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CES 2012 Preview

This blog offers a preview of some products being introduced at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) being held this week (Jan. 10-13) in Las Vegas.  The products discussed below are limited to only those that have been announced in advance of the Tuesday (Jan. 10th) start of the show.  While CES traditionally is not the primary trade show for the introduction of new home theater oriented projectors (CEDIA in the USA and IFA in Europe are where most manufacturers introduce new home theater projectors), it is the premier trade show for the introduction of most other consumer electronics products.  This includes new flat panel HDTVs, Audio/Video Receiver, Speakers, etc., as well at computers, networks, smart phones, automotive electronics, and many electronic gadgets.  Art (from Projector Reviews) is attending the CES and will be reporting via Podcast (Info HERE and the Podcast site it HERE) on projector related (home theater or business) products being introduced at the show.

Industry Trends

Support for DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) as the vehicle for sharing media among various electronic devices within a consumer’s home is growing with more and more consumer products being introduced with support for DLNA.  More and more web-enabled devices are appearing with support for the many steaming video and audio services.  Also wireless audio and video distribution among consumer devices, both home theater A/V components as well and computer and mobile devices continues it growth among consumer products.  Also there are new Android Tablets being introduced at CES by several manufacturers using the new Tegra 3 quad core processor and running Android 4 (aka Ice Cream Sandwich) including some models (eg., with ~10 inch displays) that support full HD 1080p resolution (actually up to 1200 x 1920 pixels but with a 16 x 10 aspect ratio).

New Products

The following product information is derived from press releases from manufacturers that are exhibiting at CES. Most new products will only be announced at the official show opening on Tuesday, Jan. 10th.  Therefore this post, on Monday Jan. 9th., represents just a appetizer of what is come at CES 2012. What follows is a sampling of the information coming for CES exhibitors and is intended to highlight new products and new or evolving technologies that may be of interest to consumers with home theaters, but it is not focused on video projectors. LG is introducing a 55-inch (model EM9600) flat panel HDTV using OLED (organic LED) technology.  Current “LED” HDTV are simply LCD HDTVs that use conventional LEDs for a backlight.  However OLED is uses LEDs for create the TV image, and not just as a light source.  Previous consumer OLED products have been limited to very small displays used for handheld devices and a relatively small screen TV from Sony.  The new LG OLED model uses a display panel that is only 4mm thick (about 1/6 inch).  This new LG OLED HDTV represently the first large screen offering using this cutting-edge technology. Silicon Image is showcasing wired and wireless connectivity solutions.  Specifically, they have demo’s for HDMI® 1.4a port processors for DTV and home theater applications and WirelessHD® products delivering fully uncompressed 1080p/60Hz wireless A/V solutions. Wireless HD connectivity is an industry trend and the new chips from Silicon Image are expected to be incorporated by many manufacturers into their future products. Silicon Image, a leading provider of wireless and wired HD connectivity solutions, and Onkyo. a leading specialist in hi-fi and home theater, announced the world’s first line of Audio/Video Receivers (AVRs) featuring Silicon Image’s InstaPrevue™ technology and MHL™ (Mobile High-Definition Link) technology.  InstaPrevue technology provides the first-ever, live picture-in-picture preview of HDMI® and MHL inputs connected to the AVR, allowing users to view and select a live preview window to switch between their Blu-ray Disc™ player, DVD player, game console, or other HDMI or MHL-enabled connected devices. With InstaPrevue technology, consumers no longer need to cycle through inputs or navigate text-based menus (i.e., HDMI1, HDMI2, HDMI3, etc.) to switch between source devices. MHL technology is a rapidly growing HD audio/video connectivity standard that enables a mobile device to transmit 1080p uncompressed video with up to eight channels of digital audio over five pins, while also supporting HDCP content protection. MHL-enabled AVRs, such as those manufactured by Onkyo, provide power to the mobile device when connected via MHL, ensuring that the device battery is charged and ready to use even after viewing a full-length feature movie. Consumers are also able to control MHL-enabled mobile devices using the existing AVR remote. ACCESS CO., LTD, a global provider of advanced software technologies to the mobile, beyond-PC and digital TV markets, will be showcasing market-leading solutions for multi-screen DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) media sharing. Among the products being introduced by Access are:

ACCESS™MyTV is an open, multi-screen social video platform for connected devices, which allows for the monetization of free and premium web content, games and apps. The solution leverages the consumption of web video to create new revenue opportunities for content providers, consumer electronics device manufacturers and service providers. ACCESSMyTV creates deep consumer engagement and a viral marketing dynamic through the creation of personalized web video channels that can be shared with friends and family via social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. This deep consumer engagement in turn enables ACCESS MyTV to support highly targeted advertising.

NetFront™ Living Connect 2.3, the latest version of its DLNA Technology Component™ solution, enables device manufacturers and OEMs to quickly and efficiently implement services that support DLNA standards on consumer electronic devices and home networks. This new version of NetFront Living Connect includes DTCP-IP, which creates a secure channel to deliver protected content streaming, and supports OCAP (OpenCable Application Platform), the U.S. cable TV standard that cable companies have established for two-way communication on cable networks.

