CES: A watch that can fly & better picture quality TVs
LAS VEGAS (ABC News/AP) - The gadgets of the future are on display this week at the annual Consumer Electronics Show, or CES, in Las Vegas. Among them: A watch that can fly and TVs with even better picture quality.
Nixie combines two of the biggest buzzwords in tech right now: Drones and wearables.
Self-admiring techies of the future will instead be able to turn to Nixie, a drone worn on the wrist that can detach, take flight and snap photos from countless different perspectives.
The technology, which uses Intel's Edison chip, took the $500,000 grand prize at the chip maker’s "Make It Wearable" contest in November.
Meantime, TV makers unveiled new models with 4K resolution, or four times the clarity offered by today's high definition TVs. They are pushing the features even though not a single TV channel is yet available in 4K. But Internet services such as Netflix, Amazon and M-Go are starting to offer 4K video.
Sony promised to create more 4K content to watch on those sets. Four popular shows from its entertainment division - "The Goldbergs," ''The Blacklist," ''Masters of Sex" and "The Night Shift" - will soon be available in 4K and it's working with partners including Netflix and YouTube to deliver more 4K streaming video. Sony also launched an alliance with other TV makers, content providers and distributors to create technical standards for high-quality 4K video.
"It's going to be the first format primarily driven by streaming," says Jim Funk, a senior vice president at Roku Inc., which makes streaming TV devices.
Beyond 4K, Sharp developed an engineering trick to make its high-end set look even sharper. Samsung added a nanocrystal semiconductor layer to make colors purer and the screen brighter. LG is pushing organic LED screens with richer colors and pure black - the kind typically limited to smaller displays such as phones because of price.
And Internet connectivity is becoming standard in sets, the way all TVs are color now. LG and Samsung also have ways to easily switch video between TV and mobile devices, so that if you're watching a movie on a phone, you can continue it on your TV as soon as you get home.
The Consumer Electronics Association expects TV sales to increase 2 percent to 251 million units this year. The average screen size is projected to be 40 inches, up from 31 inches in 2007. CEA predicts more than 23 million of the units will be 4K TVs this year, about 2.5 times the shipments in 2014. That's even with the explosion of viewing on tablets and smartphones.
People tend to use phones and tablets while traveling or for shorter video, says Tim Alessi, head of new product development for home entertainment at LG Electronics USA. For a full-length movie, viewers want to replicate the theater in the home. That's only done through a big TV set.
"When I want a full home-entertainment experience, especially with my family and friends, the TV is still the best way to do that," agrees Tim Baxter, president and chief operating officer of Samsung Electronics America.
So, how much will all this cost?
TVs with 4K capabilities have started to drop below $1,000, but they are still a few hundred dollars more than regular sets. Consumers also will likely have to pay more for 4K content, the way service providers now charge a few dollars more for high-definition downloads. Netflix charges $12 for a streaming plan that supports 4K versus $9 for regular formats, for example.
With compression technology, consumers should be able to view 4K video with standard broadband packages, though the experience will be better with higher, pricier tiers.