What mattered at CES 2014 -- Press day

The action kicked into high gear at CES today, with lots of companies taking the stage for formal press conferences and keynotes. We sort through the chaos so you don't have to.

Jennifer Guevin Former Managing Editor / Reviews
Jennifer Guevin was a managing editor at CNET, overseeing the ever-helpful How To section, special packages and front-page programming. As a writer, she gravitated toward science, quirky geek culture stories, robots and food. In real life, she mostly just gravitates toward food.
Jennifer Guevin
3 min read

LAS VEGAS -- The action kicked into high gear at CES today, with lots of companies taking the stage for formal press conferences and keynotes. Here are the highlights from press day at the International CES 2014 consumer tech show.

Scenes from CES 2014 -- Press Day (pictures)

See all photos

TV tech
TVs are always big at CES, and this year was no different. The most buzzworthy TV of the day was a bendable TV screen from Samsung. We saw an 85-inch LED LCD model with 4K resolution that transforms from flat-screen to curved with the press of a button. The practical uses for this bendy feature are dubious and we have no idea how much the TV will cost, but it's still a novel concept.

Samsung's bendable TV
Samsung this year is showing off a TV that curves with the touch of a button. Sarah Tew/CNET

In the realm of plain-old flat screens, LG, Panasonic, Toshiba, Sony, and Sharp showed off their ultra-high-def televisions.

Predictably, 4K TV has already emerged as a big theme at the show this year, and 4K was featured in every major manufacturer's lineup. (4K even made it into a few non-TV products, including the Lenovo ThinkVision 28 monitor, which runs Android KitKat.)

And again we're seeing more and more smart capabilities added to TVs of all kinds. Roku has partnered with Hisense and TCL to release six TVs that have Roku's Smart TV platform built-in -- no box required. LG is keeping WebOS alive, incorporating the operating system into its smart TVs.

Dish used its press conference today to show off what it called a "troop" of Joey set-top boxes and a PS3/PS4 app that allows those game consoles to deliver Dish Hopper service to secondary rooms.

Our TV editors are particularly excited to see direct LED dimming technology get incorporated into TVs from Sony and Samsung.

Wearable tech
Leading up to the show, we expected wearable tech to be the real standout product category at this year's show and that prediction has certainly come to fruition.

Kickstarter darling Pebble is classing up its product line, releasing the $250 metal-cast Steel smartwatch. CNET editor Tim Stevens got an inside look at how the design for Pebble's watches evolved; he brings you that behind-the-scenes story here.

Pebble Steel
Pebble's new $250 Steel watch. Josh Miller/CNET

A Pebble update was expected. But other companies, not traditionally known for making wearable devices, are trying to capitalize on the fervor surrounding wearables. One such company, Razer, unveiled the Nabu, which blends together features of a smartwatch and a fitness tracker to make a sort of fitness-notification superband.

LG is making its first foray into wearable tech, introducing the Lifeband Touch and Heart Rate Earphones. The Lifeband Touch is a practical, health-focused wristband that works well paired with a phone. The Heart Rate Earphones have a sensor in each earbud; they send heart rate and oxygen consumption data to a phone via Bluetooth.

LG Lifeband Touch and Heart Rate Earphones
CNET editor Scott Stein rocks the LG Lifeband Touch and Heart Rate Earphones, both coming this year. Sarah Tew/CNET

One piece of wearable tech is far from your standard fitness band. The Avegant Glyph. We've written about the virtual retinal display technology before, but finally got to give it a whirl in person. It's intended as mobile ear and eye display headgear, for use with your movies, games, and whatever else you'd need a display for. But when the eyewear's folded up, it just looks like a big pair of headphones.

Valve is jumping into gaming hardware with its new Steambox platform. It combines console-like hardware that runs Steam-based PC games and works with a custom controller designed by Valve. Today, Valve showed off early hardware prototypes from some of the partner companies that will make the machines, including Dell, Maingear, Falcon Northwest, and Origin PC. As CNET reporter Nick Statt says in his analysis story, with such heavy hitters getting behind the hardware, Valve's Steam Machine could pose a massive threat to the status quo of gaming.

A Steam machine made by Alienware. Steam by Alienware

We also got a look at some pretty impressive innovations for the home. Samsung rolled out a whole new line of professional-chef-grade kitchen appliances. LG tried to sell us on a set of "="" rel="follow" target="_self">appliances we can text with. A worringly unscientific poll of CNET editors in the CES parking lot trailer is mixed on whether that's a pro or con.

Samsung's Chef Collection suite of premium kitchen appliances. Samsung

Corning introduced a new bacteria-fighting antimicrobial glass for smartphones to keep us safe from our own filth.

Sony today announced plans to sell the Xperia Z1S via T-Mobile in the US, beginning later this month.

LG announced that its 6-inch phablet with the arched display, the LG G Flex, is coming to not just one, but three carriers: AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile.

LG G Flex
The curved LG G Flex. Josh Miller/CNET

Toyota today talked about its continuing foray into green cars. Specifically, it gave some details of its bet on cars running off fuel cell technology, which boast no emissions but water vapor. At the convention center, the company displayed two cars: a four-door blue sedan and an engineering prototype, or a "mule," covered in camouflage that Toyota used for testing in North America.

Toyota's fuel cell car
Toyota's fuel cell vehicle, planned for 2015. Sarah Tew/CNET

We shifted gears later in the day as MakerBot used its press conference to introduce a new line of 3D printers, including the smaller, more affordable Replicator Mini and the industrial-strength Z18 for making larger objects. It has also built mobile and desktop apps people can use to tape into its design network from anywhere.

Must See
Today we launched our Must See package, where we round up the absolutely most interesting tech, news, and events at CES. Go see our Must See page now to see what made the list today. And be sure to come back as we name new Must See items each day.

Watch this: CES in Depth: The big announcements from Press Day at CES 2014