CES 2017 is over, but the products unveiled there could be impactful as the year goes on when they launch to market. Given the size of the show, this can’t be an exhaustive list, so here are some of the standouts that may pique your interest.
We’re not talking conceptual stuff here, like the kind of gadgets or ideas that tech companies display to show what’s possible. These are the real deal with commitments to come out to retail this year.
No one company stands out here. It’s really a matter of preference and taste, since the big manufacturers — Samsung, LG and Sony — are launching TVs that are ridiculously thin with HDR (High Dynamic Range) support and improved smart TV interfaces. It’s hard to do all this justice in a blurb, but the advent of HDR and real flexibility with mounting options means this may be the best year to buy a TV since 4K first came out.
LG has an impossibly thin OLED TV, with Sony calling its own shot with an equally impressive duo of OLED TVs. Samsung’s new QLED TV is so thin that a single cable is the only thing protruding out of it in the back, connecting to a small box that has all the ports, making it easier to mount the TV and connect all components.
Picture quality is improved, of course, but it’s largely because of HDR on all sides. Unlike 4K, which is more obvious on larger displays, HDR is evident on any size screen because of how highlights, shadows and colours look more lifelike.
Sticking with the TV theme here, Tablo will have two new devices in the Droid and Live. The Droid connects directly to the Nvidia Shield and works with the Tablo Droid DVR app to bring live TV and recording to the Shield. Basically, it’s like using a Tablo set top box, only with the Shield instead, though you would need a digital antenna to connect to the other side of the dongle. Recordings are saved to the Shield’s internal storage or to a separate USB-connected drive.
The Live is interesting because it liberates where you can place your digital antenna. If the TV is in the basement, yet the signal is best from a bedroom upstairs, the Live dongle can be plugged in to the antenna there and wirelessly stream the signal to Tablo apps within the home.
The HD 1 In-Ear Wireless Black are nice because they bring the legacy of the excellent Momentum line of headphones to a wireless pair that don’t need to be tethered to a device. Audio quality sounded great, despite being in a busy hall at the show, and these should be among the best in their class for 2017.
More intriguing is the Ambeo Smart Surround, a pair of earbuds that double as stereo microphones to capture all ambient noise around you. You might wonder what for, but comparing the sound these capture with the standard mic of a smartphone is a world of a difference. A simple stroll through a hotel lobby in Las Vegas wearing these picks up incredibly lifelike sounds that appear and disappear based on where the subject is. For example, if I wore these while recording video, and passed by a water fountain on my right, the water noise would come through on the right earbud and fade away as I walked by it in the video.
The implications for this are numerous when you consider how they can affect sound recording of a live band at a bar, or just walking through a crowded area on vacation.
If you’re familiar with the “sous vide” (pronounced “sue veed”) style of cooking, then you know it’s one of the secrets high-end restaurants have used to cook to a desired temperature. Anova has made this process easy to do at home with its sous vide devices, including the latest called the Nano. Basically, you put your food (could be a steak, chicken breast, whatever) into a ziplock bag, attach it to the device and let the bag cook for a longer period (could be 45 minutes) to a set temperature.
There is an app element to this in that instructions on how to best cook a certain type of food, when it’s ready and other useful information is always available. The fact you don’t need to be a chef or really know how to cook at all makes this applicable to anyone.
Sevenhugs Smart Remote
Universal remotes have simplified the home theatre experience, but what about smart home? This Smart Remote is essentially the same idea, only implemented in a wider context to function with various smart home devices. It uses Sevenhugs’ own indoor positioning system to triangulate the remote’s location, so that when it’s pointed at a device, it knows what you’re pointing at. Currently, there are 25,000 different devices supported, so it can control a Sonos speaker, Roku, Apple TV, Philips Hue lights, and much more.
Sony Xperia Projector
Think of this as an Android device that doubles as a projector. Sony has made this capable of projecting an image onto a table, wall or ceiling. This is a “short throw” projector, so it is better the closer it is to where it’s projecting, but it includes sensors that make the display touch-sensitive and interactive up to 23-inches. Pushing it beyond that up to 80-inches limits it to viewing only.
Sony figures this is one way to make content social within a group of people in one place. Rather than crowd around someone’s own device, it can be displayed for everyone on a tabletop or wall. Naturally, it works better in the dark, and it won’t be as sharp as a tablet or phone display, but the flexibility and input is still pretty cool.
Withings Hair Coach
I’ve already done a post on this unique item, but it bears repeating here because of how specific its focus is. The gist is that it’s a hairbrush with sensors amidst the bristles to measure the health of your locks and guide you to managing healthier hair. This is a collaboration between Withings, L’Oreal and Kerastase, and is expected to come out later this year.