Jan 9, 2015 · 2 minutes

Most of the products revealed at CES this week haven't been more than intellectually interesting takes on what the future might look like. I don't want most of the gadgets shown off at the expo in my home, and I expect many of them will never be released.

There was one thing that should excite at least some consumers, however, and it was the advancements made in television sets -- but not for the reasons many people might think.

Manufacturers showed off all kinds of outrageous designs for the future of television. Samsung has come out in favor of curved displays, Sony announced a television set that's thinner than most smartphones, and LG revealed a product with a quantum-dot display.

All of those products would be interesting to stick in the living room and watch for hours on end whilst tapping through status updates on Facebook or scrolling through Twitter. But the real good news is that these products might make "older" sets even cheaper.

There isn't much point in buying an ultra-high definition display quite yet. Most people don't have the Internet connections required to stream such crisp videos, nor the storage space to download them. Game consoles can't even begin to take advantage of the technology.

Older, more "plain" high definition television sets, on the other hand, are still worth buying. Blu-ray movies seem to be getting cheaper, the PlayStation 4 can take full advantage of the displays, and streaming high definition video is relatively painless to stream for most consumers.

I would rather get my hands on a top-of-the-line 1080p television set that works with all the things I already own than buy a cheaper-but-still-expensive ultra-high definition set with the hopes that the United States' Internet infrastructure will change and console-makers will be able to take advantage of the displays some time in the next decade or so.

That's one of the most interesting things about CES. It's hard to get too excited about many of the products displayed because they're either too expensive or simply not ready for prime time. But their mere existence should make other, almost-as-good products even cheaper, rendering them more accessible to many consumers.

All of which is to say that CES might be the place the future is revealed, but more importantly for most people is that it's the place where manufacturers give some idea when the present is going to become a little more affordable. That's more relevant to shoppers than most of the high-tech stuff showcased on the convention floor anyway.

[illustration by Brad Jonas]