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There's much to see at CES, tech's big showcase in Las Vegas

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The Consumer Electronics Show is billed as the most powerful tech event in the world. This week, more than 130,000 industry insiders are gathering in Las Vegas to check out the latest trends, products and ideas. Julian Chokkattu, reviews editor at Wired, is a regular, and he is in Las Vegas to tell us what he is seeing. Good morning.

JULIAN CHOKKATTU: Good morning.

MARTIN: So I'm hearing about flying cars at this event this year and transparent TVs. What are transparent TVs? Do I want that?

CHOKKATTU: Well, so every year at CES, you know, they always show some crazy new concept for televisions. A couple of years ago, it was a rollable TV that just sort of rolled up from sort of like a media console. This year, the trend seems to be transparent TVs. LG and Samsung - Samsung showed off a concept of a transparent TV, and LG actually has a product that's going to come later this year. It's probably going to cost north of $100,000. So this is very much...

MARTIN: Ooh.

CHOKKATTU: ...You know, demoing the technology.

MARTIN: So basically it's pull my kids out of college or get the TV.

CHOKKATTU: Yeah.

MARTIN: I guess that's the - those are the choices, right?

CHOKKATTU: Yeah.

MARTIN: So but transparent because you see all the guts in it, or what - is it like a mirror until it's a TV, or?

CHOKKATTU: No. So think of it like sort of almost just a pane of glass and the images sort of show up on there. And then in LG's use case they have this contrast film that rolls up. So when you want to actually watch a normal movie that black screen sort of rolls up behind it. They're pitching it sort of as you know, if - you can place your TV...

MARTIN: Oh.

CHOKKATTU: ...In front of your window and not have it block the view. And then when you want to watch a movie, you can roll up this sort of black screen. And it's - really seems to be pivoted towards interior designers for now. But...

MARTIN: OK.

CHOKKATTU: ...You can, of course, assume this technology will be baked into other types of products and categories.

MARTIN: OK. Anything else exciting?

CHOKKATTU: Yeah. I mean, there was a flying car. It's from an offshoot division of Hyundai Motor Group. It's called the Supernal. And it's a, you know, sort of a passenger vehicle where you can transport up to four people, I believe. And this is supposedly coming within the next four years. It's another one of those things where every year you sort of get a tease of, oh, flying car - it's coming soon. And this potentially might be the first time where that actually might be the case, and we might start seeing some of these in the real world. Definitely not something that the average person is just going to go out and buy though - so, you do need a pilot's license.

MARTIN: So I see what you're saying. So it's called the Consumer Electronics Show. But what we're seeing are things that consumers will have available down the road.

CHOKKATTU: Not entirely - I mean, the show itself is sort of like a way for companies to come here and show off their tech wares. And that's sort of going to be the sort of devices and technology you're going to see for the rest of the year. In a way, there are some elements of a rejection of Big Tech. There are some companies where - one company, for example, just launched a new operating system that de-Googles (ph) the entire, you know, Google experience from Android. And so essentially, you can get experience of not having to worry about what Google is tracking on your phone experience, considering how much it does generally track on Android. So there's some of that. There's a lot of AI and a way of rejecting the sort of normal mode of interfacing with our digital world. And so there's a little bit of that, but not quite to the extent - I think this is a show that loves technology, so.

MARTIN: Oh, interesting. All right. Well, thanks so much. Go back and have some fun. That's Julian Chokkattu. He's reviews editor at Wired. Thanks so much.

CHOKKATTU: Thanks so much. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.