CES 2018 Recap: Roku/Android TV Dominated, But the Fire TV Was MIA





CES 2018, the Consumer Electronics Show, is now over, but it was jam-packed with meetings and exploring the newest in technology. So I want to take a minute and review what I thought were some of the highlights of CES 2018 from the viewpoint of a cord cutter now that I had time to look back at CES 2018.

What was the biggest cord cutting announcements at CES?

There were two big cord cutting announcements at CES: Roku’s new Connect line of smart speakers and the ATSC 3.0 over-the-air TV.

Roku was pushing their new lines of Roku TVs from new partners, such as RCA and Philips, and brand-new high-end Roku TVs from TCL. Yet the real showstopper was a new line of Roku smart speakers. Now with Roku Connect-powered sound bars and smart speakers you can control your TV with your voice and get higher quality sound.

As TVs get smaller one of the compromises that has to happen is the quality of the sound from the built-in speakers. Now with this new line of Roku Connect speakers, your sound bar can wirelessly and easily connect to your Roku TV and be used as your voice remote.

The other big announcement was the new 3.0 OTA standard from the ATSC board. This standard will allow companies to start building 3.0 over-the-air TV devices like tuners.

Cord Cutters News even went hands-on with an early demo of the 3.0 OTA standard and saw it live in action.

Biggest surprise?

The biggest surprise of CES 2018 was not anything at the event but what was not. Amazon was everywhere with Alexa but was absent when it came to Fire TV devices. Last year we got the first look at the new Fire TV Edition Smart TVs. This year, nothing.

This was surprising because CES is the place you see all the TVs coming out that year. Amazon made no efforts to push their Fire TV boxes or smart TVs.

The only company to mention the Fire TV was Westinghouse, and they showed off a concept TV that they wanted to make into a Fire TV but it is just a demo of a new TV without official Amazon support.

You may be wondering what about the Apple TV? Well, Apple now has their own event they use to promote Apple products. So it has been many years since Apple and even Microsoft have spent a lot of time and money at CES.

Other Interesting Things from CES

Hulu had a lot of news with plans to update their live TV service with a more traditional guide. They also announced plans for a big push into the Winter Olympics.

TiVo announced integration into smart homes with the ability to control smart appliances with your TiVo box.

Channel Master announced a new line of smart antennas and a new DVR based on Android TV.

Beyond that it was a bit of a slow CES for cord cutters.

Why was CES so slow this year?

In years past CES has been packed with major cord cutting news. This year it was a slow year no matter how you looked at it.

As best we can tell, everyone in the world of cord cutting is waiting for the new 3.0 OTA TV testing that is happening later this year. With 3.0 OTA TV about to become a reality in Phoenix as part of early testing and 2019 looking to be the year it will start rolling out across the nation, many companies are holding back right now.

They seem content to wait and see what happens with the testing before they invest a lot of money into new TVs, DVRs, and more.

So hang tight. More cord cutting news likely will come later this year and next year at CES 2019.

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