CES again lived up to its reputation as a top show, and the feeling on the floor was very alive. Here are my top 10 takeaways as I look back at the 2020 show.
No. 1: Show attendance
CES 2019 attendance numbers were 175,000 visitors and 4,400 exhibitors, and CES 2020 claims roughly the same numbers, with perhaps another 100 exhibitors. I’m not sure if CES is growing, but it’s still a lot of fun.
No. 2: The NextGenTV booth
This year at CES, the NextGenTV booth was on the main floor, which I think signals that the broadcast industry is truly on board now. The display indicated that 61 markets will be live with NextGenTV and reaching 70% of the U.S. population with ATSC 3.0 by the end of 2020!
No. 3: ATSC 3.0 receivers
There were a lot of them. Twenty ATSC 3.0 receivers were announced for release some time in 2020, and they will be available both as stand-alone receivers and integrated within TVs.
No. 4: ATSC 3.0 — not for TV?
I heard a lot of discussion about ATSC 3.0 usage that wasn’t centered around TV. People were talking about file downloads for B2B applications, and about use in cars and appliances. Is it possible that video is not the most compelling driver for ATSC 3.0 acceptance? (If you want to know more about the ATSC 3.0 ecosystem, take a look here: https://www.dektec.com/ATSC3 )
No. 5: Display news
I saw HUGE 8K televisions everywhere. (The smallest I saw was 75 inches. Perfect for the bathroom!) All HDR formats now seem to be supported. I noted including Dolby Vision, PQ, PQ10, HLG, HLG10, HDR10, and HDR10+, and there may well have been more.
No. 6: 8K content
8K content was nonexistent even at the CES 2020 show! I did see a few YouTube channels with 8K content, and 8K-capable TVs are expected in stores the middle of this year. I hope they have good upconverters!
No. 7: High Dynamic Range (HDR)
HDR is probably the most promising feature for TV, and many different HDR methods are available — though Dolby Vision is gaining momentum. At this point HDR is still mostly for OTT content rather than live content.
No. 8: HDMI 2.1 specification
HDMI 2.1 was designed to enable 8K content to move between devices, and it supports 8KP60 and 4KP120 distribution over HDMI cable. (That’s 48Gbits/s for a single video over copper.) Although the specification was released three years ago, I saw only one TV that is close to compliance.
No. 9: Self-driving cars
Autonomous vehicles are taking up more and more space at the CES show. How long before this becomes a car show?
No. 10: Internet of Things (IoT)
IoT is still hot, and it’s all about plugging EVERYTHING inside the home into the internet. (More devices to hack!)
My time at CES this year felt like a déjà vu. I didn’t see all that many great innovations, but maybe we’re in an improving phase rather than an innovative one. Or maybe after attending 22 CES shows, I’m just hard to impress. Still, I’m planning to be at CES 2021 next year!