Freddy Cloud

Frederick (“Freddy”) Cloud has had a passion for all things electronic since he “accidently” caused the class Commodore PET to malfunction in 8th grade.

“I swear. I didn’t do it on purpose” He was quoted as saying to a very unhappy computer teacher…

Read his full bio

Going against the curve

So another CES has come and gone, and in its wake lies me recovering from achy feet and gadget overload. I’m planning on doing more “What I saw at CES” posts, but this first one is going to focus on what I saw regarding televisions that stood out to me. Needless to say, there were PLENTY of televisions being shown at CES, and I want to say that the theme of this CES, as far as televisions, was what the manufacturers can do to make us want a new one in 2014. 3-D apparently wasn’t the motivator they wanted it to be (and it wasn’t very present at the show). And to my mind the answer to that question is three fold; make them smarter, make the picture prettier, and something I wasn’t expecting … curve them.

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If you’ve looked at purchasing a television within the last, oh let’s say 3 years, you’ve noticed a lot of manufacturers advertising “Smart TV’s”. They do things like let you stream Netflix, they make suggestions to you based on your viewing habits, you can talk to them instead of using a remote, the remotes have included motion tracking … everything to make your viewing experience that much easier. So with everyone making televisions “smarter”, differentiation is the name of the game. LG has gone and used WebOS to make their newer lines of televisions “smarter” and more user-friendly. The interface I’d categorize as interesting, but the presentation left quite a bit to be desired. A little too goofy for my taste, but again, of all the smart TV interfaces I saw at the show, this one stood out the most. Oh, for those of you who don’t know, WebOS was Palm’s (yeah, as in Palm Pilot) last stab at making a smartphone. The Palm Pre launched back in 2009, and I was in love. Unfortunately it couldn’t stand up to the storm that is Android and iOS, and ended up being sold to HP. How it ended up with LG I’m sure is an interesting story, but we have other things to discuss.

IMG_0037Remember when I talked about 4K TV’s back in this post? 4K (or Ultra HD, as some manufacturers were calling it) was at CES in force. EVERYONE had a UHD television to show, in all manner of sizes. The one I’m hearing stole the show was the one I didn’t see; Vizio. Yeah, you heard me … not Sony, not Samsung, not LG … but Vizio. From what I’ve been reading their new Reference series is going to be the one to look for when it comes out later this year. That being said, it’s still going to be a tough sell.  There was one manufacturer who had a display with their 4K TV sitting over their newest 1080P (or just plain `ol regular HD) television, and needless to say the 4K TV did look better than the other, but my position on it still stands. One, they are still more expensive than their HD counterparts. Two, it’s OK to be more expensive if the 4K televisions blew the regular HD televisions out of the water, but as of now the I’m sure most people won’t feel as though the level of improvement justifies the price increase, although some of the nicer options (better color processing, better speakers, more LED’s, etc.) will be on the 4K televisions and not necessarily on the regular HD ones.  Third, content. What I was hearing at CES was that initially 4K content is going to be available and delivered by the Internet-based sources, like Netflix and Amazon. You’re going to have to have one hell of an Internet connection to take advantage of it, though. With prices going down, people will be tempted to pick one up. But I’d advise waiting a while longer. That being said, I’d pick up a 4K TV before I’d pick up one with the latest innovation in entertainment.

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When you go to a movie theater, more than likely the screen you’re looking at has a curve to it. Why? So that everyone in the movie theater feels enveloped in the action that’s on the screen no matter where they’re sitting. So logically (?), people would want the same in their home, right? I’m going to say no. More specifically, curving a screen is not going to make someone want to purchase a television. A movie screen can be 30 feet tall by 70 feet wide, so yeah, you can curve it without worrying about things like off-axis viewing or distortion. On a 55 – 65 inch TV? If you’re sitting in the center, it’s going to be pretty cool. Off to the side? Yeah … not good. Of course, you could get the Samsung one that’s about 110 inches and will cost quite a few pennies. The price you pay for having the coolest TV on the block.

There was SO much to see at CES, not just televisions. I don’t think I saw more than a third of the stuff that was spread across Las Vegas. More posts to come … probably not as long as this one. But no promises …

Talk to you soon!

Freddy C.

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