CES 2024 in Pictures

CES returned to Las Vegas Jan. 9-12, and the big news on the home entertainment front was the incorporation of AI into smart TVs to make them even smarter. Also making a surprise show floor appearance was Netflix, back at CES for the first time in six years, with a booth and immersive experience promoting its upcoming new sci-fi series “3 Body Problem,” which starts streaming March 21 and is from the creators of “Game of Thrones.” All photos by Media Play News staff except where indicated.

Evolving with the Home Entertainment Business

Walking the show floor at CES never gets old.

Every year, there is a new array of technological marvels on display as well as the proverbial “shiny new toy” that captivates everyone’s attention — and then either fades away (3D), has its moment in the sun (VHS, DVD, Blu-ray Disc), or becomes part of everyday life (flat-screen TVs, smart everything).

This year, the buzz is about artificial intelligence, or AI, in which machines essentially “learn” to mimic the human mind, and the mind’s reasoning process, in solving problems and making decisions and even predictions. This one’s going to stick and integrate itself into virtually every aspect of our lives. Some predict AI will one day find a cure for cancer.

On the home entertainment front, CE manufacturers such as Hisense are enabling AI into their TVs to recognize scene content and adjust clarity, brightness and color tone accordingly.  It takes the term “smart TV” to a whole new level.

The one constant at CES over all these years has been change. There’s always something new, something different, something unusual. And while a good percentage of the products shown, or talked about, at CES never make it to market, it’s good to float these ideas and have these conversations. Innovation will never go out of style.

As we begin our seventh year as Media Play News, we’re also changing, innovating and evolving with the home entertainment business, a broad term that encompasses both streaming and the traditional transactional model.

Believing launch and release dates are every bit as important as news about when deals are signed, we are now covering announcements about new streaming and FAST channels as comprehensively as we’ve been covering new transactional digital and disc releases. We want you to know exactly when you can start streaming that hot new Netflix series everyone’s talking about, or when that Warner Bros. Pictures theatrical blockbuster is making its debut on Max.

Last November, we published our second annual “40 Most Important People in Streaming” feature, a subjective listing of the executives we believe are not just winning at streaming, but leading it to the next level.

In our most recent “Women in Home Entertainment” feature, published in October, we shone the editorial spotlight not just on leaders from the studios and major streamers,  but also tech giants such as Microsoft and Google, as well as innovative companies such as Premiere Digital, Whip Media, Vizio and others.

We have expanded our market research section to include all the different ways consumers watch movies or shows on demand.  We are by no means giving up our legacy disc sales and rental charts — we believe physical media remains a very important part of the business. But as the only entertainment publication to focus exclusively on the distribution of content to the home, as well as the nuts and bolts of content sales and licensing, we need to be as inclusive as we can, treating all channels with the appropriate level of diligence and respect.

And in recognition of the fact that a growing number of our readers  want to read our news in all formats 24/7, we are ramping up our social media activity with the hiring of a new social media marketing director, who is charged with making sure all our news is constantly appearing on all major platforms, including Instagram and TikTok, with the language and visuals that the next generation expects.

We haven’t yet turned to AI to write news stories or reviews — we’re still relying on a talented team of writers, editors and journalists who know this business inside and out.

But I have brought on a virtual assistant to help me out with phone calls, which I still make from time to time.

You might have heard of her: They call her “Siri.”

CES 2024 Opens in Las Vegas With Traditional ‘Wow’ Factor and AI Everything

LAS VEGAS — CES 2024 officially opened Jan. 9 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, and early indications are that the show is back to its pre-pandemic size and scope.

The concourse was packed an hour before the show floor opened at 10 a.m., and walking through Central Hall that morning was a lot like moving through Times Square on a Friday night — except there was even more neon and flash.

Big consumer electronics mainstays such as Sony, Panasonic and Samsung battled it out with relative newcomers such as Hisense and TCL for the vaunted show floor “wow” factor, with the former touting its AI-enabled line of massive television sets and the latter capitalizing on its NFL partnership by bringing in such football legends as Bo Jackson and Brian Bosworth to sign autographs and snap photos with guests.

As expected, the big buzz this year is around AI — not so much to replace the human touch but to embellish it.

The Consumer Technology Association, which produces CES, said there are more than 4,000 exhibitors and expects more than 130,000 attendees, a significant jump from last year. Exhibitors this year, according to the CTA, including a record number of startups in Eureka Park, a dedicated area for breakthrough technology.

