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CES 2020: Wrapping Up the Week in Tech

Philip Palermo

Philip Palermo

Lead Senior Editor - For the Home

6 min. read

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With the Consumer Electronics Show 2020 coming to a close, it’s time to look back at the week that was in tech. After attending media events and exploring massive show floors, here are a few of the highlights we’re taking away from CES 2020.

Ces-floor

Leveraging and Improving Artificial Intelligence 

From home security to photo editing to 8K video, one of the biggest buzzwords at CES continues to be “artificial intelligence” or AI. Intel, for example, showcased how improvements in AI turn previously time-consuming tasks like isolating a complicated foreground object in a photo into a one-click affair. 

Several major TV makers are also marketing AI as a key selling point in their new 8K televisions. With so little native 8K (7,680 x 4,320, or four times the resolution of 4K) content on the market, manufacturers are relying on advanced AI to intelligently upscale content based on what’s being displayed. The goal is for sub-8K content to look nice and sharp on these new displays — without looking too oversharpened, like an overdone Photoshop filter.

LG, meanwhile, focused much of its keynote event on discussing a framework for advancing artificial intelligence that would pave the way for the kinds of futuristic smart home tech that currently only exists in movies and fancy concept videos. 

LG lays out its framework for the future of AI.

Smart Home Tech Gets Smarter

Speaking of smart homes, tech giants and up-and-coming startups made it clear there’s plenty of room for innovation left in the smart home space. At its keynote, Samsung spoke about a future where smart robot assistants learn our habits, anticipate our needs, and address problems while we’re away.

Samsung also dedicated a significant portion of its huge show floor booth to its expansive SmartThings lineup, including a refrigerator with interior cameras that can identify and track items inside. A display on the door can then let you view what’s inside without opening the door, and could also suggest shopping lists and recipes based on what you have stored.

LG, Porchster, and Danby were among several companies at CES showcasing solutions to the scourge of porch pirates. At LG’s massive booth, reps demoed an impressive entryway system that included a front door with an integrated display and a video doorbell that allows for one-time-use codes for delivery services. Once those codes are scanned in, the delivery person can choose between two lockable storage bins, including a refrigerated unit for fresh food.

Porchster’s Smart Delivery Locker is meant to attach to your door or siding and provide a lockable, phone-accessible drop box for deliveries. Danby’s Parcel Guard, which made an appearance at last year’s CES, returns to the 2020 show sporting some new features, including two-way communication and compatibility with both Google and Alexa.

The show floor provided plenty of examples of smart home tech refining and evolving beyond the version 1.0 models of yesteryear. Like previous CES events, there were numerous smart lock companies on hand, but it was clear that it’s not enough to just have a smart lock. Today’s devices need multiple input methods, robust protection against hacking, and fail-safe methods in case of power failure or WiFi disruption. Smart locks and video doorbells, in particular, seem to be maturing to the point where they no longer look and act like a piece of tech bolted onto your existing home, and instead appear as seamlessly integrated as possible.

Home Security Companies Cater to More Markets and Use Cases

In the traditional home security space, we continued to see old-school companies show off some new tricks, likely in response to changing customer needs and increased competition in the market.

ADT, for instance, unveiled its Blue by ADT line of DIY home security options. The lineup kicks off with a handful of camera options, including a door chime, but will soon expand to include sensors, a keypad, and more. It also includes free self-monitoring or month-to-month professional monitoring starting at $19.99 per month.

The company’s also partnering with ride-sharing company Lyft to launch a mobile safety feature, allowing users to discreetly request help if they feel unsafe. It’s coming to a handful of cities soon, with a wider US rollout scheduled for later this year. Elsewhere, Alarm.com, another big name in home security, is also branching out by adding whole-home leak detection to its portfolio.

Overall, the home security space continues to evolve as consumers find new ways to achieve that nebulous concept of “peace of mind.” The multi-device setup with sensors, professional monitoring, and long contracts is clearly not the only way to feel safe at home anymore and it’ll be interesting to see how these more traditional companies continue to adapt in a more diverse, more competitive landscape.

Streaming Wars Continue to Heat Up

Both NBCUniversal and Quibi are launching their respective video streaming services this April, so CES 2020 provided a solid glimpse into how both companies are approaching this ever-evolving platform. For NBCUniversal, the key selling point will be quality, not quantity, as the company leverages its staple of popular shows (The Office is coming in 2021) and other content.

Quibi is taking a decidedly different approach to streaming by focusing its service on new content, made specifically for the portrait and landscape viewing modes that mobile users switch between. It’s also delivering shorter bursts of video (Quibi is short for “Quick Bites”), so users can expect six- to 10-minute episodes for quickly consuming content on the go.

Quibi-turnstile
Quibi’s Turnstile feature ensures content is properly framed in both portrait and landscape more.
Screenshot: Consumer Technology Association

Of course, we’ll have to wait and see how the streaming competition pans out once these new players enter the field. It’s clear, however, that the streaming wars have only just begun.

Next Gen TV Expects a Big 2020 Rollout for 4K OTA

On the TV front, 8K displays continue to dominate the show floor space — after all, it’s hard to miss TVs stretching to 85 inches and beyond. But one of the more interesting presences here at CES 2020 was NEXTGEN TV, the upcoming broadcast standard that hopes to deliver 4K signals over the air (OTA), plus a few other tricks.

In short, NEXTGEN TV is the branded service name for the new ATSC 3.0 standard, which should roll out to some 60 markets in the US this year. Among the highlights of this new standard include 4K resolution, HDR support, more comprehensive and location-aware emergency alerts, and improved mobile device support.

TV companies like LG, Samsung, and Sony also announced ATSC 3.0 support in several of their upcoming TV models. And for those with older TVs, fear not: ATSC 3.0 receivers are also on the way, and unlike the HDTV converter boxes of a decade ago, one receiver should cover an entire household.

Leaving Las Vegas

Overall, CES 2020 gave us a great glimpse into what to expect this year and beyond. The smart home and home security landscapes will continue to blur, overlap, and evolve. And our choices for entertainment options, from TV streaming to OTA content, will continue to expand. It should be an interesting year ahead and Reviews.com is looking forward to continuing to help our readers stay on top of it all.

Read More

We hope you enjoyed our coverage of the Consumer Electronics Show 2020 — we certainly enjoyed being on the ground here in Las Vegas. Feel free to look back at our stories from the past week and check out our videos over at YouTube.

Watch More

We also produced several videos during the week to offer some of the sights and sounds from media event, show floors, and more. Check them out below and be sure to follow our YouTube channel for more!

Reviews.com Previews the Consumer Electronics Show

Reviews.com Tours the ADT Booth

Reviews.com Tours the Las Vegas Convention Center

Reviews.com Tours Sands Expo

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