CES 2023 highlights: The good, the bad and the ugly

CES 2023 highlights LG transparent OLED TV

The annual tech event, CES, has wrapped up. With over 67,000 steps during the long few days, we were witness to some exciting tech innovations and some which should have been stopped at the prototype stage. As we prepared to depart for the trip home, here are some of the CES 2023 highlights: the products we’ll remember, and those we’ll forget.

CES 2023 highlights: The Good

LG OLED T

CES 2023 highlights: LG OLED T transparent TV
LG OLED T, a concept transparent TV

It’s very rare to be stopped in your tracks by a 55-inch television these days. But at the LG stand, we saw a production model of a transparent OLED television. This television looks like a window frame placed on a timber stand allowing you to enjoy looking at whatever is behind it.

If your TV was positioned in front of an ocean view, the benefit is obvious. You can choose to leave the TV in transparent mode and add content that leverages the see-through properties, like a landscape of trees with a transparent background. And when you wish to turn the TV on to view ordinary content, it blacks out the background and becomes a normal viewing experience.

The other catch to the smaller size is that this OLED will be Full High-Definition only at launch, which at 55 inches may not be as noticeable. 

8K short throw projectors

For those who want the biggest TV in the street and the detail to match, 8K is now coming for your home theatre. Samsung will be bringing an 8K Premiere laser projector to Australia in 2023 providing a 150-inch image that will take your breath away.

Samsung 8K short throw projector
Samsung’s 8K short throw projector

Hisense will continue its strong range of 4K laser projectors in 2023 also. However, its 8K model is yet to be confirmed for Australia at this time. The good news however is that there are now two strong brands in Australia offering this kind of option for your next home theatre and that will drive competition on price and capabilities. It’s certainly exciting news and easily one of our CES 2023 highlights.

Smart homes speaking the same language

As the agreements around Matter and Thread were all signed and done, it was time to see how brands were executing on their commitment. A smart home should be brand agnostic and should not have silos of limitations. Samsung demonstrated the integration of a smart home ecosystem with SmartThings, showing automations that execute actions on multiple branded smart home products. It creates a cohesive and simpler experience making it easier for anyone to have.

Samsung SmartThings ecosystem
Samsung wants to be a go-to destination for all things smart home devices

Hisense wasn’t making Matter-specific announcements but highlighted their intentions and demonstrated how their home integrations through ConnectLife would work. Their demonstration included transferring a recipe from a video on the TV, to the smart fridge, instantly preheating the oven and highlighting a specific wine in the rack that would go perfectly with the meal and more. We expect more of this smart home integration to continue in 2023.

Sustainability without sacrifice

One of the challenges around sustainability is when a change adds inconvenience or obstacles. From a tech perspective, all brands had a message around sustainability and many of the changes come as a benefit more than a sacrifice. While all major manufacturers look to be carbon neutral by a certain time, the impact for consumers is felt in the home. One reason many will replace an appliance is because it is out of date or it lacks a new feature. Ultimately, this leads to working appliances sitting in landfill.

LG has added ThinQ UP which is a method for appliances to receive updates and upgrades. A new, more efficient or better-performing wash cycle might become available for your washer, new controls and management of your fridge or new wash modes for your dishwasher. With ThinQ UP, the idea will be to extend the life of your appliance and keep it feeling new for longer.

Samsung and Hisense both discussed how AI will play a role in energy management, particularly when devices are not in use. Learning your living habits, devices can reduce power further in standby or even be placed in different modes while you’re on holiday. All of these changes will save consumers money and also help the environment, which is why it’s another one of our CES 2023 highlights.

CES 2023 highlights: The bad and the ugly

Withings U-Scan

I absolutely love tracking health metrics, and I largely do it through a Withings smartwatch and scale. What concerns me here is that we have a gadget which is meant to live where nothing should. The U-Scan is a small urine testing lab that hangs onto your toilet like a Duck cleaning disc. You pee on the gadget and it feeds back data about hydration, protein levels and even cycle tracking for females. After three months it needs to be recharged and this is where I pull the ejector chord. Removing a gadget from the toilet that has lived three months inside the bowl is not something I’m keen to touch, clean and recharge. It might be easier to simply look at the colour of your wee to assess your hydration levels. 

BirdBuddy 

This smart bird feeder has the potential to appeal to someone but it certainly lacks in the “smart” department. The plastic house has a location to put your bird seed and has a camera built-in. The feed isn’t automated or operated when a bird approaches but is just a dish for seed. The camera operates just like a smart doorbell or security camera but can apparently detect bird types. While the world has 10,000 bird species, BirdBuddy says only 1,000 are supported at this stage.

Bugali

Bugali reading device
An expensive alternative to reading to your kids

This French company is named after a sub-Suharan paste made from maize and water. We say that because it’s the only meaning or translation we could find. Anyway, their product is a stable table with built-in speakers and a reading base. A child is then able to place a Bugali-made book onto the table and each page is then read out loud. While this is convenient if mum and dad can’t be bothered reading to their kids, the tray will cost $464 AUD and each book is $60 each. Keen to read to your kids now?

AromaPlayer

Here is the introduction of smell-o-vision if you really wanted it. This small neck brace has little canons ready to shoot scents into your nostrils in sync with what you are watching on the screen. The player works with specifically curated content and enables up to 100 scents like coffee, orange and shampoo. If you fast forward through the ads on television you’ll receive a smothering of scents in succession but did genuinely raise the question of whether we really want to smell the content we are watching?

Aroma Shooter Wearable
Smell-O-Vision, anyone?

ViraWarn

If you don’t like waiting 15 minutes to view your RAT results, ViraWarn was on display as a small gadget you could blow into, like a breathalyser, to know if you have COVID. The company has not received FDA or any form of medical approval, nor did they have any working models on display or for people to test. The plastic matchbox and straw were seemingly enough to convince many media to believe the hype though.

CES Wall of Flops

The show that collects exhibitor fees from startups and major corporations to appear at the annual event put together a display area of products that launched and failed. Nothing from this year was immediately moved to this section but products like the Microsoft Zune, the Apple Pippin gaming machine, Nintendo Virtual Boy and Amazon FirePhone. The exhibit highlighted that 80% of tech products fail in their first year. This is something major brands can stomach but for many of the startups in the halls at CES, it spells disaster. We’ll wait for next year to see what new additions make the list.

Visit our event hub page for the full rundown of everything CES 2023.

Geoff Quattromani is the host of the Technology Uncorked podcast. Continue the conversation with Geoff on Twitter at @GQuattromani. Geoff travelled to CES in Las Vegas with support from Samsung, LG, Hisense and HERE Technologies