CES 2017 Show Report Day 2 Coverage
I started my first day at CES 2017 at the convention center. No matter how many times I come to this show, the sheer volume of visitors is overwhelming. There is no sense of personal space here and moving through the thick crowds takes patience and perseverance. I heard several estimates yesterday that show attendance was expected to be over 175K people.
This beautiful OLED is the LG Signature W7. The display is even thinner than last year’s Signature G6 which was marketed as “picture on glass”. The new W7 is 2.5 mm thick and is marketed as “picture on wallpaper”. The display is strictly wall mount and a thin ribbon cable connects the OLED panel to the sound bar below. The sound bar contains all the electronics for the W7 and also supports Dolby Atmos. Hidden behind retractable panels are two up-firing height channel speakers which rise up from the sound bar to handle the overhead effects. As usual at CES, no price was offered for the W7 at the show, but the new model will be brighter than last year’s G6. It will be available in a 65″ and 77″ model. The new model will offer “Active HDR” mode which enhances each frame, including HDR10- and HLG-encoded broadcast content.
Here’s another look at the LG Signature W7. You can see the height speakers extended from the sound bar base. LG used glass walls to showcase the W7. Imagine a regular wall under normal installation unless you happen to live in a glass house.
LG was also showing their nano cell display technology. This is an LCD display technology which uses 1 nanometer cells to absorb unwanted light and reduce color fade. LG explained that this was an improvement over quantum dot displays since the nano cell technology is built directly onto the LCD cell layer and is not placed behind it. The demo units at the show definitely had greatly improved viewing angles and consistent color when viewed from the side. This technology will be available on the Super UHD sets from LG such as the SJ8000, SJ8500 and SJ9500. No word on price or availability.
Samsung of course had their answer to the best in display technology with their QLED displays. These beautiful sets use a new alloy for their nano-sized quantum dots. Samsung was showing how the result is gorgeous color which provides improved color accuracy without fading when the set it viewed at an angle. This is the same type of improvement that LG was showing with their nano-cell technology.
Here’s another look at the Samsung QLED sets from an angle.
Samsung was also showing off their own solution for mounting the QLED sets to the wall without messy cables or bulky brackets. In this demonstration, the electronics for the QLED display are placed away in a cabinet with only a 1.8 mm transparent optical cable connecting the display. Samsung says the cable can be up to 49 ft. long and it can transmit 4K content without image loss or buffering. The new mount has a 0 mm gap so the QLED display sits flat on the wall. The mount also allows the display to be tilted up to 10 degrees. The new mount is also easier to install. In case you are wondering about the white line below the QLED display, Samsung was using white LEDs to highlight a channel in the display wall so the cable could be easily seen.
We normally don’t see high end audio displays at the convention center, but since Samsung is purchasing Harman, there was a small display in the huge Samsung booth showcasing the Harman brands.
Samsung was also showing these framed displays which double as both works of art and televisions. Can you tell which two are the TVs? My camera was quick enough to capture one of the panels refreshing. In person, these looked great and they are a clever concept for displaying something other than a black screen when the TV is off.
Here’s another look at the Samsung QLED color reproduction. In the left corner is a diorama of an artist studio. A 4K camera was sending an image of the studio to both a QLED display (top) and a conventional LCD display (bottom). The QLED definitely had a much wider range of colors and was much more vibrant. The colors didn’t fully match the diorama, but they were significantly improved over the conventional display.
Samsung was showcasing that their new QLED sets would support HDR content, including Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG), for live broadcast content from DIRECTV.
Here’s another perspective on the crowds. This big group of people were all huddled around the GoPro booth. They were occasionally chanting “GoPro” at the top of their lungs. Very loud but quite fun.
Tucked away at the high-res audio pavilion was an interesting proof of concept from the team at DTS. They were showing a concept for a car radio that would offer hi-res content from local radio stations. If you liked a song, the option to listen to similar songs in high resolution became available. The content would be streamed from the radio station’s content library. Very cool. I wonder if we will see this integrated into the DTS Play-Fi system in the future.
Carlo had posted some picks on the Technics gear on display at the convention center. I couldn’t help notice the tranquility of their booth at the show. It appeared like an “Apple Store” amidst the chaos of the show floor.
I started my second day of coverage visiting the Emotiva suites at the Venetian along with Secrets’ Senior Writer Carlo Lo Rosa and our Managing Editor Cynthia Johnson-St. Denis. We had the pleasure of having a guided tour of the Emotiva products from Dan Laufman, president of Emotiva. Be sure to check out Carlo’s videos of Dan’s tour.
Here’s a look at the Emotiva BasX product suite. The BasX products are a great value and offer some exceptional sound quality for the dollar
A few more supporting photos of the LG 77″ W 7 series OLED display. The the retractable height speakers on the soundbar were indeed cool looking.
Jumping off of Robert’s post, here is a quick video I took of a rotating display of LG’s new W 7 series OLED sets. This should help give you an idea of how thin these panels actually are.
And here’s one more quick video to show you how thin the new LG OLED W7 series truly is.
