Click through for photos from the White House premiere of Lifetime's The Road to Bountiful, the party for the season-four return of IFC's Portlandia and more events for the week of March 10.
2012 International CES Musings, Part Two
Things were just starting to sizzle at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show when last week’s edition went to press, so here’s a part two on overall observations.When one returns from CES - any CES - the first thing people ask is: “What was the coolest thing you saw?”
This year, the technology food chain is fragmenting, and each fragment is furiously chasing innovation. That means no one big, big thing at this year’s CES (like tablets were last year, and 3D the year before that and HD a few years before that).
Not to worry. There are always ways to clump the trends at CES. Here goes.
Most interesting industry development: Sling Media’s technology inside the Broadcom 7425 chip. Think about this. Sling, on-chip. Chip with Sling, inside set-top boxes (and who knows what else) later this year. To activate the chip, pay a license fee (to EchoStar) for the APIs to access the secret Sling sauce from an app.
Suddenly, that tedious (and wide) legal gap between copyright negotiations and out-of-home video streaming is a little more interesting.
Most lustful, you-so-want-it thing: OLED (organic light-emitting diode) and 4K screens. Remember the first time you saw HDTV? At the time, and compared to analog and standard definition, it seemed better than the eyes could see. And this is better than that. It’s like having an IMAX screen in your house.
Video and television engineers note that for the first time ever in the history of television, TV screens can display more picture information than can be rationally fed into them. In the early days of digital, and even HDTV, extra bits regularly “fell on the floor.” Not so anymore.
OLEDs are still unrealistically expensive - one vendor took a hunch at a sticker price of “under $10,000″ - and 4K for households is even further out, in availability and mainstream pricing.
Still. HDTVs first hit CES in 1998. Mainstream came about five years later. And compared to today’s most gorgeous HDTVs, OLED is thinner, sharper, prettier, lighter and more frugal with power.
(Bandwidth is another issue. Even when compressed with MPEG-4/AVC, 4K video chews up 17 Mbps. Daunting, even for the industry with the coaxial wires.)
Thing I didn’t know existed but want: The Zefyr2 cooler from Moshi. If you spend a lot of time on a MacBook of any size, you know how hot it gets. I use rectangles cut from a silicone potholder, as a heat barrier between the Mac and the heels of my hands.
Crazy other stuff that showed up at this year’s CES: LG’s “Blast Chiller,” a refrigeration innovation. Cools a can of beer from room temperature to frosty mug in five minutes. Bottle of white? Eight minutes.
Speaking of things that go with wine: The QooQ tablet, a slip-proof, spill-proof, single-purpose culinary tablet that can withstand heat up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit (but why?). It is French, which should give some guidance on how to pronounced “QooQ.” (Hint: Say “cook” with a French accent.)
Stumped by gibberish? Visit Leslie Ellis at translationplease.com or multichannel.com/blog.