Hi-Res Audio Has a Ways to Go in Retail – One of the panels at CES was titled “Hi-Res Audio: The Retail Perspective.” While one of the four retailers on the panel was effusive about selling higher-quality digital sound to wealthy audiophiles in Silicon Valley, the others detailed the many obstacles they faced. Many in the hi-res world are speaking Greek to ordinary consumers, overwhelming them with jargon. There is much confusion about what hi-res audio really is and why people should buy it. They said it won’t really happen until Amazon and iTunes offer hi-res audio to their gigantic global customer bases. Everyone in the the music ecosystem, including artists, have to push for higher-quality sound. All felt that in-store events and demonstrations could best help nurture the new sound formats. One said that all elements of the industry came together to push the superior-to-1080p video format of “4K”, and they hope the same thing will happen for hi-res audio.
Evolution of the Smart Home – There is now a chaos of compteting DIY smart-home platforms, protocols, wireless standards and vendors, so it’s no wonder home-owners are confused. But a panel at last week’s CES agreed that the primary human need attracting consumers to the smart home is security – and not just personal security, but also protecting all the consumer data too. They also agreed that the four pillars of DIY smart-home solutions were security, entertainment, energy and health. And the emphasis changes depending on where one lives; for example in Europe energy management is a close second to security. They agreed that the consumer is overwhelmed, and hope that some consortium will solve the interoperability issue.
New Partners for LG WebOS TVs – At CES LG Electronics announced new partners for its WebOS 2.0 smart-TV platform. New alliances with DirecTV, Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, GoPro, HSN, Showtime, Drama Fever and iHeartRadio will deliver more streaming content and UHD viewing options to those who purchase LG’s 2015 step-up TVs. LG customers will receive a wide variety of UHD content from several of the providers, the GoPro channel will present their best user-generated content and original productions, and the IHeartRadio digital audio service will deliver music options to LG smart TVs starting this month. Users will stream thousands of live radio stations with the click of a remote.
Sharp Goes Beyond 4K with Split Pixels – The firm plans to quadruple the number of UHD TVs in its line and have a new flagship model offering proprietary pixel-splitting technology to derive the highest resolution UHD images yet. The Aquos 4K UHD TV will use similar technology to that in its Q+ line of FullHD TVs last year, plus Sharp’s four-pixel-color Quattron technology, used for the first time in a UHD LED LCD panel.