Some stunning widescreen computer monitors from LG including a gorgeous 5K display. A number of them can properly display 99% of the sRGB color range.
A few more pictures from the Samsung booth to go along with Robert’s earlier post. in particular, notice how crazy thin the proprietary connector cable that goes from the electronics/soundbar box to the actual display is.
A gorgeous 8K display from Samsung with my home town pictured on it! Think that 8K is too far out there to be thinking about/ The HDMI Forum just announced the specifications for HDMI 2.1 which includes bandwidth for 8K60 transmission.
Chinese electronics manufacturer LeEco, while well known in their home market, is new to the US. Among the many products that they offer were some compelling display designs including the 85″ uMax85, the 65″ Super4 X65, the 55″ Super4 X55 and the 43″ Super4 X43PRO. All are 4K UHD LED displays that support HDR 10. The 55″ and 65″ models have sound systems tuned by Harman Kardon and the 85″ model adds Dolby Vision HDR support, 448 active LED dimming zones and 64GB of internal storage space.
Optoma had a couple of interesting projector models on display. One was a prototype short throw 4K UHD laser projector that threw up to a 120″ image. The projector is HDR 10 compatible and availability and price was TBD. The other was the UHD-60 4K UHD lamp based projector. It also supports HDR 10, can throw up to a 140″ image and is expected to sell for $3000.00 in late Q2.
This is a closeup of the Emotiva BasX MC700 processor and the BasX A-5125 power amp. The MC700 supports up to 7.1 channels, includes six HDMI 2.0 HDCP 2.2 inputs, and supports 4K UHD and HDR. The new A-5125 amplifier provides five channels at 125 watts/channel. A look at the build quality of the A-5125 illustrates why the BasX products are an exceptional value. The first shipment of the MC700 is already sold out and Emotiva is taking reservations for their January shipment.
Emotiva BasX MC-700 processor
Airmotiv S12 sub
Emotiva RMC-1 guts
Dan Laufman giving us an Emotiva room tour
Rob Sample doing his thing in the Paradigm/Anthem room
Paradigm demo time!
Devin Zell gave us the low down on MartinLogan outdoor speakers.
HiFiMAN twins, Carlo and Robert
The early bird gets the worm…or a demo with Sony’s virtual reality headset.
I got to the Sony booth extra early today to avoid the long line for the demo of their Playstation compatible headset. While V/R headsets are nothing new for gaming, I’m excited about the idea of virtual reality being used to enhance Home theater concert performances. Sony is stepping up their partnership with music distributors to release more virtual reality concerts for their system. Their headset (which is compatible with all Playstation 4 consoles) is easily the most comfortable and versatile one I’ve seen yet. It’s the only set that you can wear eyeglasses with and is compatible with whatever surround sound headphones you want to use. The demo I had placed me in the middle of a music studio with a violin player in front of me and a piano player to my side. They use a recording technique which allows for fully 3D audio immersion. You not only hear sounds around you in 360 degrees, you also hear sounds from above and below you. I felt as if I was smack dab in the middle of the studio. It was very cool and I can’t wait to see more content. We’re that much closer to having the concert REALLY come into your living room! It’s already available and retails for $399.
Panasonic had an interesting exhibit displaying a transparent film that allows you to project from any projector that you have onto a clear glass surface. This particular exhibit featured it in a sports stadium context. Imagine going to a sporting event and sitting in your luxury suite and experiencing all of the live aspects of “being there” while still being able to view stats, camera angles and replays within your field of view. Rather than bringing the sporting event to your living room, this allows for you to bring your living room to the sporting event. It was kind interesting and I’d like to see where it can go.
As I exited the Sony V/R booth, I couldn’t help but notice this cute little robot on a coffee table looking around as if it was having a conversation with a group of people. I learned that it’s a prototype device called Experia that is used to control all of your connected home devices in a similar way that Amazon’s Alexa does. This little thing has a camera built into it that uses facial recognition to track whoever it is communicating with it. If you tell it to play Foo fighters, it’ll look at you, smile, and then turn to the stereo and mouth to it to play the Foo fighters. This one even started to “rock out” to the music as it played. It was kind of cool and seemed like a much more personal assistant than a “tube” like Alexa just sitting on your coffee table.
Intel was showing off their push towards 5G connectivity and one of their exhibits showed how a 5G connection could support Virtual reality video and audio in near real time. This demo had a wireless V/R headset that put me smack dab in the middle of a basketball court across the convention hall. The data stream to keep all of the Hi def video and audio in real time had to have been massive but it was absolutely glitch free! I’m excited for the future of 5G connectivity. It’ll make the push for stable Hi-res music that much stronger. I’m looking at YOU Apple. As so called “fans of music,” it’s time for you to use your massive influence to get “regular” people to want and demand Hi resolution music.
I stopped by the Fii0 booth to check out their flagship X7 Hi-res music player/streamer. It sounded decent with the earphones they supplied and the interface was a bit confusing but I’m looking forward to hearing how it performs in a streaming home environment.