December may have passed, but the true gadget head’s Christmas is just around the corner! Now entering its fiftieth year, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) hasn’t got time to look back. The Las Vegas expo is all about showcasing the future of consumer technology. Over the last half-century, CES has provided a stage for everything from early pocket radios to the public debut of Blu-Ray.
What began as a small expo for industry insiders has since become a huge event, with 3,600 exhibitors and almost 180,000 attendees across 2.47 million square feet at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Nevada. And thanks to a collaboration between Twitter and The Verge, you’ll be able to stream much of the convention in the comfort of your own home, from the 3rd to the 8th of January!
But what wonders will CES 2017 hold? Last January saw the introduction of everything from Ultra HD 4K Blu-ray to supercomputers for driverless cars. So really, it’s anybody’s guess! Here at VIDGO, we’ve been gazing into our crystal ball, consulting the texts of Nostradamus and, more accurately, scouring the web for some predictions as to what to expect from CES 2017. The short version? Some hints at the future of streaming services, virtual reality, and high-def televisions. The long version? Read on!
The future of TV
As usual, home entertainment remains a cornerstone of CES 2017. With exhibitors including the likes of Sony, LG, and Samsung, there’s nowhere better to gain a peek into the future of television. Word on the street is that Nvidia plans on unveiling a new model in their Android-powered SHIELD TV range. It was the first-ever streaming device to offer 4K Netflix, and the new model is thought to provide even greater video streaming capabilities than ever before thanks to support for high-speed wifi connections and MIMO antennas. It’s also been hinted that the SHIELD’s feted gaming controller will get an upgrade to boot, swapping out its current wifi connection in favor of a low-energy bluetooth signal.
Samsung will likely be there with their latest SUHD, their line of Ultra High Definition televisions. Not only do these have their own operating system, based around the open-source Tizen platform, but they use a proprietary technology for increasing the accuracy of colors and sharpness of 4K images. Ideal for streaming television through a streaming service such as VIDGO, perhaps. TCL will also be on site, with new versions of their high-selling smart TVs.
Looking to steal the spotlight, though, is Sony. The Japanese giant will finally be announcing their move into the OLED market, one which was previously cornered by LG. Apparently, the competitors have struck a deal, meaning Sony can now manufacture their own OLED televisions. Unlike regular back-lit LED TVs, each pixel on an OLED produces its own light, making for richer colors. It’s the same technology used in most modern smartphone screens and will take advantage of the company’s forthcoming 4K Blu-Ray technology.
Panasonic is also going to be showing off 4K OLED TVs as well as taking the chance to highlight their DMP-UB900 4K Blu-Ray player. There will be heaps more 4K players on offer, too, from the likes of Oppo and Philips.
LG, meanwhile, is apparently on track to debut the first HDR monitor during the show. The LG 32UD99 is an Ultra HD model, offering super-sharp 4K images and the capability to watch High Dynamic Range content, which offers higher contrast and deeper colors than even current top-of-the-line high definition monitors; you may recognize the technology from the recently upgraded Playstation 4. Most exciting of all, said monitor is Chromecast-enabled, meaning you can enjoy awesomely beautiful Miracast streaming video from the likes of VIDGO and beyond!
Making the home as good as the cinema
Netflix has often used CES to unveil new developments to their streaming service. 2017 should be no exception, although nobody can quite agree on what they might have up their sleeve this year. Downloading shows and movies to watch offline has already been launched, just in time for the Christmas commute, so the smart money is on Netflix – and other streaming services – starting to adopt HDR as well as 4K content.
Between ultra high definition streaming content and OLED screens, the viewing experience in your home cinema will be even closer to the real thing. How about the sound, though? Dolby Atmos and DTS:X – which allow for immersive, 3D sound which emanates all around you by placing of speakers – are already available through soundbars offered by Sonos.
Expect their monopoly on the market to be seriously threatened over the course of CES 2017:
RHA will likely be offering some new high- end audio devices, whilst Audio-Technica, Beyerdynamic, B&O, Burmester, Cyrus, ELAC, KEF, NAD and Pro-Ject will make up their own little High-Performance Audio enclave at the Convention Centre. The Paradigm Persona 9H will be on show, a groundbreaking set up which adjusts sound output to your surroundings.
LG are also expected to reveal information about their Stylus 2 smartphone, with a redesigned touchscreen allowing for more precise use of their patented stylus technology for artists and graphic designers working on the go (plus those who don’t like wearing their finger out scrolling through streaming video catalogs!). The new Stylus is rumored to be a 5.7-inch phablet, perhaps a competitor to the Samsung Note range…
Samsung, meanwhile, will probably hold off on unveiling the brand-new, less-flammable Galaxy S8 until Mobile World Congress 2017 in the summer, but don’t be surprised if they have some bombshells to drop on the Las Vegas Convention Centre. A Galaxy TabPro S2, perhaps? There are also smaller concerns like the GraalPhone, 4-in-1 device that combines a highest-level quality PC, smartphone, tablet and 3D digital camera into one device.
