Significant Advancements in Entertainment at CES 2020

A vertical TV, an AI-powered movie executive and more surrounding the annual tech conference

Consider how far we’ve come since the days of VHS and CRT TVs. In 2007, when LED TVs took over, few could conceivably imagine where we’d end up. Now, there are dozens of streaming services that offer access to nearly every movie or show made, devices meant to make capturing and uploading content as easy as tapping two buttons, and headsets and controllers designed to immerse us in other worlds entirely. Many of these innovations made appearances at CES 2020, an annual tech event showcasing everything from health and wellness gadgets to future-forward mobility solutions. Perhaps most noticeable, though, was the abundance of entertainment-centric products. From the transportive and turnable to the portable and playful, here are a few that stood out.

Sony Playstation 5

Though details surrounding the physical console remain sparse, Sony unveiled a logo, a rough release date, and a handful of software specs for the fifth generation of their popular Playstation at CES. Mild variations in the typeface triggered unfounded rumors, and Sony purposefully chose not to stoke them. Arriving for the holidays this year, the Playstation 5 will feature “3D audio sound, haptic/adaptive triggers, an ultra-high speed SSD, hardware-based RCD tracing, and ultra HD blu-ray,” according to the formal announcement. It seems likely that Sony won’t wait too much longer to unveil photos or unload a few more features.

Samsung Sero TV

A clear attempt to cater to a new generation of content creators and consumers, Samsung’s Sero TV can rotate between portrait and landscape positioning. Whether it be for YouTube videos, TikTok clips, Instagram stories, or to merely mirror your smartphone’s screen, it makes sense (despite initial skepticism) to accommodate the ever-growing field of vertical videos. If nothing else, the Sero takes up less space when vertical, thus rendering it more like a free-standing art object than a dormant, space-demanding TV. (Plus, it’s pretty fun to make it go back and forth.)

Razer Kishi

While the Nintendo Switch is accompanied by its own detachable middle screen, the Razer Kishi concept—which is set to debut and ship later in 2020—uses your current phone to fill out its frame. Two traditional layout controller halves (with d-pad, toggles, and buttons) sit on each side, and the phone docks in the middle, courtesy of an expandable docking system. The controller can connect via Lightning or USB-C, depending on whether the user purchases the iOS or Android version. Plus, it’s able to control any game available on cloud-based gaming services like Google’s Stadia or Microsoft’s xCloud without latency.

Panasonic’s VR Glasses

While merely a reference product, Panasonic’s stylish VR glasses caught the attention of many. The steampunk style proves far less cumbersome than traditional headsets like Oculus or HTC Vive, but match (if not surpass) them in audio and video quality. The arms of the frames carry earbuds that can easily pop in and out, and the goggle-like effect on the face feels immersive and not annoying. Whether they will actually be released remains to be seen, but if Panasonic has paid attention to the hype they’ve garnered they should be available soon.

Warner Bros AI Contract

Though not technically an official announcement made at CES, the timing feels intentional: Warner Bros announced a partnership with Cinelytic to employ AI to make data-driven decisions about which movies get green-lit and which stars will assume the roles. Though the production company insists creative decisions will be left up to the human brain, there’s something ominous about knowing that the movies we’ll see hit theaters are there because AI assumed we’d like them. Initially, though, the AI’s role will be minimal and limited to analyzing data and revealing patterns within said data.

Images courtesy of respective venues, hero image courtesy of Samsung