What to Watch at CES

CES has become a must-attend expo for TV and digital executives looking for the next big thing in consumer behavior that might dramatically change their businesses or open up new opportunities.

Here’s what a cross-section of executives told Multichannel News they’ll be watching for in Las Vegas this year.


“We continue to monitor what will be the impact of 5G. We’ve heard a lot about it from the telcos, though I think the jury is still out on how it is going to change consumer behavior. But it’s coming and we have to understand what it means and if there is a way we can take advantage of it.”
— Tom Christie, chief operating officer, Showtime Networks


“Gaming is already a huge play. A lot of people don’t realize that the gaming market in the U.S. already brings in more revenue than Hollywood. With the change in U.S. laws that allows online betting of eSports, you will see the whole category just explode.”
— Phil McKinney, president and CEO, CableLabs

New Screens and Possible Outlets for Video

“There are more screens on all the connected devices. We are going to be scouring the floor at CEs to see who has come up with the most interesting and compelling ways to drive an audience though all those new screens.”
— Brinton Miller, executive vice president of technology strategy and operations, Discovery Inc.

“We are keeping an eye on things like Facebook Portal and Amazon Echo Show because anything with a screen is something that could have a Sling TV experience.”
— Jimshade Chaudhari, vice president of product management, Sling TV

The Internet of Things

“We think the Internet of Things is a very, very important growth space for us, and we’re very focused on how to make that experience simple, easy and awesome.”
— Daniel Spinosa, vice president of entertainment services, Comcast Cable

“We are going to see more and more connections between devices. So the Internet of Things and the implications for how you move content and video around the home will be interesting to see.”
— Sameer Deen, chief digital officer, Univision Communications

OTT Video

“If anyone is thinking about how TV is going to look like in 10 years from now, it is clearly going to be on OTT. I would look for some very interesting announcements at CES from different partners on how they are going to play in the OTT space, because it is now clear they all have to be there.”
— Rob Holmes, vice president of programming, Roku

“I’m mostly fascinated and paying attention to some of the technologies that are powering things like Roku and Apple TV. There is a lot of innovation that is going to be happening relating to the monetization of OTT.”
— Chris Berend, senior vice president, digital video, CNN


“We are very interested how personalization can continue to become more effective in serving up the content people want so they can get the content quickly and without all the difficulties of finding that content. We think it is a huge opportunity for us to work with some of the large digital platforms to do that more effectively … Related to that is voice search. It continues to be a great interest because it goes hand and glove with personalization.”
— Justin Connolly, executive vice president, affiliate sales and marketing, Disney & ESPN Media Networks

Smart TVs

“We’re very interested in developments with what you might call a truly connected TV versus peripheral device that connect to the TV like Roku or Amazon fire. I want to see how the systems [inside these TVs] are evolving at Samsung, Vizio, LG, etc. I think it will be an interesting year on that front.”
— Marc DeBevoise, president and chief operating officer, CBS Interactive

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)

“We want to see what is in store for the wearables [in terms] of becoming lighter, having better fields of view and augmentation.”
— Chris Young, senior vice president of Nickelodeon’s Entertainment Lab

Voice Recognition
“Five years ago, it was all about search engine optimization. Now, voice recognition and voice optimization is crucial in making sure that users can easily access and interact with our content.”
— Sameer Deen, chief digital officer, Univision Communications

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
“There are some tools around this that are very interesting [for production and content development] that allow you to plug in an idea and create something very interesting.”
— Chris Young, senior vice president, Nickelodeon’s Entertainment Lab

Autonomous Cars and Automotive Entertainment
“We’re looking at autonomous cars, because if you are not driving you probably want to be entertained.”
— Jimshade Chaudhari, vice president of product management, Sling TV

Edge Computing
“We are big proponents of edge computing at CableLabs because it allows you to deliver a very responsive and very low-latency experience … We actually think that consumers are going to shift from being purely speed-focused because when you get above 50 to 75 Mbps, your constraint for having a better experience is latency.”
— Phil McKinney, president and CEO, CableLabs

High Dynamic Range (HDR)
“We expect a lot more push for HDR as we get into the next year and want to get a better understand of who are the winners and finding out what HDR formats we need to be mastering to.”
— Brinton Miller, executive vice president of technology strategy and operations, Discovery Inc.

More From Viewer Watch 2019
Hard to See
Adjusting to a Post Peak TV World
Digital Margins Pose a Dilemma
New Ratings for the New Year
Engaging With Old and New Platforms
If You Build It …
Viewer Watch: The Charts