“At CES 2024, we’re thrilled to bring together exhibitors, attendees and media to display and dream up the technology of tomorrow, and the innovations that are solving today’s greatest challenges,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the CTA. “CES is where business and policy converge.”

During the CTA’s State of the Industry Address on the morning of Jan. 9, Shapiro recognized the 100th anniversary of CTA and underscored the importance of technology that can enhance human capabilities to address issues such as access to clean air and water, food, healthcare, and technology.

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CES Media Days on Jan. 7 and 8 at Mandalay Bay featured 23 press conferences, including presentations by Hyundai, Hisense and the UHD Alliance. CES Unveiled Las Vegas, a preview of the products launching at CES 2024, featured technology from 180 companies ranging from Palmplug’s Theraplay virtual reality game, which helps rehabilitate stroke patients, to Xpeng AEROHT’s flying car.

“Unveiled Las Vegas is such a great way to kick off CES each year and to get a sneak peek into some of the early trends at the show, and it was no surprise to see AI everywhere amid diverse offerings across accessibility, digital health, food tech, mobility and smart home,” said Kinsey Fabrizio, CTA’s SVP of CES and membership.

CTA’s director of thematic programs, Brian Comiskey, and director of research, Jessica Boothe, presented 2024’s Top Tech Trends to Watch. This year’s presentations showcased how AI, sustainability and inclusive tech design will advance tomorrow’s technologies such as mobility, digital health, content, gaming and agrifood tech. Underpinning these trends and evolution in the industry is the rise of Gen Z as a sizable and influential segment, especially in emerging market nations where they’re rapidly connecting to the internet to shape worldwide trends. In turn, innovation in both the consumer and the enterprise will advance to a more intelligent, greener, and more inclusive tomorrow.

In addition to more than 250 conference sessions and the Innovation Policy Summit for global policymakers, CTA on Jan. 9 launched the Consumer Technology Circularity Initiative (CTCI), a voluntary industry initiative to reduce waste, encourage more reuse, enhance recycling, reduce climate impact, and see less disposal of consumer electronics. Founding partners include Lenovo, LG Electronics, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony Electronics Inc.

OTT.X Announces the Addition of 11 New Members

OTT.X, the trade association for the OTT industry, announced the addition of 11 new members during its annual breakfast at CES on Jan. 9 in Las Vegas.

New members include Aux Mode, Cinesend, Equativ, FlixU, LG, Penthera, Pop Twist, Roku, Studio Dome, V Channels, and WiseDV.

“It’s exciting seeing such explosive growth in the OTT industry and with it OTT.X’s membership,” OTT.X EVP Eric Hanson said. “We’re looking forward to bringing in our newest members and to continue building a community that supports our membership’s success and enables distribution of a broad, diverse spectrum of content through OTT and CTV platforms.”

OTT.X has more than doubled its membership over the last two years and launched an affiliate program that now includes five universities.

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OTT.X stages two annual tentpole events, the X-Fronts in May and the OTT.X Summit in the early fall, each attracting upwards of 600 attendees from all sectors in the streaming business — SVOD, AVOD, FAST, market research, and technology. OTT.X also hosts smaller networking events nearly every month in Los Angeles, New York City, Las Vegas and Miami to bring its members together to collaborate and share knowledge and insights.

CES Opens This Week in Las Vegas With Amplified New-Tech Focus, AI

LAS VEGAS — Preparations are in the final stages for CES, the big tech show opening Jan. 9 for a four-day run where the buzz this year is about AI-powered everything.

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA), which produces the annual show, promises more than 4,000 exhibitors, just slightly less than CES attracted in January 2020, during its last pre-pandemic run.

The show was held virtually in January 2021 and a year later returned to Las Vegas with just 2,300 exhibitors and 45,000 attendees.

Both exhibitor and attendee counts soared in January 2023, to 3,200 and 115,000, respectively.

“The CES platform is all on for 2024. No other event in the world connects the full ecosystem of the tech industry like CES,” Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the CTA, said in a press release. “This year at CES, we are excited to spotlight the critical role that technology is playing to improve every aspect of the human experience.”

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The show in recent years has veered away from its consumer electronics roots, except for the continued stream of TVs that each year seem to grow bigger, thinner and with higher resolution.

This year, however, home entertainment stages something of a triumphant return, with Netflix making its first CES appearance in six years. The streamer will unveil the trailer for its new sci-fi drama series “3 Body Problem” at its convention center booth on Jan. 9 from 10 to 11 a.m. Also on hand will be the show’s creators, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, and writer-producer Alexander Woo. The series is scheduled to debut on Netflix in March. Booth attendees will be able to don a headset transporting themselves into the world of “3 Body Problem.”

