CES 2020

Every year, I make the trek to the desert to join 170,000 other attendees so I can walk nearly 3 million square feet of exhibits presented by about 4,400 exhibitors at CES, the technology show put on by the Consumer Technology Association. (They don’t call the show the Consumer Electronics Show since not all technology is electronic, I guess.)

It’s a quiet little week. This year, it was filled with artificial intelligence (AI) helping you decide what to wear and what to eat, as well as the Internet of Things (IoT) connecting everything from toilets to potatoes. Oh, and there was 8K. Lots of 8K.

Exploring all the exhibits is daunting, and a majority aren’t really relevant to what I write about or to my edit work. But there are booths here and there that strike my fancy. Certainly, all the hype about 8K and HDR is something I pay attention to.

There was good 8K and HDR and there was bad 8K and HDR. After a while, it got slightly depressing because I think we still need to perfect the 4K going into our homes before we get 8K.

But my tired eyes lit up as I saw more recognition of “Filmmaker Mode.” Filmmaker Mode turns off pixel processing such as motion smoothing and makes sure content is displayed with the original frame rate and aspect ratio. It’s also supposed to preserve the color and contrast intended by the content creator. The UHD Alliance (UHDA), in combination with CE companies and studios, and in consultation with creative communities like the Directors Guild of America (DGA), developed the standard.

If a display is advertised as having Filmmaker Mode, the display will engage it either manually when the user presses a button on the TV’s remote or automatically by reading metadata from the content displayed. This means that the user won’t have to dive deep into menus to turn it on.

Although Filmmaker Mode wasn’t introduced at the show (it was announced last August), several display manufacturers announced they’ll fully support Filmmaker Mode in their televisions. For example, LG announced that every new 4K and 8K set they introduce this year will support Filmmaker Mode. Samsung and Panasonic also announced they will have a display supporting the feature.

These announcements weren’t buried at the bottom of a press release. They were front and center at the press conference for the world press. For me, it was a step in the right direction, replacing vague pronouncements about superior picture quality and immersive experience.

You can learn more about Filmmaker Mode here. Unfortunately, the website isn’t very consumer friendly, and it quickly jumps into other topics like Ultra HD Premium and Mobile HD Premium. Still, you can get a little idea of the people behind this standard.

Now if they’d just have a button to set the content creator’s intended screen size…

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