ACCESS™ MediaPilot is a software solution that enables seamless access, sharing and control of digital media between any local network connected device in a home network. With ACCESS MediaPilot users can share and control the movies, music and photos residing on their PC with their TV or iPad® and can view photos or videos stored on a digital camera or mobile phone on a TV, PC and iPad without having to hook up cables or copy files.

Nuance Communications Inc. “unveiled Dragon TV, a unique voice and natural language understanding platform for TV, device and set-top box OEMs and service operators. Dragon TV makes finding and accessing shows, movies and content in today’s digital living room easy and fun for consumers. Leveraging Nuance’s voice and natural language understanding capabilities, Dragon TV creates the “lean-back experience” consumers demand, with the ability to easily find content by speaking channel numbers, station names, show and movie names. People can even search for content by actor and genre, and stay connected via Twitter, Facebook and Skype.” Toshiba’s Digital Products Division announced  an all new level of 3D Smart TV for 2012. Featuring a full suite of new capabilities including ePortal, MediaGuide, Open Browser, SearchAll, MediaShare, Send & Play, eManual, Tablet Remote App Capability (TRAC), built-in Wi-Fi® and the dual core CQ Engine™, Toshiba is changing the Smart TV experience.  “Toshiba’s new Smart TVs should be called Genius TVs,” said Scott Ramirez, vice president of product marketing and development, Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., Digital Products Division. “Our 2012 premium 3D TVs make discovering, navigating and organizing content simple and provide new levels of interaction with network-connected PCs and tablets, making the promise of a truly smart house a reality.” Toshiba also announced its new MediaGuide content management system for the L6200 and L7200 Cinema Series Smart TVs. MediaGuide provides users with simple and intuitive access to a variety of media content and services, enhances the experience with rich metadata and even provides recommendations based on their interests.   “MediaGuide helps our customers discover and organize content from their cable or satellite provider, as well as online on-demand content, more easily and enjoyably than ever before.”  “Toshiba’s Smart TVs provide consumers with a wealth of multimedia content choices,” said Scott Ramirez, vice president of product marketing and development, Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., Digital Products Division. “MediaGuide helps our customers discover and organize content from their cable or satellite provider, as well as online on-demand content, more easily and enjoyably than ever before.” Universal Electronics Inc. announced that it has partnered with fabless semi-conductor company Ozmo Devices (Ozmo) to make available the company’s ultra-low power, low-cost Wi-Fi Direct technologies in UEI’s connected remote control platforms.   “Leveraging the ubiquitous Wi-Fi infrastructure and our current technology roadmap, we believe we have a strong market advantage compared to existing wireless remote control technologies like RF4CE and Bluetooth.”  In today’s connected homes, Wi-Fi has become the ubiquitous standard for Internet connectivity and is the de-facto connectivity solution across mobile, tablet, consumer electronics, and entertainment delivery platforms... Through this relationship, UEI and Ozmo plan to bring to market an end-to-end solution that leverages existing integrated Wi-Fi radios in connected devices bundled with a highly integrated, ultra-low-power, low-cost Wi-Fi Direct remote control that delivers reliable, interference-free performance and a long battery life. UEI’s Connected Remotes, with Wi-Fi Direct, provide seamless connectivity for a variety of Wi-Fi-enabled devices in the home allowing the remote to act as a traditional wireless controller using Wi-Fi’s non-line of sight capability while offering cost and performance benefits over other RF solutions.... UEI’s Connected Remote also brings a host of benefits to today’s connected consumers, where an estimated 70% of tablet users use their tablets while watching television. Through Wi-Fi Direct, UEI’s Connected Remotes will be able to wirelessly connect to tablets and add them to the control ecosystem, providing a simpler, more user-friendly TV viewing experience. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. introduced a new range of home theater systems with purer sounds and superior video experiences to delight any home entertainment enthusiast and audiophile. Highlighted products include:

Samsung’s 7.1 Channel Blu-ray 3D Home Theater System – the first home theater system that features Samsung’s proprietary vacuum tube amplifier technology that combines both vacuum tubes and a digital amplifier into one unit to create a powerful entertainment experience (model HT-E6730W).

Samsung’s Wireless 3D Blu-ray Home Theater System – a home theater hub that delivers superior surround sound and explosive video quality in full HD 1080p for a complete entertainment experience (model HT-E5500W).

Samsung’s Surround Sound Bar with 3D Depth Sound – a transformable sound bar speaker system that creates virtual surround sound with leading-edge audio technologies (model HW-E550

LG, Samsung, Sony and Vizio are expected to show new flat panel HDTVs that incorporated Google TV for web-based media. Panasonic has announced a partnership with Disney to bring interactive children's books to TVs using Panasonic's Viera Connect service.  Also Viera Connect support is being expanded to support moving media files between tablets, PC and TVs.  Panasonic also announced, with the assistance of Justin Timberlake, support for MySpaceTV, a video social network.  Panasonic also affirmed continued support for 3D with new 3DTVs, support for the DirecTV 3D service and support the 2012 summer Olympics broadcasts in 3D.

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