CES and beyond: 7 tech trends that will define 2014

2. 4K (or, if you're a Korean marketer, Ultra HD)

A strong selection of flagship 4K TVs debuted at CES 2013, and with the technology becoming ever more popular, 2014 will be dominated by TV sets from a whole range of manufacturers. 

Sony, LG, Panasonic, Samsung, Philips and Toshiba have all released sets this year. All are massive, and all cost several thousands of pounds.

CES 2014 promises to showcase a wider range of sets, with some being at the more affordable end of the spectrum. Of course, the 105in curved 4K TVs set to be unveiled by LG and Samsung are likely to skew towards those with deep pockets.

Where 2013's crop of 4K TVs were marred by the fact that there was very little native 4K content to watch on them, 2014 should see the floodgates start to creak open, thanks in part to the widespread adoption of the H.265 High Efficiency Video Codec (HEVC) standard, which allows for 4K streaming at bitrates that aren't substantially higher than HD over the current H.264 standard. 

Amazon Studios and Netflix have both announced they will soon be filming and streaming content in 4K resolution. Netflix will be shooting the second season of House of Cards in the UHD format, while Amazon has promised a number of new series including a debut drama.

More after the break...

3. OLED / POLED / Flexible tech

OLED is the other screen technology that you should be getting very excited about. Thousands of Organic Light Emitting Diodes (trust us, this is exciting) make up a screen, and as the naming suggests, each one emits its own light - no backlight required.

This means they can be individually turned off, thus creating the elusive 'complete black' colouring that TVs have striven to achieve over the years. It also means that they can be amazingly thin, and that the panels can be bent without compromising illumination, which is why we've already seen curved OLED TVs hit the market.

OLED has yet to achieve widespread distribution as sets are currently incredibly expensive to produce, meaning the retail price is equally as high. Indeed, the massive 105in curved TVs set to be unveiled by LG and Samsung at CES 2014 will use conventional LED backlit LCD panel technology, due to OLED's prohibitive cost.

Nevertheless, with both LG and Samsung having produced curved OLED TVs in the last year, the future's looking bright for this TV technology.

And LG has already pioneered flexible plastic OLED (POLED) displays in its LG G Flex smartphone – the first of many, if Samsung's Galaxy Round tech demos and other rumours come to fruition - so bringing the technology to bigger screens is the next logical step, right? 

Whether it’s marketed as a way of creating ‘unbreakable’ gadgets, or of extolling the virtues of flexibility as a method of interaction or improved ergonomics, it seems flexible tech is set to be huge in 2014.

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