CES Reporter's Notebook: Media Day Brings a Big Samsung TV, New Oculus Headset

The Consumer Technology Association also released new research indicating that 2018 could be a big year for streaming music, which is expected to rake in $19.5 billion in revenue.
Courtesy of Samsung
Samsung's The Wall

As CES gets underway in Las Vegas, the event’s organizer, the Consumer Technology Association, has released new research projecting that the consumer tech industry will grow to $351 billion in revenue in 2018, which would be 3.9 percent higher than last year's figure. 

Additionally, the latest edition of CTA's semi-annual industry report, the U.S. Consumer Technology Sales and Forecasts, includes for the first time a projection for consumer spending on music and video streaming services, valued at $19.5 billion in revenue, 35 percent higher than last year's sum.

The forecast for U.S. sales of connected devices are projected to reach 715 million units in 2018, a 6.6 percent increase year-over-year. Specific products that expected to contribute significantly to this growth include smart speakers, smart home technology, virtual reality, drones and wearables. Virtual and augmented reality headsets and earwear are projected to reach $1.2 billion in revenues, according to the report. Total drone sales are expected to reach $1.2 billion in revenue, a 17 percent increase over 2017.

Many of the announcements made during media day on Monday — where everyone from Sony to Samsung to TCL presented their wares to journalists from around the world — support the CTA's expected growth in these areas. Here are some of the biggest announcements from the first day of the show: 

Oculus Goes Cordless

Three months after Oculus first announced plans for a more mobile virtual reality headset, the Facebook-owned company has revealed that it has teamed with China's Xiaomi to make the device. The $199 set, which won't be tethered to a computer via a cord like many other VR headsets, is expected in 2018 throughout most of the world. It will use a Qualcomm processor called the Snapdragon 821. Xiaomi will also build a China exclusive headset called Mi VR Standalone, which will use the same hardware as the Go. 

Facebook's VR vp Hugo Barra called stand-alone headsets "the next significant phase of VR hardware development at Oculus." 

HTC Upgrades Vive

HTC Vive introduced Vive Pro, an upgrade to the Vive VR headset with dual-OLED displays with resolution of 2880 x 1600 combined. It also announced a wireless adapter for its headsets, as well as a redesign of Viveport VR and Vive Video. 

TCL Teams With Roku

Following last week's news that Roku plans to expand its licensing program into audio equipment, TCL revealed that it will make a Roku Smart Soundbar, expected in late 2018, that will utilize Roku Entertainment Assistant voice control technology. The two companies have an existing relationship via the Roku TV licensing program. 

"TCL is an exceptional Roku TV partner and a natural fit to be the first partner to plan to build a smart soundbar under our new licensing program," said Roku CEO Anthony Wood. "The TCL Roku Smart Soundbar will offer a great value and make TV watching even more enjoyable by offering premium sound and more entertainment control through Roku Connect and the Roku Entertainment Assistant." 

Samsung Goes Big

Who says size doesn't matter? Samsung rolled into Las Vegas with a 146-inch modular television that stunned on the first day of CES. Called The Wall, the TV can be adapted to a size that works for each viewer, according to Samsung. It won't be available to consumers just yet, but the company has plans to make it available for purchase eventually.