6 things we'll see at CES (whether we want to or not)

The Consumer Electronics Show takes place every January in Las Vegas, and it's the ultimate collection of new technology -- good and bad.

This is CES explained in one image. Geoffrey Morrison

It's that magical time of year: Lists are made and checked twice, little eyes sparkle with anticipation, and countless children (at heart) prepare for the unveiling of something new and incredible.

I speak, of course, of the Consumer Electronics Show, where manufacturers from around the world show off their upcoming products.

And let me tell you, the onslaught of nonsense is incessant. Don't get me wrong, we're going to see a lot of cool stuff. We're also going to see a lot of crap, polished and sold as daisies.

This list is some of both.

1. Samsung and LG labeling everything "World's First" or "World's Biggest"
These two companies certainly didn't start the hyperbolic adjective game, but they've definitely "perfected" it. Born of their intense rivalry and hatred, expect to see both companies saying something like "World's Biggest 78-inch OLED." Is there a smaller 78 inches?

Both companies have a lot to be proud of, and have many legitimate firsts. But I'm reserving the right to roll my eyes at the ridiculous parts.

2. "The Internet of Things"
What does this mean? Does anyone know? I'll answer: no one does. It doesn't make any sense. Marketing-speak gone wild. The Internet is one of the greatest inventions in the history of mankind; it's uses are nearly infinite. So is "The Internet of Things" trivializing the scope of the Internet, or trying to self-aggrandize some product that it's as important as the Internet.

Or, if it's just a connected product, then just say it's a connected product.

3. Headphones
There are few electronics categories showing as much growth as headphones. You can thank Beats and their billions spent on marketing for the explosion of headphone popularity.

No snark here, actually. This is awesome. There are so many amazing headphones available right now. A lot of crap, too, but we're in a golden age of headphones of all types. They also have a lot of markup, making companies happy. Win-win for everyone.

4. Gaping holes where plasma should be
OK, not literally, but what is Panasonic's booth going to look like now that they're pulling out of plasma ? Lots of LCDs, presumably, and hopefully the sixth item on this list.

5. More Ultra HD 4K
I give up. I'm not going to talk about 4K anymore. I've said my piece , multiple times , and all I've gotten for it , for trying to save people some money and get better, cheaper TVs for everyone, is hatemail, personal attacks, and being made fun of because I wear glasses. Fine. You win. I'll say no more.

Just kidding: 4K TVs are stupid .

Well, most .

6. OLED, OLED, OLED
Bigger, smaller, cheaper, better -- bring on Oh-Lead . We got our first taste this year and it was oh, so good . Expect to see a variety of sizes, lower prices, and, potentially, flexible TVs. It may be sad to break up with plasma, but we'll seek solace in the arms of the better looking and sexier OLED. Did it just get weird? A little.

Bottom Line
I have a love-hate relationship with CES. But for all the noise, smells, hassle, nonsensical pomp, and illogical circumstance , it's still pretty cool, and a lot of fun.

(By the way, I'll follow the first person on Twitter to guess the station where I took the picture at the top.)


Got a question for Geoff? First, check out all the other articles he's written on topics like HDMI cables , LED LCD vs. plasma , active versus passive 3D , and more. Still have a question? Send him an e-mail! He won't tell you what TV to buy, but he might use your letter in a future article. You can also send him a message on Twitter @TechWriterGeoff or Google+.

About the author

Geoffrey Morrison is a freelance writer/photographer for CNET, Forbes, and TheWirecutter. He also writes for Sound&Vision magazine, HDGuru.com, and several others. He was Editor in Chief of Home Entertainment magazine and before that, Technical Editor of Home Theater magazine. He is NIST and ISF trained, and has a degree in Television/Radio from Ithaca College. His bestselling first novel, Undersea, is available in paperback and as an ebook on Amazon, B&N, and elsewhere.

 

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