CES Wrap: 5 Big Trends for Hollywood

Mike Dunn - H 2015
Getty Images

Mike Dunn - H 2015

Didn't make it to Las Vegas? THR hit the desert and uncovered what you should keep an eye on, from virtual reality to Netflix-certified TVs.

This story first appeared in the Jan. 23 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Nonmilitary drones could become a $1 billion business by 2018, and there were plenty hovering over CES. Filmmakers and news outlets see potential in flying cameras (one made an appearance on the Golden Globes red carpet, and CNN inked a deal Jan. 12 with the FAA to integrate drones into its reporting), but safety is an issue. To that end, various unmanned aircraft systems organizations were in Vegas to explain a new drone safety campaign.

Read more CES Wrap: I Want My HDR! But With No Standard, What Does That Mean?

Although there's a general agreement that HDR — with a wider range between the whitest whites and blackest blacks — will create a noticeable difference in video quality, stakeholders worry about consumer confusion and a format war. Samsung unveiled an HDR line, dubbed SUHDTV, with Fox providing content in Samsung's "open" format via M-GO. Warner Bros. plans to provide movies for Dolby's new format. And a fresh Blu-ray format, supporting 4K and HDR, rolls out later this year.

Once strictly a gadget show, CES has become a must for media companies looking to promote content consumption. That was evidenced by the unveiling of Dish's Sling TV service and word that Netflix would begin certifying TVs that offer "a superior Internet TV experience." CBS chief Leslie Moonves, attending the show to promote new streaming offering CBS All Access, summed it up best: "I don't care how you watch our shows, just watch them."

Read more CES: Hollywood Will Be "Huge" for Virtual Reality, Jaunt Exec Projects

Ultra HD TVs — supporting 4K resolution, four times greater than HD — were everywhere, from all major set makers, in all shapes and sizes, including curved OLED displays. A coalition dubbed the UHD Alliance was announced, aiming to achieve an orderly rollout of the technology. Not to be outdone: the second flavor of Ultra HD, 8K (16 times more resolution than HD), which Japan aims to put in place for broadcasting in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Now that Samsung's Gear VR has made virtual reality technology commercially available, the industry is calling on the creative community to help build out the ecosystem. And at CES, Hollywood responded. Scott Broock, vp content at VR technology startup Jaunt, said the music and entertainment industries will be "huge" for the burgeoning market for 360-degree content. To wit, Fox showed off a three-minute experience to promote Wild, and Samsung said that The Walking Dead exec producer David Alpert is creating a mystery thriller for its new Milk VR app.