We're hours into CES week and I've already lost count of the number of TVs I've laid eyes on. Don't get me wrong, all those 8K, perfectly contrasted, punch-you-in-your-face colored demos are a pleasure to watch -- but they've also become repetitive and, dare I say, boring. Instead, the one TV that's actually raised my eyebrows this year -- and is deserving of the Las Vegas limelight -- is the wireless TV by startup Displace.
You read that right: A TV that doesn't rely on any dangling cables or wires to power it. None. The method to the madness? Four hot-swappable batteries that Displace says should give the TV a month's worth of endurance before needing to be recharged, WiFi 6E to sync your inputs from the separate base unit to the TV, and what the 6-person company calls Active Loop Vacuum Technology, two adhesive strips that seal the TV onto virtually any surface without a mount.
For the demo, which took place in a tech-filled suite in the Venetian Hotel, Displace demoed the capability of its proprietary mounting system on a fabric-coated wall, as well as a glass window. Installation was as simple as pushing the sub-20-pound TV against the surface and letting the adhesive do the rest, all while a vacuum-like sound signals the beginning and end of the process. As for how long the display can stay attached to a wall? Displace CEO Balaji Krishnan says the Active Loop Vacuum technology will reinforce itself ever so often to keep the TV in place. In other words: forever.
And if the wireless aspect isn't future enough, the other key feature of the Displace TV is gesture controls. Don't expect a remote control to ship with this TV. Instead, the appliance comes with a pop-out camera at the top that detects hand gestures for navigating through channels and even copying and broadcasting the visual content from one Displace TV to another. This is using technology similar to what powered the Xbox Kinect and was popularized by PrimeSense, an Israeli acquired by Apple.
Basically, imagine pointing at your TV, doing a pinch motion like you're picking up salt, and sprinkling that onto another display. It's a magical experience, but I wonder if having remote controllers was ever a problem to begin with. I also question how reliable the camera-based detection is when there are multiple people in a room. Will celebrating a touchdown end up changing the channel or turning off the TV by accident? That's likely to depend on how good the machine learning is in the Displace TV. Krishnan said that Displace will also offer an app to control the TV from your smartphone.
Displace says the product will release in late 2023 at $2,999 per unit. That's a hefty asking price for a 4K television, let alone a first-generation product. But after talking to the folks at Displace, I was left with a reassuring feeling, as if this team knew what they wanted to achieve and how to get there progressively. The team members have impressive experience in TV hardware startups and at tech companies like Apple, as well as palpable enthusiasm for overhauling today's TV experience for the better.
They've brought a level of creativity and innovation to the TV space that no one expected -- and their product is one of the most intriguing things we've seen so far at CES 2023. It's especially interesting to see how Displace is thinking about the way making TVs wireless and able to quickly move to different parts of your home could transform the functionality and usability of screens.
For example, these could become the device you use for Zoom calls and the TVs could automatically transfer your Zoom call from one TV to another when you change rooms. The TVs could also recognize what kind of room it's in and change the menus and content selection based on being in a kitchen vs. a living room, for example. When you have guests over, you could bring several Displace TVs together into one room to connect them and create a larger display for a watch party.
Should you want to buy two or four of the Displace TVs -- multi-panel setups are the end goal of the company -- Displace will even offer a 10% and 20% off discount, respectively. It's an early product, but if you want to get in on an early model then watch for Displace's CES pre-order announcement on January 5, because it looks like the first run will be a small one and could sell out quickly since this is such an interesting take on how to innovate the TV experience.