CES In Review: Home Theater Trends for 2010
The 2010 CES Show in Las Vegas is over. CES from the very beginning has marked coming trends in consumer electronics and, for the purpose of this article, home theater. This year is no different. There is renewed optimism as attendance this year is up from last year. With renewed optimism comes new goodies and technology for home theater enthusiasts around the world.
This year the show marked the rise of the e-readers and Android. Intel brought on their new “super” processors and we even saw an amazing interactive remote control for Windows 7 which is sure to bring some cool new things that we can do with a Windows Media Center PC. Of course there are all the new TVs and more gadgets than you can shake a stick at – some laughable and some amazing—but what interests us the most is home theater.
As I see it, here are the home theater trends for 2010:
More Internet Delivered Content
One of the darlings of this year’s CES was the Boxee, a cube like device that pumps Internet content and digital files to your TV with a social networking kick. This product builds on technology developed for the original Microsoft Xbox (hint: a media player not by provided by Microsoft). Internet delivered content has been trending up for a quite a while. Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, among many others have been setting us up for this. Look for viable content from the Internet to be delivered to your HD flat panel TV this year. Yes, I know, it will be grainy and substandard quality, but there is a ton of it at your finger tips for your ondemand thrills.
3-D on Blu-Ray
It was just 2 years ago that Warner Brothers hammered the nail in the coffin for HD-DVD and now we are preparing the arrival of 3-D. It’s going to happen. The biggest blockbuster in theaters now is the 3-D extravaganza, “Avatar”. There were a slew of 3-D ready Blu-Ray players launched this year at CES. Expect more movies to appear in theaters in 3-D and expect more capable players to be sitting in home theater racks.
HDMI 1.4 Arrives
Bla, bla, bla. Another HDMI revision? Yep, but this one is more refined. Among the advertised improvements: built-in support for network sharing, bidirectional audio (inputs and outputs on a single cable), 3D and expanded resolution (up to 4K ultra high-def), and support for smaller jack sizes. Thankfully, new HDMI 1.4 devices should be backwards-compatible with existing HDMI-enabled ones. Let’s face it, HDMI removes a lot of headaches now that it has stabilized and these updates have much more potential than you might think.
More Integration with your Smart/Super Phones
Maybe the best known advancement is our western lifestyle over the last few years has been the smart phones. We have our navigation system, our network tools, and even our media in our pockets. With the introduction of Google’s Nexus One “super phone” and other Android based smart phones expect there to be a broader appeal and more integration with your home based entertainment. If you misplace the remote control for the media center, have no fear, your phone will come to the rescue. Expect smart integration companies to offer your more solutions than you could ever imagine in the New Year.
By far, what will really push home theater this year will be the content. What is an awesome home theater without awesome content? Have no fear. If you have been avoiding upgrading or adding your home theater, now is the time. The films coming at you this year will require better speakers, better displays, and better transports. Here are just a few of the movies that you don’t want to miss in all their glory sitting in the comfort of your home: “The Wolfman”, Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland”, “Clash of the Titans”, a new Harry Potter fantasy, and let’s not forget about our favorite monster, “Shrek”. And there will be a Blu-Ray release of “Avatar” and the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy is just around the corner.
It looks like this will be an amazing year for Home Theater in terms of technology and content. Go ahead and stock-up on pop corn.