My Impressions of CES 2013

Posted in Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, Players, Technology on January 9th, 2013 by Dave

While CES 2013 is going on for another couple of days, I figured I would use my time at the Las Vegas Airport to summarize my observations.

There are a few hot topics this year, including some close to my heart.

One such topic is high resolution, and pretty much all the majors were addressing this in one form or another.

Whether you are talking 4K (4096×2160) or UHD TV (3840×2160), the ’4K’ label was being applied liberally.

Big names including JVC, Sony and Panasonic were promoting 4K capture in consumer or pro-sumer camera systems.

Even the latest GoPro Hero 3 is capable of delivering 4K, albeit at a less than desirable frame rate.

Displays were everywhere too, including screens in the 84 – 85 inch range from Sony, Samsung, LG and Panasonic.

4K TabletSony and Panasonic were both showing early versions of OLED screens at 4K with a 56 inch diagonal, and Panasonic had prototypes of a 20.4″ 4K screen – in a massive high resolution Windows 8 tablet!

The big question though is perhaps the most pertinent to Blu-ray lovers – how is the content going to be delivered?

So far there has not been a lot of information available, though if you buy the Sony 84″ LCD you will get a ‘free’ 4K media server included with 7-8 4K movies on board.

In order to add new content, there will reportedly be a service available in the summer time frame, though it is not clear what it might be.

I have heard rumours of special Blu-ray data discs with the 4K content on them, or even content delivery in non-real time via a fast net connection.

Either way it will be the media server that plays back the content – no packaged media per se seems to be on the horizon.

Sony does however plan to launch a range of regular Blu-ray discs that are certified as ‘Mastered in 4K’.

While they will be 1080p discs, the high quality of the mastering chain means that this label would be akin to the THX certified DVDs or Superbit CDs.

Blu-ray players are evolving also, with many offering new features, mainly in the ‘smart’ or ‘connected’ category.

Panasonic and LG are talking about Miracast, where your tablet or smart phone could connect to the player via WiFi and playback videos and pictures to the big screen via the connection.

Samsung Blu-rayThe likes of Samsung and Panasonic are also including the smart features of their latest TVs into their new Blu-ray players, so that users can enjoy the same streaming and content searching that the TVs offer, with the less expensive Blu-ray player upgrade.

A number of vendors also have 4K upscaling included in their top of the line Blu-ray players.

Another topic that is getting a lot of attention is the second screen, where it has been recognised that viewers are increasingly using a smart phone or tablet while watching TV and movies.

Sometimes it is related content and sometimes unrelated, though the content providers are increasingly looking for ways to enhance the second screen with a view to enriching the overall experience or monetize it.

Something else that I have noticed is that the scope of my blog has become too narrow, and while I will continue to talk about Blu-ray on this site, I will likely start a new site soon that discusses a wider range of interesting technology… so stay tuned!

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