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”

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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.

5     microLED

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.

7     8K

LG Display 88-inch 8K OLED Display presented by two women at CES showSame 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.