At the biggest trade show in the Americas, which opens Tuesday in Las Vegas, TV makers will be doing their best to convince you that HDTVs are old hat and you should make room for “Ultra HDTV.”
It's the latest gambit from an industry struggling with a shift in consumer spending from TVs, PCs and single-purpose devices such as camcorders to small, portable do-it-all gadgets: smartphones and tablets.
The trends suggest that the International CES (formerly the Consumer Electronics Show) is losing its stature as a start-of-the-year showcase for the gadgets that consumers will buy over the next 12 months.
These are some of the themes that will be in evidence:
Ultra HDTVs have four times the resolution of HDTVs. Sony, LG, Westinghouse and others will be at the show with huge flat-panel TVs that bring that experience home, if you have a spare $20,000 or so.
Reports point to several super-sized smartphones, with screens bigger than 5 inches diagonally, making their debut. These phones are so big that wags call them “phablets” because they're almost tablet-sized.
PC makers will offer a slew of machines that blend the boundaries between PC and tablet. They have touch screens that twist, fold back or detach from the keyboard. None of these seems to be a standout hit so far.