CES 2014

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John Sciacca  |  Jan 07, 2014  |  0 comments
Door locks are not meant to be cool. Door locks are not meant to be sexy. Door lock are supposed to be utilitarian devices that keep the bad people out of your house when you’re not home, and require limited access by using a good, old-fashioned key, the way our forefathers intended.

These are all things that Goji has clearly never heard, because the company’s new Smart Lock is by far the sexiest industrial design I’ve seen on a door lock. In fact, I think that Goji might do for the smart lock what Nest did for the smart thermostat.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 07, 2014  |  0 comments
The Holy Grail of 3D has long been 3D without glasses—technically known as autostereoscopic 3D. But past CES demos of this technology have been notable duds.

The only way to do 3D without glasses is to process the image so that the images to each eye are isolated. But this has a side effect. You can see the 3D when viewed straight on. Move off center by a few degrees and the 3D disappears, taking some image quality with it. Move a bit further off-axis and the 3D returns. And so on—and off. The result is you get 3D only in a limited range of viewing zones, and poor image quality in others.

John Sciacca  |  Jan 07, 2014  |  0 comments
A consortium of flagship audio/video companies have once again teamed up to provide the most immersive, over-the-top home theater demo at CES 2014.

Using detailed engineering schematics from Antony Grimani’s firm, Performance Media Industries (PMI) they rebuilt a meeting room in the Venetian into the ultimate movie listening and viewing space. Grimani told me that his company reengineered the room omitting all of the “wrong” hotel dimensions, and coming up with the layout and design for the room’s seating, riser heath, screen size, acoustic treatments and more.

Mark Fleischmann  |  Jan 07, 2014  |  3 comments
Dynaudio has rethought its Excite line, of which the smallest member is the X14 ($1500/pair). Just about every part has been overhauled, including the one-inch silk dome tweeter, said to have 65 percent more usable surface area than a typical same-sized driver; and a 5.25-inch proprietary woofer made of magnesium silicate polymer. Yes, there's a matching horizontal center, the X24 ($1000). There's not an Excite sub as such but Dynaudio suggests the 10-inch Sub 250. All shipping end of January.
Bob Ankosko  |  Jan 07, 2014  |  0 comments
Hisense is not exactly a household brand but the Chinese-based company came out swinging at a pre-CES press conference touting aggressive plans to grow its business in the U.S. and become one of the world’s top three TV manufacturers. The company, which opened a U.S.-based subsidiary in Atlanta more than a decade ago, sells boatloads of TVs, refrigerators, air conditioners, and other products through Walmart, Best Buy, hhgregg, and Costco.com. In TV alone, it produces more than 10 million sets a year globally.

Hisense executives are counting on the new Android-powered H7 VIDAA series smart televisions to meet their goals.

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jan 07, 2014  |  0 comments
Paris-based KEEKER was one of more than a dozen participants using an appearance at ShowStoppers LaunchIt Power Session at CES2014 to give the company’s pitch for higher-level funding and partnerships to a panel of judges. KEEKER is part mobile computer, part robot, part home entertainment system, and part security system. It looks a bit like a large, 16-inch wide by 25-inch tall egg on wheels; and it contains a built-in projector, 360-degree sound system, and a lot more. It’s either one of the silliest ideas here at CES2014, or it’s going to be a paradigm breaker. For example, one of the benefits touted in the brief pitch session was the ability of KEEKER to bring the TV to the viewer, rather than force the viewer to sit passively in front of the traditional “black box” TV set. The built-in projector can be used to display an image on any wall or ceiling. Since KEEKER is on a motorized, wheeled platform, it can be instructed to move anywhere in your home – displaying the news on the wall in your dining room, for example, and then rolling into your bedroom and shining a late-night TV show on the ceiling. (Or substitute a variety of viewing situations and content based on your own experiences.) In fact, later in the day, KEEKER was out and about in the hotel hallways displaying video on the vaulted ceiling above. KEEKER is shooting for a release date of sometime in the fourth quarter of 2014 with a tentative selling price of $5,000.
Bob Ankosko  |  Jan 07, 2014  |  0 comments
Texas Instruments is touting miniaturization at 2014 CES with a showcase of 30 products based on its DLP Pico video projection technology. Several implementations were demonstrated at the Digital Experience exhibition on the eve of the show, including the “smallest video projector in the world” from Korea-based Sekonix.
Lauren Dragan  |  Jan 07, 2014  |  0 comments
SOL assures us that their newest headphone release will stay in your ears no matter how you move. Intended to be fashionable enough to wear on your commute, but rugged enough to handle use while jogging, SOUL Relays have a fit they call FreeFlex. FreeFlex is more or less a squishy rubbery ring around the earbud itself that SOL says helps to conform to any ear shape and enable the earbuds to stay put. Water and sweat resistant, they also feature a cable clip and in-line remote and mic. Also worth noting is that SOL offers free tips for life, so if you lose any of the four pairs of included tips, you can just simply request that more be sent to you.