Asus is rumored to have the Zenfone 3 Zoom at the show, along with the usual offerings of tablets and Chromebooks. They may also choose the show to give their Google Tango-enabled ZenPhone AR, their move into the augmented reality market. It’ll be the only other Tango phone available, alongside the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro. Xiaomi will also be present at CES, for the first time ever, likely bringing some new phones with them as well.
Elsewhere, streaming content on your phone could be even more enticing than ever as smartphone screens with 4K capabilities get their first public airing with the likes of the Sony Xperia X2 – with a rumored 4GB of RAM and a 5.5-inch screen – and LG X Calibur. Having the likes of VIDGO at your literal fingertips, with images as clear and sharp (if smaller!) than they are at home is a major leap forward for on-the-go viewing.
There’s a good chance these new phones will also follow in the footsteps of the iPhone 7, meaning both waterproof and lacking in headphone jack. Good for those who stream in the bath, bad for those married to their Bose headphones. Speaking of headphones, lucky attendees might get a chance to try on Ossic X’s so-called 3D audio smart headphones, which harness a unique algorithm to deliver a 3D effect with any audio. These things will calibrate sound according to all sorts of things, including the shape of your head. Yowzer.
Of course, you may be abandoning your traditional handset for something completely different sooner rather than later…
What has previously been characterized as both far-off sci-fi fantasy and dismissible fad has now arrived as an integral part of home entertainment. Virtual reality headsets will be unwrapped by many this Christmas, with Playstation, HTC and Oculus already having their first models on the market, to name just a few. Right now you can play a handful of videogames, watch videos and use apps in full 360-degree virtual reality, but that’s just the beginning. Where does VR go from here?
CES 2017 may well hold the answers. Or at least some hints. Gaming and online services have already got a head start, but expect the big movie studios, television companies and streaming services to start getting in on the VR game. Imagine super-3D films! You c
an only assume James Cameron is looking into it for Avatar 4. HP, Dell, and Acer may be on the verge of announcing Windows 10-compatible VR headsets, so expect some streaming service news on that front.
HTC will be showcasing their Vive 2 headset, which may well be wireless, eliminating a lot of the set-up woes which have irritated early virtual reality adopters. This is an update already headed to China, and Xiaomi will allegedly be bringing their own VR device to CES as they announce a new global Mi product.
Faraday Future made a name for themselves at CES 2016, where their concept electric car was the center of attention on the show floor. Their Batmobile-alike FFZERO1 had something in the area of 1,000 horsepower (that’s a lot of horses), could go from zero-to-sixty in under three seconds, and apparently had some as-yet undetermined augmented reality features. Of course, besides the electric car the biggest trend in automobiles has been the rise of driverless models.
After all, CES has been the proving ground for Tesla, the leading manufacturer of such. Mercedes-Benz, Ford, Volvo, Chevy, VW and Kia are all expected to have a presence this year, and Nissan Motor Corporation head Carlos Ghosn is slated to make a keynote speech. It’s a safe bet that at least some of these companies are sure to be leaping atop the self-driving bandwagon.
BMW will aim for the middle ground with their HoloActive Touch controls, which remove the traditional steering wheel in favor of having you use a heads-up-display and gesture controls. Basically, you’ll be able to drive by waving your hands around like Colin Farrell and his future computer from Minority Report. Obviously, it helps to know your gestures are being recognized when driving a car – so you don’t crash, thanks to a sharp turn being missed – so this technology uses ultrasonic waves which give the sensation of touching something even when it’s not there. The future!
Hyundai will definitely be showing off their Autonomous Ioniq, which promises connectivity with your other gadgets, including being controlled by Amazon’s Alexa voice command software! We’re not far of the future of driving to work, catching up on Law and Order on your tablet and not getting (rightfully) pulled over for it.
The world was introduced to the all-conquering Fitbit at CES, and the convention center has been the proving ground for everybody from Nest to Amazon’s Echo. The smart tech revolution is very much here and will continue to push us towards a glittering digital future during this year’s show. As we get more used to voice controls and start moving away from typing (we can actually speak commands aloud four times faster, on average!), expect more of these digital assistants being integrated into your tech, including televisions and the like.
Companies will continue to link everything in your house, keep tech working on the go, and make more and more of your possessions tech-enabled. Bosch has announced that their presence will focus on how the “Internet of Things becomes personal,” and Qualcomm’s keynote is set to be all about smart devices and connected cars. You can expect wearable tech to become more fashionable, too, with lines including Diesel, Michael Kors, Skagen and Emporio Armani lining up to strut their stuff at the CES 2017 runway.
Just how smart can smart tech get? Well, A.I. is really going to be a big deal at CES this year. Imagine much further than the Echo, Siri or Cortana. But hopefully a little less than HAL from 2001. If your smart home technology can start thinking, we may be on the cusp of a brand new world. Or at least one that knows you love watching Friends re-runs when you get in from work and makes sure one is lined up on VIDGO as soon as you walk through the door.
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