CES 2024: TV-OS wars, Roku Pro, Matter Casting, and more

Matthijs Langendijk
7 min readJan 14, 2024

As the dust settles on CES 2024, it is once again time to look at all the announcements in the world of television. What do the likes of Samsung, LG, Roku and others have in store for us in the upcoming year? In this blog, we’ll look at the latest and greatest announced at this year's Consumer Electronics Show.

The SmartTV-OS wars

Arguably the most interesting (in my eyes at least) is seeing what is happening with the dozens of SmartTV operating systems on the market. Is any consolidation happening, is a new competitor entering the arena, … CES 2024 always offers an interesting view for the year to come. And this year’s event was no different.

Panasonic teams with Amazon

Something I certainly didn’t expect is the announced move from Panasonic to only release televisions with Amazon FireTV this year. Yes, last year Panasonic had a small subset of their TVs come with FireTV. That was a surprise on its own, given that they had just made the move from their custom operating system to Android TV. It seems that the televisions with FireTV have been received well, as it’s now the only operating system coming with new Panasonic TVs. This must be unfortunate news for people owning an older Panasonic with either Android TV or the even older ‘My Home Screen’ though… can you imagine what the app and firmware support will be for these TVs?

LG giving older TVs an update

Yes, you’re reading that right! The unimaginable has happened. I wrote about it just a few months ago; my biggest gripe with SmartTVs. Once televisions roll off the assembly line, they often don’t get access to any major firmware updates. That is finally going to change for certain LG customers, thank heaven! With LG dubbing it the ‘webOS Re:New program’, certain televisions from as ‘old’ 2022 can expect updates to the latest webOS version. Now, it’s not all TVs from LGs 2022 line-up, only OLED models, but it’s a very welcome step in the right direction! Something other TV manufacturers should definitely learn from.

Samsung Tizen and Roku not going anywhere

As expected, the biggest in the TV market will continue to use their own operating systems. Tizen is going to get shipped with all the announced televisions by Samsung, which include numerous 8K and 4K televisions in a variety of configurations. Something that Samsung is adding to Tizen, is the option to create user profiles — to allow for a more personalised experience in what is a family-shared device. Wonder how that’s going to play out, given that the big benefit of a SmartTV is its shared nature.

Image: Roku

On the side of Roku, there aren’t any big changes announced for the operating system itself. Brands like TCL, Hisense, and others will likely continue to make televisions sporting Roku’s OS. Interestingly though, Roku is now jumping into the high-end spectrum of televisions itself. With their announcement of ‘Roku Pro TVs’, they are now directly going to compete with other high-end televisions using Roku’s OS. An interesting but logical turn of events, after unveiling their first low-end lineup of televisions during last year's CES.

And much more competition

While the above might be some of the biggest, there are other operating systems putting in a lot of effort to take up a portion of the SmartTV market. AndroidTV/GoogleTV is still a thing, with certain TVs from Hisense coming with the operating system in 2024. Xperi’s TiVo also joins the fray, announcing additional manufacturing partnerships ahead of its planned launch in Europe. We’ve also seen a big presence from Coolita OS, a relatively unknown OS in the Western hemisphere, but coming from Coocaa Network Technology, a leading OTT enterprise in China.

We haven’t seen announcements or presence from the likes of Sony, Vizio, Philips, and others — all, like the ones above, contributing to the competitive TV market. If this year's CES has proven anything, it’s that the SmartTV OS wars have not slowed down by even a bit — if anything, they are going on in full force.

Casting options

Besides the battle of the operating systems, it seems that another battle is going on between TV manufacturers, or rather, a battle between standards. Over the years we’ve seen manufacturers integrate various methods of casting to televisions, with the biggest and most well-supported being Chromecast and Airplay. During CES 2024, several manufacturers have revealed their support for different casting options. For example, LG explained they are teaming up with Google, meaning all 2024 televisions from the manufacturer come with Chromecast built-in. An interesting move, considering for years their televisions have been supporting Apple’s Airplay.

Something new on the casting side is coming from a standard that has mainly been making its way into IoT applications: Matter. With many companies, like Google, committing to the Matter standard; Amazon has taken it a step further with the first-ever implementation of ‘Matter Casting’, coming to a subset of Amazon’s new devices like the Echo Show 15, as well as Panasonic's newly announced Fire TV-powered televisions. Interestingly, this means casting with this new standard will have to be integrated into mobile apps — which at the time of writing will only be the case for Amazon’s Prime Video application. Amazon claims to be working with the likes of Plex, Pluto TV, and others to add Matter Casting support later in 2024. Is this new casting technology going to become the main standard, with the industry’s push for Matter in IoT? Only time will tell.

For the enthusiasts

CES is always the place for random and interesting releases of products that might never fully see the light of day, or are only for the enthusiasts with deep pockets. This year's event was no different.

Transparent screens

It wouldn’t be CES if we had the South Korean competitors Samsung and LG go head to head with the most interesting displays on the stand. Both companies revealed televisions that are ‘fully’ transparent! With LG using OLED and Samsung opting for Micro LED, the companies opted for different technologies to get to a similar result. Now, as we’ve seen with demos like this at previous events, televisions like these are not likely to reach the masses (reminding you of LG’s rollable OLED TV costing a whopping 100,000 US Dollars). It’s still very interesting to see both companies working on very similar products, we can see the innovation happening right before our eyes!

Image: LG

Bigger isn’t always better

Most of the time, CES stands out for the biggest television screens. This year though, SKYWORTH has shown a rather small television screen coming in at just 24 inches. Now, small televisions in itself aren’t that interesting. What is interesting with this model though, is its portability. Rather than being a TV that’s to be installed onto a wall, this TV is fully portable. Dubbing it the SKYWORTH Companion P100 Portable Display, this TV comes with 3 hours of battery life, allowing you to take the 24-inch screen anywhere you want. Supposedly coming with Google TV (although SKYWORTH contributes to Coolita OS), this device might just be that replacement for a tablet. Rather than bringing a tablet to, say the kitchen, you can use the bigger 24-inch TV to follow along with a cooking video.

But bigger is also better

Fair is fair, it is CES after all. Many TV manufacturers wanted to stand out with a bigger is better approach. The crown of that, as many times before, goes to Samsung. Coming in at a whopping 140 inches, Samsung's Micro LED TVs are definitely the biggest, and actually by a rather large margin. Besides Samsung, Hisense showcased its 110UX model, which, as expected, features a 110-inch screen. And, lastly, sitting right in between the two was TCL. With their 115-inch TV, they are following that very same trend of ‘bigger is better’. It goes to show that big TVs are here to stay, and as the price slowly drops, will likely get adapted more and more into our homes.

Wrapping up

The battles are on in full force, across many different aspects of the market. Whether we’re looking at the size of screens, which operating systems are used, and even which casting technologies are being supported — competition is everywhere. And that’s both a blessing and a curse. For consumers, it means that prices are also likely to be competitive and you have a lot to choose from. On the other hand, it does mean that staying connected to a single ecosystem is rather difficult.

On the side of development, I’d have to say it’s equally difficult. There are no signs of consolidation of operating systems whatsoever, if anything, there might even be more popping up in the upcoming year. You have seen the same with Amazon’s move at CES to announce Matter Casting. It might be a good move towards the Matter standard, but it’s honestly too early to tell at this stage in its lifecycle, and it’s still a move away from the well-integrated Chromecast and Airplay. The biggest uptake for me though, is LG’s commitment to update older televisions. That might make the lives of developers ever so slightly better, having to deal with just a few less compatibility issues when dealing with ‘older’ televisions. It’s a very welcome change in this chaotic and competitive industry.

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