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In 2015 you will put goggles on and walk through virtual reality, blasting enemies. You will charge your phone four times faster. You will have more choices in earbuds than internet memes.
The Consumer Electronics Show is where we’re informed of all the new gadgets we will be spending our hard-earned cash each year. 2015 will give us bigger, faster, sexier; more power, more colors, higher resolution, automation, and more. It’s all here…or at least on the verge of being here.
4K to rule them all. 4K TV will be the big push as prices have already started dropping. Basically, you are getting double the detail of the TV that’s either hanging on your wall or sitting on a cabinet in your home. They look amazing and you can really see how fantastic the colors and responsive screens are getting. The detail is amazing as well. All the major brands: Samsung, LG, Panasonic, Sony, etc. were represented with huge showings of their 4K models. They come in curved, flat and transformer – models that actually bend from flat to curved. Though one has to keep in mind that this is CES and there is always a further horizon than the one your are peering into, so as you are pondering the purchase of a 4K TV keep in mind that Samsung, Panasonic and LG also had prototypes of 8K screens as well in huge 100+ inch models. There are TVs that size available now, but you are looking at price tags of $100,000. That’s a lot of screen just to watch “Friends.” Though 8K appears to be a ways off, 4K is as well. There is hardly any 4K content aside from hard drives loaded with movies costing a few hundred dollars and a few shows on Netflix. The good news is technology grows at exponential speeds, and it wouldn’t be surprising if by this time next year the market is flooded.
Speaking of which, Amazon, Netflix and other streaming services are all touting UHD (that’s 4K) content. At the moment, you can find some 4K streaming on Youtube and Netflix (“House of Cards” along with the “Breaking Bad” are streamable in the new hi-res). Also, keep in mind that you will be paying more for this content. Netflix has already announced higher subscription fees for access to it. You are also going to need more bandwidth. 4K is a lot of information to stream through your 10MB connection. You’ll want 25MB in the very least to get the most out of it. Panasonic had a 4K Blu-Ray prototype, though I am not sure how many people will purchase with all the streaming services coming on board and no solid release date for the player according to Panasonic reps.
A large part of the show is filled with headphones and earbuds. An annoying amount, actually. One that did stand out is Wicked Audio, a local company. They had a good space set up near the GoPro booth and tout an algorithm to improve the sound of your lame MP3s, but there’s a lot of competition from Monster, Skullcandy, Sennheiser, Bose and so many others it would make your head spin…or ears explode. One thing about the future: it will not be without ways to listen to music.
The auto industry also came out swinging with automation and synching. There will be more ways to interact with your car than your significant other. Mercedes-Benz had their concept car, F 015, which is driverless and looks more like a futuristic tea shop on the inside (hardwood floors and four chairs that face each other) than driving excitement. It looks a lot like the cars from Spielberg’s “Minority Report.” Cool concept, but we have a hard time seeing this on the list of models to make the 2016 cut. Toyota introduced blue (keep in mind that blue is the new green) technology by revealing its hydrogen fuel cell patents. Audi had the most impressive booth featuring its driverless car that drove to the show from San Fransisco without an actual driver. A passenger did keep the car occupied on the trip, though.
Charging your battery in whatever form they come in is a big deal. No one wants to get stranded on a desert island without Instagram access once your power source perishes. If you travel or are frustrated with the battery life of your phone they are many solutions. There is even an Utah-based company that makes camping cooking pots you can plug your phone into for charging. You will never be without your HBO Go anywhere – ever again.
Every year things get more interesting and 2015 should be no exception. The catch is, if you want to keep up, it won’t be cheap.