Although CES 2018 is over for another year, this show sure did leave everyone inside and outside of the AV industry with a lot to talk about. The Las Vegas event weathered storms, power outages, and more to bring technicians and consumers bleeding-edge tech products that changed perspectives on audio, visual, and integrative technologies.
The number of new products (over 4,000 brands represented!) being demoed at such an important annual event can be staggering. Yet, as always, the best of these products consistently rose to the top of almost every news outlet’s list. We’ve done our own roundup of CES 2018’s top AV-related tech products for you to survey. Check out our top five picks below.
1. 4K OLED Rollable TVs
High-powered TVs and displays generated a lot of buzz at CES 2018. Among the most talked about were LG’s 65-inch, 4K OLED TV and Samsung’s stunning 146-inch “The Wall” 4K MicroLED TV. We list these two as one point because, despite the size difference, they both forecasted a future trend in top-notch displays and signage (and no, we’re not just talking about LEDs).
Both 4K TVs, in addition to offering gorgeous resolutions with bezel-less displays, were rollable, which means that they had the ability to be easily and stored away in a box around the same dimensions as a soundbar. As CNET put it, “the TVs of tomorrow will turn invisible,” maximizing space and making them more portable as well when needed.
Both of these products won’t be on the market this year but are predicted to come out in 2019 or 2020.
2. Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar
Sennheiser came out with its first soundbar prototype at CES 2018, and it was a showstopper on the audio side of the brand spectrum. With 13 speakers—which consist of six 4-inch woofers, five tweeters, and two top-firing speakers, the soundbar has the capability to blast 360-degree 5.1.4 sound.
While 360-degree sound in itself isn’t necessarily new, having a soundbar that can effectively produce high-quality 360-degree sound definitely is. Sennheiser’s innovation is set to launch by the end of this year. If it can reproduce the promising specs it did as a prototype in a specialized CES showroom in home and office rooms, you can bet that it will become a highly requested component of AV systems designed for home theatre and presentation rooms.
Another soundbar of note was Sony’s HT-Z9F, which combines 4K HDR compatibility with 3.1 channel system for surround sound experienced through Dolby Atmos or DTS:X.
3. Vivo’s Synaptics In-Display Fingerprint Sensor
While this technology is technically invisible to the smartphone user, this under-the-screen fingerprint sensor is a revolutionary concept for integrated technology and displays. Outside of what this fingerprint sensor means for smartphones, which are quickly moving towards edge-to-edge screens, it shows how AV tech still favours a human touch despite the popularity of voice recognition.
4. Lenovo Smart Display
Speaking of voice recognition, there was a lot of competition between Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant this year (with Apple’s Siri being all but completely overshadowed). Among the many smart products on offer (mirrors, Bluetooth speakers, even toilets...) one of the strongest was the Lenovo Smart Display.
The Smart Display’s computer is voice-activated like Amazon’s touchscreen-enabled Echo Show, but unlike the Echo, the Smart Display can play YouTube videos and has a larger screen. Smart devices like these are becoming more popular in smart home AV design, where users want to improve their daily lives through interconnected technology and software.
Last but not least is Sonarworks’ equalization software, which has been made accessible for consumers. This powerful software has already been used in thousands of professional studios, and now it can be used by anyone who wants to boost the quality of their regular headphones.
All these top five products are trendsetters in AV. Make sure you can find and hire freelancers who can specialize in the tech underpinning these products because they’re bound to be popular components of AV design.