NEW YORK —
What will it be like to watch TV in the 2020s? The CES gadget fair will offer some glimpses as companies showcase celebrities like Mandy Moore and showcase shorter viewing experiences for the mobile age.
The annual technology program is typically a hub for the latest television sets, robots and exercise equipment, but new technology-powered entertainment options are joining the mix. TV forts like NBC and CBS will join newcomers like mobile-focused Quibi and the free Tubi service to discuss what the next generation of TV will look like.
The CES, formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show, starts Sunday in Las Vegas with two days of media previews. The show hall opens from Tuesday to Friday. More than 170,000 people are expected, with 4,500 companies on display, according to their organizers. The show takes place in a wide range of hotels and convention centers equivalent to more than 50 football fields.
In addition to streaming, expect to see artificially-infused appliances, security cameras and cars, new gadgets that showcase what the fastest 5G cellular service can offer and, as always, the newest in built-in robots and TVs. Speakers this week include Ivanka Trump, daughter of the president and senior consultant, and Hyunsuk Kim, Samsung's head of consumer electronics.
As technology increasingly infuses our lives, more traditional companies are appearing for the Las Vegas event. There is a new travel section, for example, with Delta Air Lines its largest exhibitor.
This is not the first time television and entertainment companies have used CES to set a road map for TV. During the 2015 program, Satellite TV Company Dish announced a cheaper, cable-like TV channel package provided over the Internet as fewer people, especially younger ones, subscribe to cable subscriptions. satellite. Offerings from Sony, DirecTV, Google, Hulu, and others soon joined Dish's Sling TV.
But five years later, instead of saving the television industry from "cutting the cables," these online alternatives have struggled, pushing up prices and, in the case of Sony's PlayStation Vue, closing completely.
So let's go to Plan B: TV channel owners and producers of their shows are selling Netflix-like subscription services directly to consumers. Disney Plus was launched in November, while WarnerMedia's HBO Max and NBCUniversal's Peacock are coming in a few months. If people prefer to pay for subscriptions like Netflix over traditional cable television channels, Disney and other media companies think they can try to get some of that money directly.
But they face competition from technology companies that also seek to replicate and invade Netflix's successes. Apple launched its own streaming service in November, while Quibi promises to watch over the phone, with former Disney studio chief Jeffrey Katzenberg behind the effort.
"Bets were placed and billions of dollars were spent on content," said Peter Csathy, founder and president of digital media consulting firm CreaTV Media. "These numbers only increase as all these Goliaths and then the new guys coming on board are looking for ways out."
Katzenberg and Quibi CEO Meg Whitman, former CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, will use a lecture on Wednesday to provide details about Quibi, which is investing $ 1 billion in new programs, with the support of all major studios. Movie
Abbreviation for "quick snacks", the first mobile service was designed to be watched for just a few minutes at a time. Video shows are divided into 10-minute "chapters" – ideal for moving viewers with limited attention.
Innovations to be shown at CES include allowing full screen viewing, regardless of how the phone is maintained. There is usually wasted space when the phone is held vertically because the video is usually horizontal. Kibi says viewers will be able to switch seamlessly, even in the middle of the show. Kibi also plans to automatically adjust the lighting of a video and display subtitles with a quick tap.
"We want to take a phone, a device that is not really designed to watch videos, and turn it into a great viewing device," Whitman said in an interview. "At CES, there's a long history of technology that enables new ways of telling stories."
Kibi will also preview some of his 20 new shows, including "Chrissy & # 39; s Court", a Judge Judy-style show by Chrissy Teigen. It is also debuting with movies and other content such as news and weather. Kibi launches April 6 for $ 5 a month with ads and $ 8 without.
NBC executives will not offer further details about their upcoming Peacock service until January 16. Instead, they will screen Terry Crews, host of "America's Got Talent", "This is Us" star Mandy Moore, and other NBC stars at CES to talk more. generally about the future of TV and entertainment.
"The audience is no different from the screen anymore," said Linda Yaccarino, president of advertising and partnership at NBCUniversal. "They want and expect a world always in demand."
Marc DeBevoise, digital director of the newly incorporated ViacomCBS, will discuss the growth of CBS and Viacom digital properties, while WarnerMedia executives will talk about their experience building HBO Max, which is due to debut in May. And Tubi CEO Farhad Massoudi will discuss how free, ad-supported services like his can survive the streaming war.
As television companies try to make more shows available in a variety of ways, they also accumulate data on viewing habits far beyond what they've got with cable and air channels. This will help them target advertising to viewers' interests and make recommendations for other shows to keep viewers glued together.
Companies will also test different pricing models by 2020 as they try to figure out how and how much consumers will be willing to pay. Is there a limit to how many services consumers will pay? Will they adapt to separate prices with and without ads? Or will they look for free services like Tubi even if they don't have original movies and TV shows?
Kevin Westcott, who runs Deloitte's telecommunications, media and entertainment consulting business in the US, said consumers are getting more options and programs than ever, as well as new technologies like high-quality TV screens and 5G cellular networks. faster.
The disadvantage? "Too much choice and too much technological change can slow people down so that they can continue with what they have," he said.