A Scaled Down CES 2022 Opens Wednesday

On Wednesday, CES 2022 returns to the live, in-person format that has defined the seminal event for 55 years but, make no mistake, it’s a smaller show this time around. Much smaller. The same Covid-19 concerns that transformed CES into a virtual event a year ago and all but decimated CEDIA 2021 in September have led to a hybrid virtual/live CES with more than 2200 exhibitors in Las Vegas, less than half of the 4,500 companies that attended CES 2020.

Attendance topped 170,000 in 2020 but will be maybe half that, given international travel restrictions and the spate of high-profile exhibitor cancellations in the weeks leading up to the show. Still, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) has stood firm, reiterating that the show will go on with updated health protocols in place for attendees, who must present proof of vaccination, and a digital experience akin to last year’s virtual show for those who choose to not attend in person. The show, will, however, close on Friday, a day earlier than the original plan.

“As the world’s most influential technology event, CES is steadfast in its pledge to be the gathering place to showcase products and discuss ideas that will ultimately make our lives better,” CTA president Gary Shapiro said on Friday in welcoming the return to an in-person, though shortened, show.

Of course, the cancellations we know of — Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and General Motors among them — are largely irrelevant to our audio/video/home entertainment focus at Sound & Vision. Pre-CES invites and advance press releases have been trickling in for weeks and appear to be hitting stride if the flurry of emails that hit our inboxes this morning is any indicator. Major TV/full-line A/V brands attending CES 2022 include Sony, Samsung, and LG, which held a pre-CES press event at its NJ headquarters and has issued a string of teases and press releases in recent weeks.

In addition to having a virtual presence at CES 2022, S&V will also be on the show floor to bring you the most compelling A/V product news. Here’s a sampling of some of the companies we’ve heard from in the lead-up to the show.

LG is unveiling a broad range of new products under the banner of “Today’s Innovations for a Better Tomorrow.” In addition to smart-home products based on its ThinQ platform, the company will introduce new soundbars, gaming monitors, and OLED TVs, including LG OLED Art, and showcase the latest in flexible and transparent OLED displays.

JVC today announced the addition of an “entry-level” $7,000 model featuring a 4K/120p-capable HDMI input and HDR10+ high-dynamic range (HDR) processing to its acclaimed line of D-ILA video projectors. Watch for a full report.

HDR10+ Technologies is launching a new HDR10+ high-dynamic range (HDR) standard for gaming.

Cleer Audio is introducing its Alpha wireless headphones, featuring intelligent adaptive noise cancellation and Dirac sound processing for $250, and will preview a new set of wireless earbuds designed for sports.

Hisense is expected to expand its line of ultra-short-throw laser-projection TV systems with new, lower-priced models.

Motorola, a brand we don’t hear much about these days, is introducing a $150 set of noise-cancelling wireless earbuds.

Roku has announced the expansion of its Roku TV Ready certification program to include products from JVC and Polk Audio.

EarFun, the company that brought us the excellent Free Pro wireless earbuds, is previewing UBoom L, a portable Bluetooth speaker it plans to release in May for $80.

Apart from the brands mentioned earlier, and not accounting for companies that attend CES unofficially and show products in hotel suites, the number of top-tier A/V companies appearing on the official CES 2022 roster is slim. A quick perusal turned up Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC), BenQ, Dirac Research, Dolby, Elite Screens, Fraunhofer, Logitech, Panasonic, Sharp Audio, SVS Sound, TCL, and Voxx International. Lesser known brands include the A/V cable company Austere, House of Marley, and a few dozen (unknown) companies with Shenzhen in their names.

Part of the fun in exploring CES in person is discovering up-and-coming companies and you can be sure we’ll have an eye out for those. Don’t forget to check back throughout the week for the latest news and CES updates.