CES 23 > Review of CES 2023, Las Vegas Paradox

CES Las Vegas 2023 is over. After two years of absence or limited edition due to the health crisis, the consumer electronics market and more specifically the audio-video market was impatiently awaiting its return. Alas, three times unfortunately, like the IFA Berlin 2022 show, CES 2023 has lost its luster, even if this time most of the brands had moved to the capital of casinos. On the other hand, at the level of product announcements, the abundance of novelties has given way to often anemic news.

The January meeting was once unmissable, the opportunity for all players in the EGP (Consumer Electronics), media and resellers/distributors to share life and passion over four days in Las Vegas , the city that never sleeps.

International fairs, more and more dispensable…

After just over 50 years of existence (the first edition of the Consumer Electronics Show was held in 1967 in New York), the CES has established itself as an institution in the electronics and technology market, the future trends of our life. For five decades, almost all of the greatest inventions and technological revolutions have been unveiled at CES. And then the health crisis came in 2020, and everything changed. The techno planet has lived two years without real international exhibitions, without the interest of consumers or the turnover and profitability of its players suffering from it, quite the contrary. The demonstration of their dispensability.

CES in Las Vegas, real attention but now measured

From now on, brands are approaching these major events differently. Some are downright deadlocked and deserted the premises (Philips and Sony at the IFA in Berlin 2022 for example), others are reducing the wing both in terms of square meters occupied with reduced stands, and new products on display. Still others localize the products of their presentation, emptying the latter of its substance for foreign visitors.

While the tour of the aisles of the CES, a few years ago, was the opportunity to discover all the brand new products for the coming year, today, it is not uncommon to see a single model from a complete range, for fear of industrial espionage, for the desire to create the event later, for the wish to "leaf through" its communication... As a result of the races, the media are less present, ditto for resellers/distributors.

In the end, if the world's largest trade fairs still see a few previews being rolled out within them, market expectations are significantly lower. The overwhelming impatience and effervescence aroused by the CES have given way to attention, real of course, but measured.

Samsung, LG and Hisense stand out

In this, the edition of the CES in Las Vegas 2023 is patent proof. If Samsung has assumed its role as leader of the EGP with a stand always rich in new audio-video references, TCL has mainly focused its announcements on the North American market, LG has focused its news on its Oled TV range (very exciting, admittedly) and its 2023 soundbars, but has pretty much glossed over its LCD TV lineup. Panasonic once again contented itself with the bare minimum with a conference dedicated to a single TV series (which fortunately promises to be very attractive) and Sony was conspicuous by its absence in the field.

In the end, Samsung and LG, joined by Hisense, who take advantage of a windfall effect to emerge more than usual again with a solid press conference and stand in terms of products (not only conceptual) , are the three consumer electronics brands that stand out this year. And not just for their screens and audio products, but also for their vision of the smart home (Smart Home, see below).

CES in Las Vegas, TV trends 2023

In terms of trends for this CES 2023, we note a shallot race linked to the brightness of televisions. Mini LED, White Oled or QD Oled TVs, and even video projectors, everyone has their very strong light peak compared to that displayed in previous years.

Similarly, visible everywhere in previous years, 8K technology was more discreet than usual for some, even on hiatus, in 2023. It remains predominant at Samsung of course, and at LG but mainly on its Oled TV (the LG Z3 promise to be exceptional, by the way). While waiting to know the intentions of Sony and Philips in the matter, TCL has declared that it does not have a new Ultra HD 8K model in its catalog in 2023 and LG reserves its UHD 8K LCD specimens for certain countries only. The brands explain that the average size of screens present in homes is not yet large enough to promote sales of 8K TVs. A question of time therefore, given the regular increase in the diagonals of television sets.

CES in Las Vegas, Smart Home 2023 trends

Another significant topic at CES, the new Matter home automation standard supported by the biggest players in the EGP. The word is on the lips of all the speakers and all the managers met on the stands. The Matter standard therefore asserts itself as the first truly universal for the Smart Home market. Good news for the interoperability of equipment of all brands and the development of cross-functional applications. Many advances in the connected home sector should see the light of day quickly, in 2023 or 2024.

CES in Las Vegas, audio and mobility trends for 2023

Finally, as for ages, the audio sector remains the poor relation of the CES show. Except for soundbars and headphones (JBL made the news), there is little new sound to get your teeth into. We salute the French loudspeaker manufacturer Focal who this year presented a new series of loudspeakers, the Vestia. But this is an exception…

The situation is the same for the mobile market. Several announcements of new smartphones took place a few weeks before CES (Oppo, Lenovo), a few also during the show, but nothing to do with certain previous editions which experienced great news in the field.

See you in 2024?

Much more interesting than the 2022 edition which turned out to be a complete failure, the CES show in Las Vegas 2023 remains however well below the vintages before Covid-19. It is indeed difficult for many observers and media in the audio-video sector to hide their disappointment with the 2023 vintage, so lacking were the real technological innovations (the principle of LG Oled TVs with multimedia box and remote wireless electronics was for example, already in use in 2009 with the Panasonic Z1 plasma television, which was finally banned from sale because of the transmission frequency, which was too close to those used by the military in certain countries).