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Feature Article

CES 2019: What To Expect From The Year's Biggest Tech Show

Get ready for bigger TVs, new VR hardware, and more appliances you can boss around.

CES 2019 kicks off January 8, bringing all kinds of new products and prototypes to Las Vegas for one of the biggest tech industry conferences of the year. With 4,500 tech companies in attendance, the show is a great way to get a sense of how the technology of all sorts of industries is developing, from transportation to computer hardware, virtual reality, and more. CES is a showcase for things you can expect to buy in 2019, as well as pie-in-the-sky ideas that may or may not ever be a reality, but are always interesting.

We're slowly seeing information leak out about what to expect at CES this year--and already we've gotten new Nvidia video cards and free game bundles--but a lot of what will appear at the show is still speculation--undoubtedly, it'll be a place of continuing trends while spawning some whole new ones. One thing's for sure: CES will offer a look at how we use technology in the year to come, and beyond. Here's what we think will be on offer in Las Vegas during 2019's Consumer Electronics Show.

Streaming Games And More Powerful PCs

Google might have started something with the introduction of Project Stream, its beta program that allows players to stream Assassin's Creed Odyssey to their computers rather than purchase and download the game. We've seen streaming services before (remember OnLive?) but internet technology has advanced quite a bit since then, and Google's attempt at the service seems pretty solid. Microsoft also announced a game-streaming service, xCloud, last year, and with the greater and greater push in the gaming industry toward games as a service, it wouldn't be surprising to see some companies show off the possibilities of streaming games in the future.

Meanwhile, the biggest push in PC gaming at CES is likely to be on the graphics side. We're expecting news from both Nvidia and AMD about upcoming graphics chips, and the rumor around the internet is that Nvidia is preparing to announce its RTX cards for laptops. And hardware makers such as Alienware, Asus, and Razer are sure to have new gaming products to show off at the show, including new computers, headphones, keyboards, mice, and lots of other peripherals.

Smarter TVs, More Pixels

We know already that LG plans to show off some new 8K TVs (including an 88-incher), which also sport new AI integration that's supposed to make them better at upscaling content and mixing sound, so your old DVDs and standard definition TV shows will look crisper and sound better. It sounds like 8K will be the trend at CES this year--even if there isn't much in the way of content that can support those screens--so be on the lookout for even more huge, high-res TVs from lots of different TV makers. There's also some speculation that foldable and rollable displays that have popped up in previous shows might make a splash at CES this year, as well. With that tech and 8K resolutions unlikely to get wide adoption from many consumers just yet, though, there will probably be a lot of different ways TV makers are trying to set their products apart from one another, like voice and virtual assistant integration, so expect lots of smaller additions and improvements.

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New VR Offerings

HTC took to Twitter with a cryptic image that will likely make a lot more sense during CES. The photo suggests the company has more virtual reality offerings coming to join its Vive room-scale headset and cheaper, standalone Vive Focus headset. It could be that HTC wants to compete a little more closely with Oculus' recent release of the standalone Oculus Go headset, which makes VR a little more affordable at $199, but sacrifices the more robust features of PC-based VR. We wouldn't be surprised if there are several new products in the VR arena, like new versions of Valve's knuckle controllers for the Vive, as companies try to keep up the hype of the technology and make it more accessible to more consumers, without draining their wallets.

More Things At Which To Yell "Hey Alexa!"

If you're the kind of person who likes yelling at their appliances, good news: it's very likely we'll be seeing virtual assistants like Siri, Cortana, and Alexa integrated into a whole lot more products at CES this year. Amazon will have a big presence at the show, as will Google, and both are vying to get their AI assistants in new products to help make smart homes, appliances, TVs, and more even, uh...smarter. There are tens of thousands of devices with integrated virtual assistants at this point, and CES is likely to show off quite a few new ones--whether you want to be able to talk to your headphones, your refrigerator, or your hair dryer, or not.

The Reign Of 5G

The next big thing in mobile networks, 5G, is supposed to come to fruition in 2019. The thing that makes the tech so appealing is its super-fast speeds of 10 gigabytes per second. While the networks that allow such capabilities won't be ready to go until 2020, we're still expecting plenty of companies to be touting the amazing possibilities of the 5G future. Wireless carriers Verizon and AT&T are both set to give keynotes at CES, where we'll probably see the companies touting what the speeds will be capable of delivering. Expect a lot of other companies, like smartphone makers and hardware developers, discussing 5G's capabilities as well.

All Kinds Of Transportation Tech

CES will see Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao deliver a keynote this year, focusing on self-driving cars and drones. Finding a way to create safer cars that drive themselves is a big push between the technology and automotive industries, and we're likely to see new takes on a lot of different tech that's necessary to make self-driving cars an everyday reality. That's to say nothing of the further integration of various technologies to make riding in the car more entertaining, even when you're stuck driving one.

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philhornshaw

Phil Hornshaw

GameSpot editor in Los Angeles, and the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel and The Space Hero’s Guide to Glory. Hoped the latter would help me get Han Solo hair, but so far, unsuccessful.

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CES kicks off every new year with a fresh stream of announcements from tech companies big and small alike, and we've got
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