Netflix also will be at the Aria for private meetings with its partners and clients. The streamer also is transforming the hotel’s Easy’s Cocktail Lounge into the Netflix Speakeasy.

On the big TV front, LG Electronics will be showcasing its newest lineup of QNED and QNED Mini LED TVs, including a 98-inch screen model, which the company says offer vibrant picture quality, advanced AI-powered processing technologies and extensive personalization features. QNED TVs consist of a mini-LED panel with quantum dots.

Big screen innovations are also expected from Samsung, TCL, and Hisense. TCL is expected to make a big deal out of its new partnership with the NFL, while Hisense already has teased a giant 110-inch TV, which it says offers with 10,000 nits of peak brightness, five times as high as most premium TVs. The 110UX incorporates over 40,000 backlight zones, which minimizes backlight leakage and measurably elevates contrast, Hisense says.

In addition, 110UX “achieves an industry-leading 95% of the BT.2020 color palette compared to other leading displays that achieve 80% of the color space due to material or design limitations,” Hisense said in a news release. “110UX is powered by Hisense’s newly developed X-Chipset with AI-powered picture quality features such as AI Contrast and AI Depth. This intelligent chip recognizes scenes and content, making real-time adjustments for a clearer, more immersive, captivating display effect.”

Artificial intelligence, not surprisingly, will be the central theme at this year’s CES, the CTA says. “AI will be front and center with applications that can improve health care, sustainability, productivity, accessibility and more,” the association says in a news release. Most exhibitors, from Garmin to Walmart, will be showcasing products that incorporate some aspect of AI, prompting Lopez research analyst Maribel Lopez to tell Reuters, “It’s the year of AI in everything. If you don’t have it in your product, don’t show up.”

Walmart says it is making its “biggest-ever [CES] appearance this year, with a keynote highlighting our vision for the future and a booth showcasing how we’re pushing the boundaries of innovation and using tech to improve customer and member experiences.”

Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillon will present a keynote Jan. 9 from 2 to 3 p.m. in the Venetian’s Palazzo Ballroom. The theme: Disruptive retail tech.

At its Central Hall booth, a two-story affair with 10,000 feet of display space, visitors can “experience the path of a product as it moves through our supply chain, to our stores and clubs, and finally, to our customers’ and members’ hands,” Walmart says in a news release.

Also at this year’s CES, Advanced HDR by Technicolor returns to demonstrate the latest innovations in high dynamic range (HDR) technologies for broadcast and streaming distribution operations.

Circana: Samsung, Hisense Top 2024 Consumer Electronics Industry Performance Awards

Heading into the annual CES trade show this week in Las Vegas, research group Circana  announced its 2024 Consumer Electronics (CE) Industry Performance Awards — led by South Korean consumer electronics manufacturer Samsung, which topped the largest market share increases for in-store and ecommerce TV sales.

China’s Hisense topped total North American TV market share.

The 8th annual awards program acknowledges brand leaders in the consumer technology industry based on top increases in market share in North America, fastest turning brand per item in the United States, Canada and Mexico, and top ecommerce market share gain through October 2023.

“Aligned with the spirit of CES, our annual awards program recognizes those who have excelled in navigating the dynamic landscape of technology, shaping the future through their innovative contributions,” Ian Hamilton, president, technology, home, and office supplies, at Circana, said in a statement.

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Roku Moving Into High-End Television Market With Pro Series Models

Roku is expanding its lineup of branded HD televisions to include more expensive units featuring 55-inch, 65-inch and 75-inch screen sizes priced at upwards of $1,500 — 50% higher than the company’s most-expensive ($999) TV units available today.

The new Roku Pro Series TVs will include 4K QLED display, Mini-LED, local dimming, enhanced audio technology for a wide cinematic sound, and a new modern thinner design that rests flat against the wall. Roku is also expanding its line of less-expensive televisions featuring AI-generated features, including automatic picture quality.

The new televisions — available in the spring and aimed at the market currently dominated by Samsung, LG and Sony — will be showcased by San Jose, Calif.-based Roku next week at the annual CES trade show in Las Vegas.

“As we hit 10 years of the Roku TV program, we believe this new line of TVs will set a new standard for an elevated streaming experience,” Chris Larson, VP, retail strategy, Roku, said in a statement.

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In 2023, Roku rolled out its first branded TVs designed, made, and sold by the company. In the most recent fiscal period, Roku generated $125.2 million in device revenue, which includes streaming devices, up 33% from the previous-year period. The device segment reported an operating loss of $9.4 million, down 37% from an operating loss of $14.9 million in the previous-year period.

