CES, the mother of all consumer technology shows, ended on Sunday, marking its 50th anniversary with a record breaking turnout of 3,800 exhibitors, spanning 2.6 million square feet of space, and somewhere in the neighborhood of 175,000 attendees. By comparison, the first show, held in New York in 1967, had 200 exhibitors and attracted around 17,000 attendees.
CES 2017 didn’t knock my socks off with any groundbreaking news. Still, there were definite trends repeated at every booth corner. Streaming video and music is no longer news. Now companies are coming up with new ways to entice those disenchanted with their current TV provider as they try to capture the cord cutter market. UHD streaming will be increasingly available in HDR as more devices support the higher quality format. YouTube 360 videos are available on TVs and media players that have mouse capabilities. Many media streamer manufacturers are moving forward with voice commands. They will be incorporating Alexa or Google Home for either controlling the device or using the device to control the rest of the home.
AT A GLANCE Plus
Hand-crafted in France
Super-easy to drive
13-foot-long cable is unwieldy
The Focal Elear is a world-class design, right up with the best of Audeze, Beyerdynamic, Grado, Hifiman, and Sennheiser’s ’phones.
I’m a lucky guy; I’ve heard almost all of the best headphones currently on the market, but I wasn’t expecting something in that league from Focal. I’ve enjoyed their Spirit headphones for years, but Elear is radically different from what came before. The most remarkable thing about the sound is that it’s not so easy to get a handle on. I will say this, though: Elear is hypertransparent, so you feel like you’re hearing a direct feed from the recording session. Build quality, design, and comfort are fully commensurate with the $999 price. They’re beautifully crafted and a pleasure to use.
Q I have a question about playing 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks on a 5.1 speaker system. I understand that my receiver will mix the back rear channels into the surround channels, but will that cause the playback to lose the lossless quality DTS-HD Master Audio was designed to deliver? —Len Shift
Now that I have your attention…CES 2017 is in the history books. While I haven't yet heard the final attendance, I'm certain that somewhere north of 150,000 people were jockeying for position when I visited the Las Vegas Convention Center, the heart of the event. It's also supplemented by several other venues, including the Venetian Hotel, traditionally the site of the specialty (i.e., high-end) audio exhibits.
The video high point of the big show for me was Sony's CLETIS (Crystal LED Integrated System)...
2D Performance 3D Performance Features Ergonomics Value
AT A GLANCE Plus
Outstanding blacks and shadow detail
Nearly flawless off-center viewing
Attractive price (for OLED)
Yes, LG’s OLED UHDTVs do have shortcomings, including their inability to get as bright as the best LCD sets. But OLED’s significant advantages more than compensate and have made these TVs, including the superb OLED65E6P, the new golden goose in the Ultra HD landscape.
I vividly remember plasma displays, and I mourned their passing. But even before 4K came along, LCD TVs—with their brighter images, lighter weight, lower energy consumption, and, toward the end, cheaper prices—were putting a full-court press on plasma technology.
Philips-branded 4K/Ultra HD TVs introduced last week at CES will support Dolby Vision high dynamic range processing, according to P&F USA, exclusive licensee for Philips televisions and home video products in North America.
Screen Innovations is not in the business of reviewing projectors but recently made a video demonstrating the $25,000 4K/high-dynamic-range ultra-short throw projector Sony introduced at CES with its Zero Edge ST screen.
Glenn Hughes is known as “The Voice of Rock” for good reason. The bassist/vocalist’s long and storied C.V. reads like a playlist that’s been culled from the best British-bred AOR from the ’70s right up to the present day, including the likes of Trapeze, Deep Purple, and Black Country Communion. I called Hughes to discuss the latest twist on his writing process for his new solo album Resonate, how also being the album’s producer enabled him to stretch creatively, and how spinning vinyl and streaming music are very different listening experiences.