CES 2013: It’s All About Connectivity

By Michael Silbergleid, SVG Contributing Editor

The big picture at CES (aside from the vibrating fork that tells you when you are eating too fast and has become the darling of the popular press) is connectivity. The ability to connect everything to everything wirelessly and to share or move media content between devices: that’s what the consumer-electronics industry thinks consumers not only want but desperately need to make their lives better.

Attendees await the opening of the International CES at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Attendees await the opening of the International CES at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The medium used for such connectivity is as varied as the slew of manufacturers offering it: NFC (near-field communication), Bluetooth, WiFi, WHDI (wireless home digital interface).

This goes hand-in-hand with another hot CES topic: multiplatform delivery, also known as TV Everywhere, typically streaming content from the Internet (aka the cloud).

On the surface, this may sound great for extending media consumption to almost every modern electronic device, but there is one drawback: device interconnectivity is brand-specific. Consumers will find it all but impossible to easily send media from their Brand A tablet to their Brand B TV. Brand loyalty means simplified connectivity, at least until consumers complain enough for a standard to be adopted by manufacturers.

3D: ‘Reports of My Death Are Greatly Exaggerated’
CES 2013 has also seen a lot of talk about the death of 3D; the feature is not front and center on every TV on display. As noted in a CES report on Tuesday, 3D is alive and well but just another integrated feature. Anyone who wants 3D front and center, however, need only look at the massive 3D multiscreen entrance to the LG booth in the central hall.

As for glasses-free 3D, Stream TV showed its latest offering for TV-set manufacturers on a Sharp 4K/Ultra HD (UHD) 60-in. TV (the technology was also exhibited by Hisense using its 4K/UHD screen as a concept demo). With four times the resolution of HD, the 4K TV produced HD-quality 3D for each eye. Although it was stunning, there’s still a bit of work to do on the technology, especially where 2D conversion is concerned.

And, during the 3D 20/20 Vision session, the right question was asked with regard to people’s hating 3D because they have to wear glasses: “Did you hate Avatar because you had to wear glasses?” Point taken. Compelling content always wins.

Talk to the Hand
One of the more useful exhibits for sports-video professionals, who spend a lot of time outdoors, is the Hi-Call Bluetooth Talking Glove from Italy-based Hi-Fun.

Hi-Fun’s Hi-Call Bluetooth Talking Glove is a phone that keeps the user’s hand warm.

Hi-Fun’s Hi-Call Bluetooth Talking Glove serves as a ‘headset’ that keeps the user’s hand warm.

The knitted winter gloves features a Bluetooth speaker in the thumb and a microphone in the pinky of the left glove, with capacitive technology in the fingertips for touchscreen use. To make or take a call, a user speaks into the pinky and listens through the thumb.

The gloves offer 20 hours of talk time, 10 days of standby time, and a range of 12 m, or about 40 ft. Hi-Call is available in men’s and women’s sizes in black or gray at 50 euros (about $65).

Password must contain the following:

A lowercase letter

A capital (uppercase) letter

A number

Minimum 8 characters