8 gadgets that will furnish the modern home
This year’s International Consumer Electronics Show boasted some truly revolutionary products that, until less than a few years ago, seemed more fit to be in a sci-fi movie than in your own living room. Here are some of the best of CES 2013, coming soon to a home near you.
Ultra-HD TVs–Sony 4K TVs and the new 4K Standard
Gone are the days that having a top-of-the-line TV meant owning one that had a 1080p picture quality. What is perhaps the biggest topic of CES this year was the new 4K standard in home entertainment.
To give you a clue about the picture quality of these displays–a 4K TV has about 4,000 pixels on its screen horizontally, almost four times as much in comparison to the 1080 pixels on most HDTVs today.
The downside of the higher quality is the steep price–about $20-30,000 for Sony and LG versions, with Westinghouse boasting the priciest of the bunch at $299,999.99 for a 110″ 4K TV. The lack of readily available content to stream also poses a problem, as most films and TV shows are not shot by 4K cameras, or are currently mastered for 1080p.
Sony, who debuted their 4K TVs and projectors at last year’s show, previewed a new Ultra HD media player in order to alleviate the lack of super high definition content for such avant-garde displays.
Sony’s 4K media player supports content shot with 4K cameras and newer releases that were mastered in 4K during postproduction, such as Skyfall or The Amazing Spider-Man. Films and TV shows shot with analog film are also open to 4K remastering, as the quality of 4K is equivalent to a pristine copy of a 35mm film print.
Panasonic 20-inch 4K Windows 8 tablet
The engineers at Panasonic were not ones to stay in the shadows of 4K TVs. In their CES 2013 keynote, the company announced a new Windows 8-based tablet device rocking a 20-inch screen packed with a 4K resolution at 231ppi. Aimed at professional photographers for field use, the tablet is less than half an inch thick and comes with pen stylus input.
Slingbox My Media Service
Slingbox came out with a new perk for Slingbox 500 owners with their My Media service, which lets customers transfer photos and videos from any external hard drive and watch them directly on their TV screen.
SlingSync, one of the features of My Media, also doubles as cloud storage and allows Slingbox 500 customers to archive photos and videos onto another USB drive to create more space on their smartphone or digital camera. A SlingPlayer app on a smartphone allows automatic syncing whenever the smartphone is on the same local network.
My Media features will be delivered via firmware and software updates to both Slingbox 500 and SlingPlayer software for iOS and Android smartphones in the coming weeks.
Belkin AC1800 & AC750 Routers
Belkin, one of the trusted companies for home networks, announced two new routers that have the ability to prioritize data streams. The AC1800 and AC750 sports 802.11ac, IntelliStream technology that prioritizes video and gaming streams, and a MediaPlay app for pushing content to TVs. Both devices also feature Smart Start which allows for quick setup with a mobile device and USB ports for added connections.
The only difference between both products is the speed–the AC1800 can go up to 300Mbps on 2.4GHz and 1.3Gbps on 5GHz, while the AC750 goes up to 300Mbps on 2.4GHz and 433Mbps on 5GHz.
Amped Wireless 2013-era super range wifi
Get ready to get wifi everywhere you go–Amped Wireless, known for their super-wifi products, announced a few new products for their 2013 lineup: the RTA15, a high-power dual-band AC 700mW Wi-Fi router; the REA20, a high-power dual-band AC 700mW Wi-Fi range extender; the ACA1 high-power dual-band AC Wi-Fi USB adapter; and the SB2000, a high-power dual-band Wi-Fi signal booster for boosting Wi-Fi signals by replacing the antenna from existing certified dual-band Wi-Fi devices.
Coming as a complete surprise to CES attendees, the new Nvidia Shield handheld console, powered by the company’s new Tegra 4 chip, took the conference by a storm. The device, fitted with a 720p display, is an Android gaming powerhouse that is set to shake the mobile gaming market.
Nvidia plans to skip establishing their own gaming ecosystem by harnessing the power of the Android Play Store. The presence of already well-known games, most of which include controller support via Bluetooth or wires, gives the Nvidia Shield an advantage neither the Sony nor Nintendo had with their mobile gaming systems. Since Androids account for 75% of smartphone shipments, there is no question that there will be a steady stream of potential Nvidia Shield buyers.
Samsung Wireless Speakers
Samsung continues their venture into the portable speaker system niche with the DA-F60. The DA-F60 uses the higher-quality apt-X codec for wireless streaming over Bluetooth, and features NFC for painless phone-to-speaker syncing.
Samsung also attempts to take a jab at Apple’s Airplay by offering “SoundShare,” a feature that allows the speaker to connect to Bluetooth-enabled TVs.
The Samsung T9000 Refrigerator
Think your touchscreen fridge is the end-all, be-all in high-tech home appliances? Think again. Samsung’s new T9000 model has a larger screen and an improved app selection, including EverNote integration for all your grocery list needs. It is expected to launch in spring 2013 for around $4000–just in time for Mother’s Day.
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