CES 2020: Yes I went to the Central Hall

Today was the day for the busy Central Hall. As I approached LG’s huge booth I was greeted with an obviously quickly patched sign advertising the NextGen TV booth’s real location. If only they had read their proof before yesterday’s article

And then the people at LG kept me waiting

The show floor opened at 9, unless you were LG. I noticed other entrances opening promptly but by 9:07 the people at LG were still holding back the crowd. Nertz to them, I thought, and I headed over to see…

Yes, Samsung was really the other major player in the Central Hall. Sony was there too but in their traditionally far-away spot. I’ll get to them in a minute.

Samsung’s spin on things was a little different this year. Yes they had the massive TV:

Everything you see there is TV. It’s not just the bright spot in the middle. The whole thing is a TV and it looked quite good. Despite being made up of individual LEDs like the screen in a sports arena, it wasn’t blown-out or slow. But that wasn’t really the hit of the hall.

Samsung’s Serif is a style-conscious TV with pronounced top and bottom parts to the frame. I know they were supposed to have a totally frameless TV but I couldn’t see it. It might have been behind a crowd. Besides, the idea of treating a TV like it’s got some style actually got me thinking.

On the other hand, maybe I’m the wrong demographic for the Sero, a traditional TV which rotates if you cast vertical video to it. Great, but I say shoot horizontal video in the first place and we won’t have any problems.

Sony brings something surprising

For the last several years, Sony’s booth was as stale as moldy bread. Their style is stodgy and the products are never that good. This year they brought a car.

They’ll never build this car but at least it was something moderately interesting, so I’ll give them some credit.

LG, you’ve suffered enough

I did eventually make it back to the LG booth where I watched the roll-up and roll-down TVs. Very nice.

Really the only other thing of interest I saw was a TV that sort of slid back to reveal a bookshelf. I thought, ok, it’s stylish.

And the rest

I was surprised to see Royole in a position of prominence right in the center of the hall. You might remember them from last year’s foldable phone. This year they showed off a ton of flexible displays. Not too many people were interested, but at least they showed up.

8K was everywhere

8K TVs were everywhere. Every manufacturer had several and the funny thing is they got absolutely no attention. I think at this point everyone is still waiting for 4K content and it looks like it will be years before you really have to worry about an 8K TV.

Overall impressions

The show was a lot quieter this year. I can’t wait for CTA to come out and say it was the biggest, most well-attended show ever. Because it has to be a lie. This show was nothing like the huge crush of people from 5-6 years ago. And the interest in most of the vendors just wasn’t there. Then again, some of the vendors weren’t there either. Intel’s traditional spot at the corner of the Central and South Halls was occupied by IMAX and someone else. I think Intel has had that spot for at least 15 years and this year… nothing.

PS: The North Hall

I wandered the auto-rich North Hall for a bit. The hit of the hall was this Fisker Ocean, an electric SUV you can reserve now for a net price under $30k. But all the excitement was gone by day 2. Mercedes had their weird Avatar-inspired car. People looked at it but they didn’t gasp. Hyundai had their giant drone for carrying people. Wasn’t a lot of interest.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 6,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.