What was the next big thing at CES 2013?

4K technology quadruples the resolution on your TV. This image almost appears as 3D!

Walking onto the floor of CES 2013 you were mobbed . . . mobbed by TVs. Everywhere you turned you bumped into another display of TVs – big shiny 100+inchers; bowed-screened plasma units for optimal viewing anywhere in your living room; 4K TVs, smart TVs, everywhere TVs, TVs, TVs.

But if you looked past the forest for the tree you understood immediately what the “big thing” at CES 2013 was. No, not TVs. The big thing was freedom of choice.

Every bit of technology on that floor in someway frees us consumers from the mundane decisions we make every day to focus on the decisions that we’re truly passionate about.  The big thing in Vegas was what all those smart TVs will allow us to do. They will allow us to become our own programmers.

Imagine it: no more sifting through program guides to (hopefully) find something we want to watch.  These babies will record the shows we watch most frequently, some will even play them back to us with no commercials. Hulu or Netflix or Amazon will become our program guide or they will let us surf YouTube or Facebook and allow us to watch what our friends are watching.

That freedom will spread to all the other rooms in our homes.  The refrigerator will tell us what to make for dinner by keeping track of what food is in the fridge and when it will spoil. Cook that steak tonight before it goes bad. Oh and by the way, you need more milk. Your fitbit (another step counting bracelet) will tell you to keep walking if you truly want to lose those last 10 pounds. And that freedom will extend out to the driveway as well. Our cars will watch out for pedestrians so we can focus on the conversation we’re having with our GPS via bluetooth.

For the past decade marketers have been wringing their hands over the amount of choice and control consumers have.  Well, here comes the era when we consumers don’t even have to make conscious choices – our devices will be doing that for us.  That takes us into a “post-engagement” world.  It will no longer be about getting consumers to engage with our brands, we will have to come up with ways to make consumers care about choosing our brands.  The good news for marketers is, we now also have more options to choose from.  Game on!

This is what TVs looked like at CES just 3 short years ago.

 For a comprehensive overview the TVs on display at CES, check out this review at the Huffington Post.