Consumer Electronics & Appliance News, Reviews & Information.

Jan 12

CES Field Reports: The future of flat screens TVs, streaming, and audio

For our CES delegates, it was quite the trip. Between the products and cool sights, there was a lot for them to do and see, and far too much to tweet about.

@derekdsmithI sat down with Derek Smith (@derekdsmith) to ask him about what he saw, what he heard, and what’s looking forward to next year.

Can you give your overall impression of the show?

It was the busiest show I’ve seen in the four years I’ve been going. It was partially because another show called PMA, for digital cameras and camera manufacturers, that usually goes on the week after was absorbed into CES. But, overall, it was the biggest CES I’ve been to.

What was the coolest thing you saw?

I spent most of my time in meetings, so I didn’t get a lot of chances to look around on the floor. Probably the Sharp 8k x 4k flat screen TV, though, it was pretty impressive. They had to run 4 HDMI cables to get the signal to it.

What are you excited about from CES? What can we expect to see coming to Vann’s?

More connectivity. We were seeing a lot of improvements for things like Airplay speakers and connected receivers and incorporating the phone into all that. Not just for Apple though, Android phones are being used to stream and control, too. A lot of them will be using Bluetooth or your own Wi-Fi network to stream.

Flat screen TVs had a lot of really cool things going on. The Sharp 8k x 4k TV, like I said before, but they’re also focusing on the size of their TVs with 60, 70, and 80-inch TVs at lower prices. They’re going to be a really good value. Toshiba had their glasses-less 3D, which was really good, and they say that it will bet out late, late this year.

Sharp's 8K TV at CES 2012

@robstanley: Sharp debuts industry first 8k TV demonstration. Fantastic!

GoogleTV was also pretty big, not just with the TVs, but with Sony and LG creating boxes that make any TV a GoogleTV. Internet TVs in general are going to be pretty big. Samsung has their dual-core processors that make multi-tasking possible, so that you can have more than one program running at a time.

LG Smart Square

@GDemple: LG Smart Square... AirPlay with iAnything

OLED is supposed to be really big, but I didn’t have a chance to see it, although the big pitch for it was that if you put two credit cards together, that was the size of the screen. The technology is just supposed to be better than LCD or Plasma, with better color saturation, more energy efficient. It’s supposed to come out later this year, but it might not until next year — if it does, it’ll be the big thing next year, though.

There’s also a bigger focus on pure audio from digital devices. We saw a lot of DACs (digital audio converters), a bigger focus on powered speakers for things like computers, and a smaller size for all of it so you could fit something like a small DAC, some small speakers, and a computer all on a desk. AudioQuest demoed a 30-pin (iOS device) connector cable that really showed a night and day difference for audio, it was amazing the difference. Companies like Onkyo and Pioneer are doing more for wireless streaming on their devices, too, so you can use AirPlay or Bluetooth to get music.

I also got to demo Klipsch Console, which was a big speaker, maybe 50″ wide, that sounded amazing. Turns a whole room into a party room with just one speaker.

Klipsch Console

@derekdsmith: Klipsch AirPlay Console TV stand... Sounds quite amazing!!

We also saw the Steez from Pioneer, which looks interesting. There was a big push for that, and for their new AirPlay speaker.

Any expectations for next year?

There will be a bigger focus on whole home connectivity, especially as there’s more saturation of tablets. Whole home connectivity sounds daunting, but you won’t even know it’s going on — you’ll just plug something in and it’ll be connected to your home.

Internet TV is going to get less kludgy, and more smooth. You can already see it with the Samsung TVs and their dual core processors this year, but it will be much more integrated in the future.

TVs in general are going to see a much bigger focus on picture quality across the board. Now that LED, LCD, and Plasma have all kind of been out for awhile, picture is where the real battles are going to happen.

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