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CES 2018 Press Day Blog: TV and AI Assistants

by David Watkins | Jan 09, 2018

CES 2018 Press Day Blog: TV and AI Assistants

Although CES has expanded into a broad range of technology sectors over the years, traditional home entertainment based devices and particularly TV continue draw much attention and enjoy significant coverage by the press.

Year after year TV vendors continue to push the limits of what they can achieve with picture quality and design enhancements and today’s press day was awash with TV related announcements including:

  • Samsung unveiled its Wall TV concept, a modular-based display using a Micro-LED panel that can in theory be configured into any size of display. Like OLED, Micro LED technology is self-emitting and therefore does not require a backlight allowing it to produce deep black levels and be built in very thin form factors. However, unlike OLED it is an inorganic material which means it should last longer than its rival technology. Samsung continues to shun OLED technology in favour of its QLED LCD technology but it clearly sees Micro LED as the future for TV.
  • TCL is expanding its partnership with streaming media platform provider Roku and will be bringing Roku’s new voice control and search capabilities to its Roku TVs in 2018. In addition TCL announced the TCL Roku Smart Soundbar that will make use of Roku’s recently announced whole home entertainment Roku Connect software platform. Is this Roku looking to mount a serious challenge to Google and Amazon in home entertainment control and management?
  • LG Display has revealed a prototype of a 65-inch rollable OLED TV having demonstrated an 18-inch version in previous shows. One practical benefit of such displays would be to reduce packaging size and therefore make transportation and storage easier.
  • Hisense unveiled a 150-inch version of its 4K ‘Laser TV’ projector following the launch of its 100-inch version last year.

    Artificial Intelligence was unsurprisingly a major buzz word and central theme at many of today’s press events. However, it was not always obvious what makes these so called AI devices intelligent beyond having a voice interface and access to cloud based service.

  • LG revealed its new ThinQ sub brand which brings AI capabilities to a range of new LG products including smart TVs, smart speakers and home appliances. ThinQ will enable LG’s products to learn about how consumers use them so that they can automatically adjust their settings to meet a particular user’s needs. The ThinQ platform is open and will work alongside AI platforms from other companies. LG announced that LG’s ThinQ Smart TVs and Smart Speaker will also have access to Google’s Assistant for more general tasks.
  • Samsung made a big push for its home grown Bixby assistant at its press event and the company has placed ‘Intelligence’ as one of three key pillars in its integrated IoT strategy (the others being seamless connectivity and single cloud).  Samsung’s 2018 Smart TVs for the US market will come with the Bixby assistant allowing users to control the TV search for content and control SmartThings devices being using voice commands.
  • Qualcomm announced that its Smart Audio platform now supports most of the leading cloud AI ecosystems including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Baidu DuerOS, Microsoft Cortana and Alibaba AI. Qualcomm’s platform is designed to help OEMs bring Smart Speakers to market and give them the choice of which voice assistant to use. LG’s new Smart speaker is built on Qualcomm’s Smart Audio platform.

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