I blame the camera.
At least, I hope I’m not entirely to blame for the pics from my recent trip to the Korea Electronics Show being so terrible. Though it wasn’t all as zippy and space age as you might expect, the show did have some cool stuff, whose visual splendour I singularly failed to capture in the shots below.
The really big thing, still, was 3D. There were reams of 3D screens, displays, monitors, phones and all sorts on show, with the best content – sport, big panoramic shots, video games – looking generally good and sometimes stunning. Newer 3D stuff on display included a 31-inch set using OLED – the self-lighting diodes more normally used on high-end mobile phones – nifty 3D monitors and, over in LG Display, some glasses-free 3D displays, including a dinky one for a prototype mobile phone.
Made by LG (for whom I do PR work), the OLED set had perhaps the most arresting picture, with colors that really gleamed. Unfortunately, however, they weren’t showing off its 3D capabilities this time, and until the big producers figure out a way to mass produce bigger OLED screens more cheaply, the sets are likely to remain a marginal taste.
Elsewhere, Samsung had a nice touchscreen PC on display, though not, for some reason, its “iPad killer” Galaxy tab computer that’s due for release any day now. Both LG and Samsung had their Smart TVs on show too, which will, when ready, be competing with Google’s and Apple’s TV systems. They are still at the prototype stage, so it was difficult to see exactly how easy, or otherwise, they will be to use. But the concept of Smart TVs is undoubtedly an exciting one. If they could do for TV what the iPhone etc have done for mobile phones, it could genuinely transform the way people watch TV.
Internet TV has been tried before, and it still faces sizeable obstacles, but I think that it stands to make TV so much more adaptable and user friendly that, ultimately, its widespread adoption is inevitable. I mean, whether or not viewers ever take to just browsing the internet on their TV, the prospect of being able to instantly access any programme or film, from any era, and watch it there and then on your wide-screen — with no need to fiddle through TV schedules, buy DVDs or Blu-rays or even wait for stuff to download from file-sharing sites — is a couch potato’s wet dream.
Then, of course, there’s the possibility of being able to access all the info you could possibly need – about featured gadgets/clothing/holiday locations, soundtracks, movie reviews/credits etc – through your remote. Wall-E may have been more prescient than it seemed.
As an added bonus, I had the chance to play with one of LG’s new, lower-priced Optimus smartphones (pretty light, nice feel in the hand and a very responsive screen). And, when my colleague and I went off for a coffee, we got to stand next to Thomas Jane (he of The Punisher, The Mist and Deep Blue Sea) who was proclaiming his intention to buy shares in some company whose name, tragically, I didn’t catch. After all, would you argue stock predictions with this guy?