as the price tag for creating the prototypes remain disarmingly high.
OLED televisions are expected to be available on the market later this year, but at an estimated 8k a pop minimum, consumers may not be rushing to the store to pick one up.
Aside from OLED, televisions that have social media capacities are also gaining ground. People are purportedly beginning to watch TV with a phone or tablet on hand, allowing them to participate in interactive shows on television or even just check their social media networks on commercial breaks. Panasonic believes that this warrants a device that facilitates this process. The smart TV would provide the user with on-screen social networking devices or even split screen that would allow face to face chats while watching television.
It's been documented that more people are watching TV with a phone or tablet nearby so they can check Facebook during commercials or chat with their friends about what they're watching.
Now, manufacturers want to help you do all that through your television. On Monday, Panasonic announced a series of Web-connected "Smart Viera" TVs that will flash your social-networking updates on the screen. The company also unveiled a split-screen feature that lets you launch Skype and chat with friends while you're watching TV.
This feature could also prompt an increase live blogging, a popular trend in media wherein watchers offer their own ongoing commentary. Automatic internet connections in some television sets further indicate how the internet and television will be even more closely connected in the upcoming years.
Beyond being more connected, some television markers are working to improve oft ignored features like sound, which tends to take a second fiddle to the clarity of the picture itself.
Talk to Me
One element that many will rejoice over seems to be the motion and voice activated televisions being introduced by Samsung and LG. This feature piggy backs off of the success of Apple’s iPhone 4S, in which a virtual assistant completes spoken tasks and searches. The elimination of the remote, which so many of us have struggled to find, may certainly be a welcome progression in the world of television watching.
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