What We Saw at CES 2013

A few of us from Direct Communications were lucky enough to attend the annual CES in Las Vegas last week.  CES is the world’s largest annual innovation event, drawing more than 150,000 attendees (about half of whom must have been ahead of us at the breakfast buffet line at CircusCircus) and  3,250 exhibitors, who unveiled about 20,000 new products.
We attend because we try to stay informed about coming internet technologies that our customers will probably be using soon, and the good news for us as a fiber broadband provider is that all trends are definitely calling for more bandwidth usage and even smarter devices.  Here are a few cool gadgets we saw that will make life a little more convenient for all of us in the future.

IMG_0096Just when you thought you had High Definition figured out– meet Ultra HD TV. (Also called 4K) This new standard was being presented at all the major TV manufacturers’ booths, and displays at a minimum resolution of 3,840 × 2,160 pixels. That kind of resolution will literally require four times the current bandwidth requirement to stream HD video, which is great news for all fiber optic internet service providers, such as Direct Communications, with no data caps. Good luck watching TV over wireless in the future! The resolution was really quite remarkable–a real difference to regular HD that must be seen in real life to know what you were missing. So, stop buying those Blue Ray disks–they are already obsolete.
Ultra-HD Video Camera

Ultra-HD Video Camera

There was only one device at the entire show that was capable of recording at ultra-HD/4K resolution–this camcorder, used by the only station in the world currently broadcasting at 4K, which was in South Korea. But the way things are going, looks like soon that new HD Canon camcorder you just bought your wife will be at the bottom of your junk closet along with that old Hi8. Just don’t buy any more electronics until about 2020.

Free network TV on your tablet– tIMG_0162his was a great idea from Belkin–now you can pull off-air broadcast channels directly onto your tablet without a TV subscription, using this little device that plugs directly into your tablet.
 IMG_0143One exciting development in the world of internet streaming was the number of new Android-based streaming devices. These will turn any TV into a smart TV simply by plugging the card into an HDMI port, and give you the ability to download any Android app, like Netflix, and basically just use your TV as a giant screen. This will open up a whole new world of online entertainment possibilities because of the sheer number of android apps on the market – the Google Play Store now offers over 700,000 mobile apps for the Android OS. Plus, many of these android cloud TV devices are a lot cheaper than existing players like Apple TV or Xbox.
IMG_0149Want to track your kid on your smartphone without having to insert a chip in his or her forehead? This is your ticket– the mini GPS tracking chip that you simply drop into your child’s pocket or backpack and you can follow them as a blinking light anytime on your Google map, just like in the spy movies. Available May 2013.http://www.imsmart.com/en/i-m-here/overview
Talking animal bluetooth speakerThis novelty toy will give more life to your phone conversations–a cute animal speaker that connects with your cell phone–the mouth even moves in sync with the audio stream.
BelkinThe Belkin @TV Plus is like a Slingbox but goes one step further. Plug this IP device into your cable or satellite box, and it will stream a video feed of what is showing onto your home wifi network, so you can watch that feed on any device via wifi. Good for watching your TV in the bath on your Kindle. It also provides an IP feed so you can access your video feed remotely anywhere just like a Slingbox, but the rep says it only costs significantly less than a Slingbox.
 IMG_0157Verizon demoed this handy live broadcast video system that is designed to replace a mobile satellite truck for producers. In order to be able to upload an HD video feed back to the office, they paired four cell phone radios together into a portable device so you can broadcast from anywhere you have a decent cell signal.
IMG_0156Field technicians of the future–this is going to be your standard headwear. A camera will provide a video feed of everything you are seeing back to the office, while a mini digital projector superimposes an image into your eye for any additional information from the office computer you might need, so they can show you to cut the blue wire instead of the red one.
IMG_0150Computer mice and USB sticks in any shape or size you like–as long as you like cars.
IMG_0147This was one of the award-winning new Smart TVs- the  Hisense 55XT780 Google TV “brings a revolutionary user experience to the living room.  Consumers will enjoy a new level of intuitive content discovery and viewing recommendations in addition to Chrome, Google Play, Search, TV & Movies and YouTube.” http://www.cesweb.org/Awards/CES-Innovations-Awards/2013.aspx?category=HomeAudioVideoComponents
IMG_0086Lexus was presenting their developing smartcar technology which someday may allow cars to drive themselves using internet connected GPS. This would have been a whole lot cooler if they had an actual working model driving around–looked pretty, but hard to know what exactly you were looking at.
  Just like in the sci-fi movies, now your windows can also be your 3D TV screen.
Audi booth
Audi booth

If there were a prize for the brightest booth at CES, Audi would have been the winner. Stepping into their booth induced an instant migraine.

Vocaloid – This is an interesting demonstration of how pop music of the future will be made–just type in the lyrics, program in a tune with midi, and the computer will sing the song for you.
 If you haven’t ever heard about the MHL standard, this is an easy way to mirror your cell phone or tablet onto an HD TV using just the USB port on your device. No HDMI port needed. IMG_0124
 IMG_0078Gibson is doing a lot of cool things to interface with your digital home recording workstation, including buying the KRK Rokit studio monitor manufacturer.
IMG_0095You have heard for a long time that someday fridges will be connected to the internet and do your shopping for you. This one from LG won’t actually order for you, but it will tell you when your milk has probably expired.
IMG_0133This was a new kind of toy–a real ball that you control with your tablet or smartphone. The lines between the real and virtual world become ever more blurred. Check out http://www.gosphero.com/”Sphero is a completely new type of gaming system. It’s the world’s first robotic ball that you control with a tilt, touch, or swing from your smartphone or tablet. You can drive Sphero, play tabletop and multiplayer games, hold Sphero in your hand to use it as a controller for on-screen gameplay, learn basic programming, and even explore augmented reality.”
IMG_0092This huge display wall of 3D TVs from LG was just impressive.
IMG_0163 Ubuntu revealed a new operating system for smartphones and tablets. Check out http://www.ubuntu.com/devices/phone
IMG_0111 Intel’s booth.
IMG_0106This new TV could be yours for the current low price of about $60,000. Actually, pricing has not yet been announced, but the 85-inchers are going for about $40,000. Perhaps in a few more years we can all have one.

About Brigham Griffin
Brigham Griffin, Marketing Director for Direct Communications, has been with the company since 2005. Brigham has an MBA from the University of Utah, and a BA in Communications from Brigham Young University. He is a Professional in Residence at Utah Valley University, and also serves as an adjunct professor of marketing at Idaho State University.

One Response to What We Saw at CES 2013

  1. Diane Bradshaw says:

    This is great, Brig! Love how you added the pictures along with your description. That Audi booth is awful!

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