Retailing for $79.99, they're available now in black and red, "lemon/lime" and blue in February. We're excited to take them for a test run.

Al Griffin  |  Jan 07, 2014  |  0 comments
As promising as the first two OLED TVs to hit the market, a pair of 55-inchers from LG and Samsung, were, there was one problem with both: their screens were curved. That’s why the 55-inch OLED model hanging in Chinese TV-maker Hisense’s booth caught my eye.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 07, 2014  |  0 comments
Vizio also announced five new Ultra HD sets in its P-Series. These UHD designs will have 64 zones of local dimming and will be available in 5-inch increments from 50-inches ($999!) to 70-inches ($2600). They will, of course, have all of Vizio’s smart TV features.
Brent Butterworth  |  Jan 07, 2014  |  0 comments

I didn't expect to find any high-end tower speakers amongst the car audio stuff in the North Hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center -- until I stumbled upon this new model from Hybrid Audio Technologies.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Jan 07, 2014  |  0 comments
Topping off Vizio’s 2014 offerings will be the company’s new Ultra HD Reference Series. The big news here is the inclusion of Dolby’s new High Dynamic Range (HDR) technology. The Reference Series panels are capable of 800 nits of peak lunimance (just under 234 foot-lamberts).
Lauren Dragan  |  Jan 07, 2014  |  0 comments
Sennheiser has announced that they moving into the realm of the gamer with the introduction of two new PC gaming headsets: G4ME™ ZERO and G4ME™ ONE. Working in conjunction with Sennheiser was Io-Interactive (part of the Square Enix group that made games like the Hitman and the Kane & Lynch franchises.) The partnership included the Io-Interactive developers using Sennheiser equipment and headsets when creating the audio for their game releases. The goal was for he headset user to experience at home precisely what the developers intended in the studio. It's a pretty novel approach to mixing audio for games. The headphones themselves have been designed with not only comfort and ergonomics taken into account, but also with extra attention to things gamers need like: better noise canceling in the microphone, a boom that mutes the mic when raised, and volume controls in the ear cup. While G4ME™ ONE is focused on the home user, allowing for breathable long-wearing earcups, G4ME™ ZERO is made for tournament play, with a foldable design, hard carry case, and aviation level sound isolation factored into the design process. What all this will mean in real-time usage remains to be seen, but overall, I'm excited to see what Sennheiser brings to the lan-party.

Mark Fleischmann  |  Jan 07, 2014  |  0 comments
Having marketed soundbars for a couple of years in Europe, Maxell is bringing them to the United States. The top model is the SSB-4W ($299, shipping now), a console-type bar with SRS surround tech, HDMI times three, two bottom-firing woofers, and four smaller drivers across the front. Stop the servers: It has a fiberboard enclosure, as opposed to plastic. Could this be the ultimate killer budget bar? The USB port is also a charger.
Barb Gonzalez  |  Jan 07, 2014  |  1 comments
During an impassioned keynote, Sony Chairman Kazuo Hirai promised to deliver content without the box. The first product in what Sony calls Lifespace UX will be the Ultra Short Throw Projector. A long, short rectangular box is placed close to any wall in your house and projects a 147 inch 4k image on the wall. Hirai described content that includes real time, life size images in this makeshift window that might include an outdoor view with transitions. The Ultra Short Throw Projector will be available Summer 2014.

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