5 “nopes” for the 2014 CES

Yesterday, I listed my 5 hopes for the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show. Today I’d like to talk about my 5 “nopes” — the things that I dread seeing, and wish that the manufacturers would just stop talking about already. CES can be such a hopeful time but it’s also a time when a lot of manufacturers tend to try to put one over on the unsuspecting consumer to try to get a headline.

5. Obvious vaporware.
Sometimes it’s just so clear that something will never see the light of day. Last year we were taken in by RCA’s combination TV and Android tablet and it never showed up. It didn’t look like the kind of thing that would ever hit the market but we were hopeful. This year, I’ll be looking a lot more cynically at those prototypes under glass and if there’s no anticipated pricing, I’m going to keep walking.

4. App-enabled (everything.)
I’m all for home automation, but that doesn’t mean I want my washing machine to connect to the internet. I don’t want my pencils hooking up to the internet. I get how cool it would be in a sort of abstract way but until there is a good, secure zero-configuration protocol for these things, I’ll stay away. I have better things to do in my life than try to figure out why my bun warmer won’t get an IP address from my router.

3. Gigantic Speakers.
CES has scaled way back on audio components in recent years and to me that’s a good thing. There used to be whole halls that were impossible to navigate through the boom, boom, boom of the gigantic speakers. There are still a few places that are way too noisy but it’s better. Of all my “nopes” this has the best chance of coming true.

2. Lazy exhibitors.
You’ve seen them at every trade show, the guy who takes the plain white sign and the unclothed table and sets out some literature and a bowl of mints. That guy always wonders why the show didn’t pan out for him. I tend to avoid those guys myself unless I’m already familiar with the product. CES is a pricy proposition, but you won’t get anything out unless you put what you need to in.

1. Televisions, Televisions, Televisions.
I know this is a pipe dream but after the 500th 80″ television you just don’t care anymore. There’s ample evidence to suggest that Millennials don’t care about large TVs because they don’t care about TV period. 3D TV was a big old flop and it’s quite possible that 4K will be too. This slavish focus on gigantic TVs that look great in the showroom and will never get to the living room makes CES seem more and more like an out-of-touch relic. Manufacturers like Sony and Samsung should bring a few TVs to show their current line and if they want to talk about a bit of vaporware like LG’s 21:9 UHD TV, that’s fine. Samsung did the dancing TVs last year, let’s put it to bed.