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Audio News for January 8, 2016

CES First Day Summary – Mercedes-Benz showed their updated E-Class digital dashboard electronics for cars, and virtual reality was all over the place. Nikon’s Project HeliX dome (which had been a big hit at the last CES) had Nikon cameras creating a 360-degree view, and you could get a cool VR prespective at the CNET stage, if you had a Google Cardboard or Samsung Gear VR headset. The OculusRift demo took over an hour in line to experience. You could take a VR tour of CES. VR is going to be very big this year. The Crosley booth and several others had hundreds of vinyl records on hand. 3D printing was strong – you could even print a cake or other foods. LG introduced their dual-sided OLED video wall which was described as absolutely mind-bending. Samsung’s presentation said the Internet of Things is here. Garmin says no to touchscreens and yes to old-fashioned knobs. The lines waiting for coffee and cabs were ridiculous.

OLED UHD Displays – At the CES in Las Vegas, Dell unwrapped its first OLED panel – the UltaSharp 30-inch UP3017Q can display 1.07 billion colors and has a 400,000:1 contrast ratio. It uses the same color space as used in digital cinema today. OLEDs create their own lighting, so they can be smaller and thinner and still offer superb black and contrast levels. It is aimed mostly toward professionals and costs about $5000. 2016 is going to be the year of the OLED laptop display. Lenovo showed one. The hybrids are primarily laptops, but turn into tablets after folding the attached keyboard. Prices will ultimately fall as demand and production increase. OLED is widely considered as the successor to LCD technology, but the cost of PCs with OLED panels is currently two times higher than LCD panels. They may be worth it when watching a movie or playing a game but not with surfing the Web. OLED also draws more power as it shows brighter colors and images. LCD won’t go away for many years.

Pioneer Has OLED Displays and Automotive Laser at CES – Pioneer is demonstrating its Laser Head-up Diplay, 3D Light Detection and Ranging systems for vehicles. They are bringing their aftermarket and automotive OEM solutions together. Their cutting-edge technologies will fit into the market for automated driving and increased driver safety. They are showing an In-Vehicle Contextual Awareness Cockpit simulated driving demonstration. It includes an Auditory User Interface (AUI).

Industry Efforts at Promoting Hi-Res at CES – Industry efforts to expand awareness of hi-res (HRA) have shifted into high gear. New products being displayed include hi-res streamers, DACs, a two-channel receiver, new portables, wireless home theater, and more selection of hi-res car audio in-dash head units. There are hi-res portables from Astell & Kern, Sony, Pioneer and Onkyo and a new Mytek DAC-headphone amp.

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