Tech Trends to Watch: Report from CES 2013

It’s an electronics paradise… thinner-than-thin TVs, Bluetooth speakers, voice activated everything, and the “second screen.” All of these and more were hot topics at this year’s International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which saw more than 3,000 consumer electronics manufacturers descend upon Las Vegas to launch more than 20,000 new products. So, what are the top consumer trends coming out of this year’s show? 4K If you thought high-def looked good, wait till you see 4K (aka “ultra” high definition TV). This technology has four times the resolution of HDTV, creating an image so breathtaking, it’s like you are there. The 4K sets shown this year were big, from 55 to 85-inches. Of course, while some manufacturers are already selling 4K models, the technology isn’t quite consumer-ready, considering the lack of content for consumers. Nevertheless, it’s hard not to be impressed and excited about the possibility of 4K resolution in home theaters and home systems in the future. OLED We’ve been hearing for many years that OLED technology—which makes current TV sets look positively dull—is just around the corner. However it is very hard to manufacture at larger sizes, which is why you’ll typically only find it on phones and gadgets. While some manufacturers have plans to sell large OLED TVs in 2013, they will come at a premium ($12,000 for a 55-inch set). A couple of manufacturers demonstrated large sets that were OLED and 4K, which were absolutely spectacular but clearly prototypes. Smart TVs & Voice Command This year, TVs got so smart, they can practically read minds. Okay, we’re exaggerating, but some TVs featured the ability to suggest...