CES Show Highlights Ananth Sam (Sales Director, Medialogy Broadcast) reports from Las Vegas
The Consumer Electronics Show has long been a must-browse-online experience for anyone keen to gauge where the television industry is heading. With many broadcast-specific conventions in no-show mode for two years in succession, we figured that a stronger case than usual could be made for attending CES in person. The event as a whole can be encapsulated in less than 30 words: Accessibility, audio, computers, domestic appliances, gaming, health, mobile devices, motor transport, photography, robotics, security, smart cities, smart home, streaming devices/apps/services, sustainability, video displays and wearable technologies. Without wasting time on exhibition politics, let’s focus on TV-related exhibits and, where relevant, their likely impact on the broadcast media business.
Occupying a high-profile location at the Las Vegas Convention Center’s central hall entrance was the NextGen TV stand promoting the ATSC 3.0 standard. ATSC 3.0 supports SD, HD, 4K and 8K, high dynamic range, wide colour gamut, high frame rate and immersive audio plus interactive features offering traditional broadcasters the ability to compete with streaming services. An early adopter of ATSC 3.0 is Hisense which exhibited ATSC 3.0 compatible receivers and set-top boxes.
Samsung demonstrated its Odyssey Ark 55 inch vertically-curved monitor with multiview mode which could transform the master control room and production control room galleries in terms of desk/space efficiency. Also on the Samsung booth was a latest-generation 8K QLED TV display and, less predictably, the ‘Bot i’ and ‘Bot Handy’ robot. The Bot i is pitched as being interactive while the Bot Handy is designed assist with household chores. Easy to imagine devices like this being integrated into remotely controlled or even autonomous mobile camera mounts.
TCL made a valiant attempt at a wearable video display. The ‘Nextwear Air’ uses micro-LED technology and brings the big screen TV experience by simply connecting via Type-C powered-USB to your phone. Interesting potential for VR if or when tracking sensors are added.
Sony car, drone and Hawk-Eye
There was lot of excitement around Sony Vision-S prototype cars but my attention was particularly toward the Sony’s Airpeak S1 professional drone. This is equipped with a full size mirrorless Alpha camera, a proprietary motor, propeller, control system and sensing technology designed to deliver high agility and precise flight. Rated flying time is up to 22 minutes without a payload and US list price is 1 cent short of $9,000.
Sony also promoted its Hawk-Eye Innovations in the world of sports and broadcast technology. New skeletal tracking and data visualisation systems track the movements of athletes and objects during live game video captures and collect the skeletal data to recreate the live action. Sony is currently cooperating with Manchester City Football Club ‘to create a next-generation global online fan community that integrates the physical and virtual worlds.’
Noveto Audio Technology demonstrated a way to deliver audio silently without requiring headphones. Potentially of use to on-camera presenters, the Noveto SoundBeamer uses non-audible acoustic waves and beam-forming. A position sensor and camera built into the hardware locates and tracks the position of the listener’s ears in real time.
Chip manufacturers like Intel, AMD and Nvidia converged both onsite and virtually to promote their latest-generation computing power that will open up new opportunities for software developers, not least in the broadcast industry.
I pass quietly over the colour changing car (BMW) and a smokeless ‘real flame’ heater though both have potential broadcast applications, not least the heater during a Vegas January.
A London-based supplier of television and radio broadcast equipment, Medialogy Broadcast (www.medialogybroadcast.tv) has specialist experience in integrating studios, OB vehicles and SNG flyaway systems as well as IPTV, OTT, cloud and multiscreen video solutions. Medialogy Broadcast also represents manufacturers in the areas of traffic management, media asset management, storage, archiving, playout, terrestrial transmission and satellite uplink.