- The IABM’s report on CES 2023 is summarized with key findings. For Media & Entertainment the most notable developments were in the Smart TV space.
- This was a year of iteration, not grand innovation, reflecting a more conservative global industry outlook.
- A change in exhibition strategy, also seen at IBC 2022, was evident — there was overall less product on show with more emphasis on face-to-face interactions.
The intensification of the Smart TV platform race was perhaps the most significant story of CES relevant to the Media & Entertainment technology audience, according to a report on the show from broadcast hardware manufacturers association IABM.
The body noted that the majority of advancements across the board and not just in the TV category were incremental improvements as the consumer electronics industry looks to a potentially lean near-future.
The Smart TV platform race is accelerating and advertisers, data users and Smart TV app developers will need to engage with a wider range of Smart TV platforms. Smart TV platform owners possess “ultimate control of the point of entertainment aggregation” the IABM found — as well as the related monetization. Moves by independent Smart TV platform players, both old and new, at CES, reaffirmed this importance.
Related announcements include Roku’s move to make its own branded TVs, “balancing potential alienation of existing brand partners against increased control of both the total Roku TV experience in its sets and the related revenue streams.” Hisense’s own smart TV platform spinoff — VIDAA OS — finally made its official high-profile CES entrance to the US market. Skyworth demonstrated its in-house Coolita OS Smart TV platform that is used on select TVs outside the US market. Germany’s Foxxum was also present at CES, and Comcast and Charter announced a new partner for their Xumo Smart TV.
When it comes to the functionality of the screens themselves, IABM observed that brands are increasingly differentiating from competitors by using AI to automatically adjust picture quality and modes on the fly based on content type and room lighting.
8K resolution remained a niche capability this year, with only Samsung truly promoting TVs and projectors utilizing 8K. The IABM’s take: “The substantive lack of 8K content at this time, and high streaming bandwidth requirement, continue to relegate the resolution to novelty status for the time being. TV makers are instead focused on maximizing today’s 4K experience for consumers.”
TV brands are doubling down on soundbars, with every top TV brand showing same-branded versions at CES. Per IABM, TV makers have realized that audio is a significant factor in overall consumer satisfaction when it comes to entertainment experiences.
“Content creators and services best able to leverage these increasing audio capabilities (such as taking advantage of a greater number of discrete or virtualized audio channels and greater likelihood of positional audio capabilities from Dolby and DTS), can potentially drive more sustained levels of higher viewer engagement.”
There was little to shout about in terms of immersive experiences. Neither VR nor AR shows signs of long promised mass adoption in 2023. “Lean economic times ahead are expected to temper consumer demand for high-priced peripherals,” is the IABM’s prognosis. By contrast, “non-gaming applications exploiting immersive technologies and the metaverse for retail, education, and the enterprise are continuing to grow,” it finds.
The report also highlighted in-car infotainment arena as “the next battleground” for competing connected consumer platforms and “related control of the point of entertainment consumption.”
Google, Apple and Amazon are each working to have automakers integrate their infotainment experiences more deeply into the car at the OS or application layer levels.
In conclusion: “It is clear that evolutionary changes and refinement were largely the themes at CES 2023 for the devices most relevant to the consumption of media and entertainment. Companies are more conservative and iterative this year, reflecting an overall industry outlook of having to adjust strategy sails to weather a potentially difficult 1–2-year period of weaker consumer spending ahead.”