After more than 6 years, finally the CE industry is going towards the right goal. Which is quality.
For the past 6 years or so, the goals in the audio video industry have been lowering cost (bad business model even a 5-year-old knows) or “bigger and more” in terms of quantity of features and larger sizes of everything. It truly an approach waiting for disaster. How can you add more stuff yet at the same time cutting your price? All at the same time where the cost of everything goes up. Where did these companies hire those genius from?
Finally the industry seems to wake up from the idiocy and go back concentrating on the only thing that matters: quality. Taking the positive side of global economic turmoil, these companies are now fighting to give the best quality money can buy unlike the ’80s where quality were done with money is no object.
Here in lies the excitement! High quality with decent pricing!
Sony re-vamped their Triluminos strategy not only involving the Triluminos displays but also Triluminos Colour Space (previously called but never applied “Deep Colour”) with backwards compatibility with regular blu-ray players. “Superbit” version of blu-ray discs (oddly called “Mastered in 4K”) with the plan of HD movies that are now have been released on a 25 GB discs with trailers and special features will be released as a 50 GB barebones / movie-only release so not only they can be presented at the maximum datarate possible, but as a side effect of the higher data content, the upscaler on your shiny new 4K TV will have more data to process making the upscaled 4K movies to be theoretically indistinguishable to a native 4K when viewed at 2x screen width.
Sony also re-introducing speaker cabinets for their TVs so they no longer sound like junk and forcing people to buy a separate soundbar. Balanced Optical Image Stabilizer for their Handycam is a marriage between the traditional OIS with a gyroscope resulting in a video image almost equal to a camcorder strapped to a Glidecam. One Touch bluetooth handshake system that will work within the entire Sony ecosystem.
No, none of them are new technology, but they are a bunch of refinements of current and old technologies that make people want to use them.
Hardly anybody talk about SmartTV albeit there is a SmartTV Alliance formed with members such as LG and Panasonic, et al… And that’s a good thing. Let a PC be a PC, let a TV be a TV.
Outside Sony, Samsung releases a TV line with a promised / guarantee that ensures 100% screen uniformity and individually calibrated TV out of the box. Yes it’s going to cost more than their 2nd tier TVs + the cost of professional calibration, but at least the option to buy a consumer level TV with Delta-E<3 is now a reality. That is a broadcast-accuracy display, readers!
Panasonic releases a Reference TV called the ZT series using the single-sheet-filter (currently unnamed) designed by literally the same guys that brought you the de-facto-standard Pioneer Elite Kuro, but now in 3D, 3,000 Hz ffd (Kuro was 920 Hz), consumes 60% less electricity and costs only $4,000 for a 60"-er. Not cheap, but don't forget a 60" Kuro used to cost double that.
Even headphones such as Urban Ears produces more than decent sound for my picky ears for $130 MSRP, something that couldn't be done even two years ago at $500. PSB combined active noise cancelling headphones with the option to use it as a passive studio monitor for $400. Bose was king with its Quiet Comfort for $350, but the the PSB with its dual-duty, far better construction and sound quality is worth more than triple its price.
I like where everything seems to be going… For the first time in too long of a time, I'm looking forward to CES 2014.
I guess the Mayans were right. 2013 is the end of the (CE) world as we know it. Welcome to the new world.
David Susilo, PhD
THX, ISF, Control4 Certified Professional; CEDIA Trainer; HAA and CEA Member
Editor, Reviewer, and Contributor for QAV TED publication, AUVI Indonesia and DownUnder Audio
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