CES 2024: Gadget Makers Add AI To TVs, Cars

TV makers Samsung, LG, Hisense, TCL and others embed AI features in latest devices while Sony drives Afeela car with PlayStation controller

Major television makers touted AI as a significant feature at the CES consumer electronics trade show in Las Vegas as the hot trend makes itself felt in the consumer gadget market.

Connected cars have also become a central part of the expo in recent years, and 2024 was no exception, with AI a prominent theme there as well.

South Korean TV makers Samsung and LG and their Chinese rivals Hisense and TCL all put AI at the centre of their pitches for the latest TVs and other smart gadgets, with the trend being toward high-powered integrated chips that allow AI features to run directly on the device rather than being accessed from the cloud.

Samsung is also planning to introduce a flagship smartphone later this month with on-device AI features, becoming one of the first handset makers to add generative AI to its devices.

Image credit: Leo Gebbie

On-device AI

The on-device AI trend is one of the factors analysts believe could spur demand for new consumer and business devices this year and lead the chip industry out of its worst slump in decades.

Samsung, the world’s biggest maker of TVs as well as smartphones and memory chips, unveiled its Neo QLED 8K TV,  which Samsung Electronics America head of connected experience centre Jonathan Gabrio called a “beast of an AI screen”, with improved audio and visual quality.

It and the rest of Samsung’s high-end lineup are powered by the NQ8 AI Gen3 chip, with a neural processing unit that has twice the speed of its predecessor and 512 neural networks, up from 64.

The chip powers AI features such as 8K upscaling, motion enhancement and depth enhancement, which adds details to fast-moving scenes by using AI to detect parts of scenes that a human eye would focus on and bring those into the foreground through the accurate control of mini LEDs.

samsung now+ tv
Image credit: Samsung

Image enhancement

The 2024 iteration of Samsung’s Tizen OS, which powers its electronics, usesd AI to bring personalised content and services to the Neo QLED 8K line, Samsung said in its presentation ahead of CES, which officially opens on Tuesday.

China’s Hisense, the country’s biggest TV maker, and TCL both touted gigantic TVs with AI features.

Hisense said its AI recognises the source and content of a picture – for instance live television or streaming – and switches to an optimisation setting for that content, for example live sports.

TCL said it was bringing AI processing to its cheaper S Class televisions and also touted other gadgets such as its RayNeo X2 smart glasses, which can display images on the lenses for applications such as real-time translation.

Hisense is also working on AR and VR devices, which remain at the prototype stage for now.

samsung nq8 ai processor
Image credit: Samsung

Automotive innovation

The company is working on a heads-up display for cars that allows users to interact with, for instance, smart home devices without looking away from the road.

“If you’re on the road and your smart refrigerator can tell you, ‘hey, you’re out of eggs; so on your way home, stop by and pick up some eggs,’ that’s the idea that we’re going for,” said Hisense USA president David Gold.

Nvidia said on Monday that Chinese carmakers Li Auto, Great Wall Motor, Zeekr and Xiaomi are all to use Nvidia’s Drive technology for autonomous driving features.

Samsung and Sony both discussed car deals during their Monday presentations. Sony showed an EV prototype it is developing with Honda under their Afeela joint venture, first announced at last year’s show, is working with Honda on its Afeela joint venture and Samsung said it is working with Hyundai to bring its SmartThings platform to cars.

Sony titillated the audience by driving its Afeela car onto the stage using a PlayStation DualSense controller – but didn’t indicate it was bringing such controls to consumer cars anytime soon.

Image credit: Sony