This year’s Consumer Electronics Show was kind of like bad pizza. It’s better than no pizza, but still… While it was hardly a flop, there just wasn’t a whole lot to see that really lit up the blog team’s interest. I know that some sites were impressed by Intel’s futuristic displays, but that booth didn’t hold a lot of interest here. Maybe we came at the wrong time.
One thing that our better-read comrades seem to agree with us on is that the displays of 4K TVs were almost uniformly disappointing. The thin TV that Sony showed was thin at the top, but still about 2″ thick at the bottom. That’s not terrible but it’s not paper-thin. LG’s devotion to glasses-requiring 3D was really pretty sad, and the many displays of glasses-free 3D were just plain awful. You got a pale imitation of 3D if you sat perfectly still but if you moved the whole image shimmered and wobbled like it was under water. Kyle Russell of TechCrunch posted a whole article about how badly 4K TVs were marketed at CES and we completely agree.
In fact, we spent about half an hour at the Samsung booth due to one of the team getting snookered into a survey comparing their SUHD TVs to regular ones. I sat back and listened. The problem is that the SUHD TV was actually not the better one in most cases. TV manufacturers have this habit of cranking the brightness and color up when they demonstrate a TV so everything looks like it’s on fire, and when they showed an SUHD TV (keep in mind that SUHD is not a real industry term) next to a regular TV the regular TV usually had better levels of detail and more realistic color levels.
Mr. Russell also bemoans the fact that many TV makers delighted in showing you images of unattainably shapely women in their videos, taunting you with what you can’t have. This may have been true, but for those heterosexual males looking for an excuse to ogle, this was easily the worst CES ever. The “booth babe,” it would seem, has become a politically incorrect anachronism, replaced by a reliable, knowledgeable representative. Yes, there were some hired models in small patches of spandex and impossibly high heels, but nothing like in previous years. It’s just an indication of the fact that CES has returned to its roots as a business-to-business show and really not an entertainment for the masses, despite what the media says.
So better luck next year, CES. Maybe this show is evolving into something like a Star Trek movie where only the even numbered ones are good. If so, we’ll see you at CES2016!