CES is back for another year and this year it’s between the 5-8th of January 2017, taking place in Las Vegas. Reading through articles from people who have gone this year (including overseas publications such as TechnoBuffalo and Engadget) there are a select few that has gotten me interested in them. In this blog post I will highlight some of my favourite products from CES this year, and will continue to update this post throughout the event.
Last year’s LG OLED TVs were still the best in terms of picture quality across the range of TVs on sale. When you walk into a retailer with various manufacturers’ TVs displayed next to each other, the LG OLED series would always outshine the rest of its competition. This year, as well as improving its already amazing OLED panels, LG have also made its new W-series TV just 2.7mm thin across the entire frame! This means they can be mounted right against the wall and really looks like a piece of artwork on your wall. Because of this all the input ports are housed separately on the soundbar, which is attached to the TV via a very thin cable. OLED TVs are still pretty expensive at the moment as there aren’t many competition that match the amazing quality that OLED offers. In fact, some other TV manufacturers are even sourcing their OLED from LG!
While most universal remotes let you combine all IR remotes into one, the Sevenhugs Smart Remote goes a step further by allowing you to control WiFi and Bluetooth devices, as well as letting you point it at something and it will change the menus to it. So for example if you point it at your Hue lights, it will automatically bring up the Hue lights menu and you can do whatever you want with them. The closest thing I’ve seen to this would have to be the Logitech Harmony Elite which requires a centralised Harmony Hub.
Razer is working on a concept Chroma projector, dubbed Project Ariana, which will use a wide-angle fisheye lens to broadcast real-time video of your game onto an adjacent wall, creating an almost full immersion of graphics in your living room. The 3D depth-sensing cameras will also automatically detect lighting and furniture, which can then “bend” the light to go around that object. Razer hope to have this ready by the end of the year and can also be used as a regular 4K projector.
Samsung have unveiled their new QLED 4K TV lineup which attempts to be on-par or better than the OLED panels. The QLED series is an improvement over its last year’s high-end SUHD TV lineup and offers areas of improvement in the colour and brightness departments. The New 75” Q8C TV uses a completely new metal Quantum Dot material to achieve dramatically improved light efficiency and perfect colour accuracy. As well as panel improvements, there have also been some physical improvements to its QLED TVs. All the QLED sets rely on a new invisible connection fiber optic cable, which connects to a breakout box for inputs. Samsung have also introduced a “no gap wall mount” which will literally mount your TV flush against your wall, and will even automatically level itself through its mounting mechanism built into the back of the TV. This should make mounting the TV an easier job than before!
Samsung QLED TVs will debut in New Zealand sometime towards the middle of 2017 although it is too early to confirm details such as exact models, spec and pricing at the moment.
If you thought Eve from the movie Wall-E was cute, now you can have her in your home very soon too! LG’s new digital assistant robot, which can move and swivel around, as well as display emotion on its display, is powered by Amazon’s Alexa voice recognition software. It can connect to a range of home appliances and you can control them via voice commands. As well as controlling appliances, you can even potentially see the inside of your fridge (with the LG Smart InstaView refrigerators) through the robot’s display. This robot is part of a range of robots created by LG, which also includes a lawn-mowing robot! Should be a good comparison (if they do end up releasing it to the market) with Husqvarna’s AutoMowers!
My WTF product (and possibly most interesting product at CES 2017 this year) would have to go to the Withings Hair Coach. This smart hairbrush can let you know if you’re brushing your hair too hard, can tell you if your hair is wet or dry (if you didn’t know already), and even has a microphone to hear how frizzy your hair is! As said in the article, a person with common sense would be able to do most of the said features themselves! Nevertheless, all this information is pushed to a smartphone app which you can view a snapshot of how your hair is doing…
Here’s an interesting fact: the OLED panel is supplied by LG. This really shows how superior picture quality on OLED panels really are. The Sony OLED TV, while also being thin, also incorporates a sound technology called ‘Acoustic Surface’. This integrates the speaker into the screen itself and you hear the sound directly from the picture as opposed to hearing it from behind, below or at the sides of the TV. While audiophiles will most likely get (or already have) their own sound system beast, consumers should be relatively happy with it. LG Display also have a similar system dubbed the ‘Crystal Sound’ prototype.
Amazon’s voice recognition software Alexa is seemingly making its way across a range of home appliances, turning them into voice-enabled gadgets. This can streamline consumer uses as well as improve productivity as it opens up a range of ideas one can potentially do. For example, putting Alexa in LG’s Smart InstaView refrigerators can let Alexa help you with grocery orders as well as just seeing what the weather report is. With LG Smart InstaView refrigerators, you can see what’s in each compartment through built-in cameras inside, and can even view this on your smart phone while out at the supermarket. The display is also transparent so you can disable it entirely and get an actual view of what’s behind the door. Otherwise you can also knock on the door to take a look inside. Alexa and webOS on LG refrigerators will only be available in the US, whereas the global model will have Windows 10 and Cortana.
While big touchscreens and being able to view inside the fridge through cameras have been out since last year, adding in a virtual assistant to fridges have just started to pop up.
Lenovo’s SmartAssistant speaker is powered by Alexa and is very similar to an Echo except the one without Harmon Kardon sound is cheaper than the Amazon Echo. The Lenovo Smart Assistant is priced at $129 and features eight 360-degree, far-field microphones with noise suppression/acoustic echo cancellation.