What can we expect from CES 2016?

Virtual reality gaming, robot vacuums and TVs with crazy-sharp contrast are among the things we’re expecting from the Vegas tech show…

30 Dec 2015


Every year the world’s biggest (and smallest) tech companies gather in Las Vegas to show off the products they’re hoping will blow your socks off in the coming year.

The CES (Consumer Electronics Show) gets under way on January 6 – but what could be unveiled?

TechTalk will be on the show floor in Vegas to report on all the coolest gadgets. But until then… here are a few things likely to make an appearance… and some we’re already sure will.

Lots of virtual reality headsets

Virtual reality has been around as a cutting-edge tech for the past couple of years. But 2016 is touted as the year it goes from techy prototype to something people actually purchase.

(image source: The Verge)

Our computing buyers expect virtual reality to be the biggest story at CES 2016.  Likewise, the area of the show floor dedicated to VR will be 77% bigger than it was in 2015.

So what can we expect? The big story will be gaming headsets that hook up to PCs (with powerful processors and graphics cards) to immerse you in a virtual world. We can’t wait to see:

  • HTC Vive: This headset won the best in show award for wearables at Mobile World Congress 2015 and is down to launch in April – surely we’ll see it in Vegas?
  • Oculus Rift: We first saw a prototype of the Oculus Rift at CES 2013, but now a final version is to launch early in 2016. And we’re hoping to get a glimpse at CES.

What about console gamers? Console gamers aren’t left out either – Sony will be launching its PlayStation VR headset early in 2016 (you need a PS4 to run it though).

‘CES is going to have a couple of big headline trends this year, and one of those without doubt will be virtual reality,’ says Press Association tech reporter Martyn Landi.

‘Since last year's show HTC has introduced one of the best devices we've seen so far in the Vive, Oculus has confirmed the Rift is launching in 2016, and Sony has re-branded Morpheus as PlayStation VR.’

TVs get sharper with HDR tech

How can you make a 4K UHD TV even sharper? By introducing HDR-capable tech.

HDR stands for high dynamic range. It makes a TV’s picture better, not by adding more pixels (like 4K) but by improving the quality of the pixels that are already there. Blacks get darker and whites brighter – the colour range is expanded too.

Some 2015 TVs carried HDR-capable technology, but at CES 2016 it’s expected to become the norm among flagship large screen tellies from the likes of Samsung and LG.

More smart home announcements from Samsung

Samsung got really serious about the smart home when it bought SmartThings, which lets you connect and control different smart home gadgets using a single app on your phone.

So we expect more news on SmartThings at CES 2016. It’s already been announced that 2016 Samsung smart TVs launching at CES will be connected to SmartThings.

 With them you can (among other things):

  • use your TV as a remote control for smart gadgets around the home
  • set the mood for movie nights with lighting and sound using a special app

The second coming of OLED TV

For a while OLED TVs were side by side with 4K UHD in the battle for the living room. In recent months, the public and the industry has taken wholeheartedly to 4K UHD and OLED hasn’t been as talked about.

But the OLED story is far from over – and at CES 2016 we expect to see new OLED TV’s from LG and Panasonic. Many of the new OLED sets will also have 4K resolution, making them 4K OLED.

What’s OLED? A TV display technology rather than a screen resolution (like 4K). The LEDs on OLED sets can switch themselves on and off – so there’s no need for a separate backlight. This means OLED TVs can create the deepest black colours while being pencil-thin.

Really clever smart home gadgets for cleaning

No one likes vacuuming, right? Make it a breeze with a vacuum that cleans where you tell it – all thanks to LG.

Simply take a photo on your phone of where you want cleaning and the LG Hom-Bot Turbo+ will automatically go and clean it.

It does this using augmented reality technology.

What else can it do? Use the app on your phone to literally drive the robot vac to where you want it to clean. You can also set the vac to clean when you’re at work – pretty neat.

Super-thin Windows 10 laptops

With the launch of Windows 10 still fresh in the memory, there’ll be plenty of shiny new laptops and 2 in 1s launching in Vegas.

Expect laptops that are super thin and super light – we already know about LG’s Gram 15, a 15-inch laptop that weighs just 900g.

When it comes to 2 in 1s, keep your eyes peeled for larger and more powerful business-friendly designs.

Most will switch from laptop to tablet with either a detachable screen or a screen that folds back on a hinge - the days of the more experimental 2 in 1s are (thankfully) long gone.

More news on Netflix streaming?

2015 was the year of 4K streaming. It gave people who had purchased a 4K UHD TV easy access to proper 4K content.

Netflix was one of the main pioneers of 4K streaming, and at CES Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is set to give a keynote speech.

Could he announce more 4K content to stream?

Even smarter smart TVs

You switch from BBC1 to Netflix, or search for new content on your smart TV using what’s called a platform. Different TV manufacturers have different platforms, and LG’s – called webOS – is among the most user-friendly.

Now an even smarter version of webOS is to be launched at CES 2016.

With webOS 3.0 you can:

  • connect your TV and your Android smartphone to view phone apps on the big screen
  • zoom into objects and text on screen without compromising picture quality, according to LG.

Follow our CES 2016 coverage at TechTalk