CES 2024 Announces Celebrities Who Will Be Attending the Show

The Consumer Technology Association on Dec. 28 announced the lineup of celebrity appearances coming to CES 2024, which will be held Jan. 9-12 in Las Vegas.

“CES has a long history of welcoming celebrities and ambassadors for the world’s most well-known brands, and this year is no exception,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the CTA. “We are excited for their participation at CES. These individuals and the brands they represent put a spotlight on important issues in the tech industry.”

As the home for the advertising, entertainment and content community at CES in Las Vegas, the C Space Studio brings together the world’s leading brands, advertisers, media platforms and content. This year, the C Space Studio interviews on Jan. 9 and 10 will feature celebrities including Robert Downey Jr.; former NBA player Blake Griffin (Boston Celtics); Ryan Kalil, television producer and former NFL player for the Carolina Panthers; and T-Pain, music artist and record producer.

As part of the AgeTech Collaborative from AARP at CES, which brings together a network of startups, investors, enterprises and creatives in the AgeTech ecosystem, celebrity guests include Utkarsh Ambudkar, actor and music artist; members of the Tony Award-winning Broadway show “Freestyle Love Supreme”; comedian Howie Mandel; and podcast creator Guy Raz.

Also expected to make appearances at CES: Steve Aoki, DJ and music producer; David Benioff and Daniel Brett Weiss, producers and co-creators of “Game of Thrones”; actors Bianca D’Ambrosio and Chiara D’Ambrosio; businessman and Shark Tank investor Mark Cuban; author Geoffrey Moore; and musicians Ludacris, Will.i.am, and the Wu-Tang Clan.

Netflix Making First CES Appearance Since 2018 With ‘3 Body Project’ Series Showcase

Netflix is set to make its first significant presence in six years at next month’s annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The streamer is showcasing its new sci-fi drama series “3 Body Problem” on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024, from 10-11 AM PT at the Netflix Booth at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Central Hall, Booth #17048.

In addition to previewing the series’ trailer, the show’s creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, and Emmy-nominated writer-producer Alexander Woo (The Terror: Infamy, True Blood) will also be on hand. The series is set to debut on Netflix in March.

Booth attendees can don a headset transporting themselves into the mysterious world of 3 Body Problem in a fun and experiential way, showcasing the series’ genre-bending high stakes.

Netflix will also be present at the ARIA Resort & Spa (which is under renovation by its new owner) to engage in private meetings with partners and clients, where meeting suites will be customized as well as a full Netflix-branded takeover and transformation of Easy’s Cocktail Lounge into the Netflix Speakeasy.

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon to Keynote CES 2024

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) has announced that Walmart CEO Doug McMillon will deliver a keynote at CES 2024. The opening-day keynote at the tech event will explore the digital transformation spearheaded by Walmart.

McMillon speaks at 2 p.m. PST on Jan. 9, 2024, in the Palazzo Ballroom at the Venetian.

Walmart has led retail innovation for decades, according to the CTA release. From popularizing use of the now ubiquitous UPC product barcode to building one of the first private satellite-communication systems at scale, Walmart has consistently modeled how early adoption of technology drives industry success. McMillon will bring Walmart’s people-led, tech-powered vision to life, highlighting how Walmart improves lives, communities and the planet, the CTA announced. He also will offer a view of what’s next for Walmart as the company uses technology, combined with deep retail and human insights, to exceed customer expectations as they move across platforms and places to discover goods and get inspired, according to the CTA.

“Like CES, Walmart is all on using agility and creativity to push the boundaries of tech that improves outcomes for customers and associates,” said Kinsey Fabrizio, CTA SVP for CES and membership, in a statement. “Doug’s compelling story of how Walmart is enabling the next generation of retail will reflect on their people culture, beyond the advances powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning.”

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“Great tech disappears behind great experiences,” said Dan Bartlett, EVP, corporate affairs at Walmart, in a statement. “As the world becomes more digital, we are thinking ahead on how we design and build technology that will usher in the next generation of retail. Doug’s keynote, plus compelling experiences on the CES show floor, will show how we’re using technology to make our customers’ lives easier, enable our associates to build satisfying careers and make our business even stronger.”  

McMillon delivered a mainstage address at CES 2021, while other Walmart leaders addressed sustainability and brand management via appearances at C Space. Walmart joins L’Oréal as CES 2024 keynotes, with more announcements to come.