CES 2013

4K, Second Screens Center Stage At CES

As the annual Consumer Electronics Show gets underway in Las Vegas, the focus is on big screens with ultra-high resolution as well as the growing adoption of tablets as viewing options.

Big, bright and plenty of pixels. That’s the theme for TV at the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show.

More than 10 companies will show off 50 different models of ultra-HD television sets this week at the annual show, ranging from 55 inches to nearly 100 inches in size.

“When it comes to TV, the focus is on big screens with ultra-high resolution,” Shawn Dubravac, chief economist and director of research for the Consumer Electronics Association, said to hundreds of press members at the Las Vegas trade show Sunday.

Ultra-HD, or 4K TV, which has four times the resolution of conventional 1080p high-definition televisions, is the direction that companies like LG and Sony are heading, but it will take some time before the format is widely accepted.

By 2016, only 5% of the market is expected to own an ultra-HD TV, according to CEA. Being that most 4K TVs are at least 84 inches and come with a price tag between $20,000 and $25,000, they aren’t exactly ready for mass-market consumption.

And while some broadcasters, including NBC and CBS, are shooting new sitcoms in 4K to have a master in their archives, it could take nearly a decade before it’s as prominent as conventional HD.


LG showed off its new 84-inch Ultra HD 3D TV Sunday. The display boasts a resolution of 3840 x 2160p — four times higher than full HD — with vibrant, eye-popping colors. “Using our proprietary technology, we strive to offer incredible picture quality on an enormous scale,” Havis Kwon, LG president-CEO, said in a statement.

As more consumers buy larger TVs, smaller sets are expected to decline. Fewer people are replacing old TVs in the bedroom and preferring to use a tablet to watch in bed.

“While TV has been the face of education and entertainment, a lot of that is moving to tablets,” Dubravac said.

Tablet ownership drastically rising

Tablet ownership is up as more businesses use the touchscreen devices as a hub for their products or services.

“The common theme is unintended consequences of using smartphones and tablets as the hub for other devices,” according to Dubravac. “Smartphones and tablets have become the viewfinder of your digital life.”

Spurred by smaller sizes with cheaper price tags, tablet ownership started 2012 at 20%, and finished the year at 40%. Ownership per household increased from 1.2 to 1.4.

Tablets were also the most heavily influenced products this past holiday season, making up nearly 30% of all tech purchases. And while media consumption, social networking and basic Web surfing and email are all reasons to buy a tablet, the NO. 1 reason was for gaming, which makes up the top category in the app ecosystem.

When it comes to media consumption, tablets have recently been called the “second screen” in the household, behind a television set. Major TV networks  have dedicated second-screen apps to drive social media engagement while watching shows like CBS’s NCIS: Los Angeles and Hawaii Five-O.

But according to the CEA, new trends could push the tablet ahead of TV. Dubravac said the average individual spends about 170 minutes per day watching TV and 130 minutes per day on a tablet.

“While we’re still spending more time on TVs, that gap is closing,” he added, saying that engagement on a tablet could become the catalyst to watch TV.

Another major trend with tablets and smartphones is higher resolution, which could force a variety of Web services, including media organizations, to publish more high-resolution images.

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Tony Alexander says:

January 7, 2013 at 9:09 am

There is a 4k LG on the market for $17,000 that is 84 inches. The price will drop faster than this author states.