[Ask ASyk] Redefining TV @ CES 2014
* The following is an individual opinion of editor ASyk and does not represent the official views of the company.
Part 1: [Ask ASyk] Wearables @ CES 2014
At the CES 2014, among many products that are being displayed at the Samsung booth, there is one product that stands out in terms of size and its visual, the World’s First, Largest and Most Curved 105” Curved UHD TV. As the description suggest, no one has really seen anything like it before, which is also why it is catching a lot of attention. The strange thing is, as I am staring at people gazing at the Curved 105” Curved UHD TV, I cannot help to get these lyrics by LL Cool J out of my mind.
“Don’t call it a comeback,I’ve been here for years…”
In my personal opinion, TVs are interesting product; not because they are cool looking, but in terms of their role in our lives. In terms of content viewing, due to the rapid advancement in mobile technology, services of mobile products and TVs have overlapped to some extent. Considering the trend of individualization of product usage, this could seem like a matter of survival for a TV. However, the Samsung TV products at CES2014 seem to suggest that the TV will not only survive, but also will redefine itself as a major gadget of our lives.
One obvious way that TVs are redefining themselves is the size of their display. At this point, people are probably wondering, “How big are TVs going to get?”That we just don’t know. However, what we know is that we are OK with TVs getting bigger because TVs, especially with resolutions becoming increasingly better, can pull it off! TVs are probably one of the only products where it makes sense to have an ultra-big display.
There are a few reasons for this “bigger is better” phenomenon. First up, a television is a stationary product for group of people to watch and share an experience. Think of family movie night, or watching a New Years Day TV marathon with friends. This group viewing makes the large size better, which is different than mobile phones or tablets.
However, most importantly, TVs can pull their large size because they have the technology to support the display size. For example, Samsung at CES 2014 unveiled the World’s First, Largest and Most Curved 105” Curved UHD TV and the World’s Biggest 110-inch UHD TV. Yes, they are both the world’s largest, but the fact is that they are both UHD TVs. The 105” Curved UHD TV has 11 million pixels (5120X2160) screen resolution and the 110-inch UHD TV has 800-megapixel display. This means that it will be extremely challenging for human eyes to detect the individual pixels on TVs, even though they have 105”& 110” screens.
For the people who are worried about the lack of UHD content available, here is another thing these TVs can both offer, Quadmatic Picture Engine. Quadmatic Picture Engine upgrades HD contents to UHD contents via ‘upscaling’ in 4 steps. First, it analyzes the original image’s data. Then it detects and deletes the “noise” from the original image. Then it upscales the image and reconfigures the detail.
This means that not only do Samsung TVs have the ability to display UHD contents, but they also have the technology to convert non-UHD content to near-UHD content. If you have watched TV on a big screen before, you know that there wouldn’t be that many people who would refuse a greater resolution on a bigger screen.
The Humanized TV
TVs have been able to evolve and differentiate themselves by being able to recognize human behavior better than ever. TVs can do things many other tech gadgets can’t do or at least not on the same level yet.
The Smart TVs at the CES 2014 have many cool features and functions, but one of the coolest functions is the ‘voice search feature’ and the ‘finger gesture’ functions. With the voice search feature, you can literally just say the number of the channel you want to watch and the TV will recognize your voice and obey your command; not to mention that you can also execute a website or app.
Another really cool feature is the ‘finger gesture’ function. Previously Samsung Smart TVs already had featured motion control using gestures, however, introduction of ‘finger gesture’ brought the motion controlling to a whole different level. You can change the TV channel, adjust the volume, find and select what you want to watch just by using your finger movements. You can also go back to the previous screen and stop the video by motioning their finger counter clockwise.
Alright, so let’s recap on what the TV can do now. We already know that there is a built in Camera which can project the ‘user’ through the TV screen of the users or different user in real time and recognize motions. So the built in camera works like human eyes. Voice Recognition works as human ears. TVs can already speak through speakers, so that can be compared to human mouth. Therefore, TVs have eyes, ears, and mouth; only thing that is missing from human facial feature is the nose.
The fact that TVs have become humanized means one thing; that humans can interact with TVs. This is a significant difference to the conventional way of using of TVs; where people used to solely consume information from TV. The technology to recognize human behavior has vastly improved the relationship between humans and TV.
Let’s talk about the TVs at the Samsung booth at CES 2014. Talking about the quality of display and viewing experience might be needless, because it is pretty self-explanatory. I think there is something else apart from conventional TVs, the interactivity.
Here is a hypothetical situation for Curved OLED TV user.
It’s the last NBA game for your fantasy league. You couldn’t make it to the finale party, so you have to watch it at home alone. This game will decide if you win the league or not, so you must keep an eye on the stats at all time, but you also don’t want to miss out on any plays. So you open up a Stat Tracker app from Samsung Hub on your Curved OLED TV and watch the game simultaneously with the Multi View feature. It comes down to the last seconds, but once you know that you have just won the league, you must brag. You take a picture of yourself fully absorbing the victory and share it with your friend’s TV and live stream yourself doing your victory dance, like you are right next to him. Then your friend will get upset and watch something else on his Smart TV that is recommended adequately according to his mood by S Recommendation, or maybe he’ll just transmit a movie from his PC to the Curved OLED TV using ConnectShare.
Remember, this is all done by sitting down in front of a TV. The only time you have to move is to show off your victory dance to your friend who is ‘physically’ in a different place. The emphasis on the ‘physically’ is significant. Users are able to compensate for the ‘physical’ gap with the ability to ‘connect’ through the built-in WiFi& Bluetooth, which opened up a whole new world of possibilities for TVs.
TV used to be a very indirect mean of communication; all viewers could do was consume information. However, now we are able to communicate with TVs like they are humans. For example, they not only recognize our voice, but they also recognize our body language.
For instance, with the new Curved OLED TV, people can ask TV to search for information such as weather, stocks and sports while watching TV, then a pop-up window appears on the bottom of the page with search results. This is called the Voice Interaction service, which Samsung expanded to 23 countries.
Moreover, it can recognize our gestures. For example, with the 2014 Smart TV models, users can adjust the volume, find and select what they want to watch just by using their fingers. They can also go back to the previous screen and stop the video by motioning their finger counter clockwise. This is called, the ‘finger gesture’, which is a significant enhancement of the ‘gesture recognition.’
Here are two things we should think about when we look to the future of technology. First, how quickly TV has redefined itself and evolved within the category of the Smart TV. Second, how much more it can improve. For the first part, we can think about how TV became to have some similar functions as humans, such as vision (camera & gesture recognition), voice (voice recognition) and sound. For the second part, one thing we know that is coming soon is the availability of third party apps. At the CES 2014, Smart TV SDK 5.0 became available, which allows third party developers to develop apps specifically for Smart TV much easily. This would open up a whole new world for TV users, just like it did for mobile users.
No one can really predict the future, but one perk is for sure with the ever evolving Samsung Smart TVs. There will be much fewer awkward moments at the holiday family reunion, because TV will be entertaining everyone in the family.
Products > TVs & Displays