8 technology trends to watch out for in 2018
Here, as you read this at ISE 2018, I’m departing from my usual reports to bring you some top-level items of importance to be on the lookout for as you wander the aisles and push your way into the stands of the RAI.
In the coming months you’ll read about the news post-CES and ISE, but lest you miss seeing things for yourself, here are a few technologies to watch out for at the show.
1 Short-throw projectors
No longer “that white box” above the whiteboard in your children’s classrooms. Starting a trend from Sony and Hisense at last year’s CES (Consumer Electronics Show) and CEDIA Expo, look for new models from these manufacturers and others. Great for situations where room configuration simply won’t permit a ceiling mount unit, this is a growing category that will see more 4K models in the near future.
2 High Dynamic Range
I’ve long felt that HDR is the “pony inside 4K/UHD,” and the market assortments from this past selling season clearly point to that. At ISE the things to look for will be any evidence of HDR-10+ beyond Samsung to match the dynamic metadata capability of Dolby Vision.
Similarly, look for models that offer HLG, as that format scheme will likely predominate for live 4K/UHD broadcasts. Same for Advanced HDR by Technicolor, also expected to grow in adoption for 2018.
3 HDR in projectors
This one is worth a separate search for you. While HDR is becoming all but standard for high-end installations, there have been few, if any, projectors with it. As QLED and OLED screens become larger, and HDR becomes all but mandatory, look to see how the PTV market reacts.
4 “Smart This” and “Voice Control That”
It’s clear that voice control is huge. However, the thing to look for at ISE is not what it is, but where it is. Voice control will move in a few directions, well beyond the first-party Amazon and Google products. One sign that began to appear at CEDIA 2017 was the impact of third-party “voice UI connected speakers” from the likes of Sony, Panasonic, JBL, Onkyo, Harman Kardon and others. This time, be on the lookout for yet more brands, including more fringe players. Also look for additional control system entrants. No, we won’t see the elusive Apple HomePod, but let’s see if there are more products with Microsoft Cortana and Samsung Bixby.
Finally, look for voice control embedded in all manner of products such as household appliances, HVAC controls, and increasingly TV sets and soundbars.
Seen last year from Sony with their Crystal LED sets and recently installed in large screen cinema installations by Samsung in Korea and Thailand, rumour has it that we’ll see more of this at CES and ISE... Let’s compare notes in March!
6 HDMI 2.1
This is one to look for that you may not actually find in market available products. Yes, you’ll read about all the news about it from CES, but will anyone actually offer it until this time next year? Look carefully at the market plans for all the major brands, as your clients and prospects will ask about it and you will need to have the answers. More on this after the shows.
Same as the above. We all know that there will be panels shown to manufacturers from LG Display and perhaps some viable products from major brands. Yes, they will look great, but they will also be large and expensive. Oh, and will there be any programme material and services to deliver it? We’re hardly seeing 4K, and Olympic coverage notwithstanding, don’t hold your breath for 8K coverage.
8 OLED vs QLED
This battle between display technologies gives no evidence of letting up anytime soon. Here it isn’t so much a question of your being able to declare a winner as much is it IS your job to look at them all and explain the differences, plusses and minuses when you are inevitably asked “which should I buy?” There will be much, much, more at ISE, but take these as a starting point to assemble your own list of things to see this year.
…Oh, and if you see someone roaming the vast halls of the RAI in an infamous “test pattern jacket”, please stop me and say hello so that we can compare notes in person!
Michael Heiss is a technology consultant and journalist, CEDIA Fellow, CEDIA ESC 2 Certified, and US correspondent for HiddenWires magazine. You can contact Michael via the HiddenWires LinkedIn Group or follow him on Twitter @captnvid.