Here’s whats coming at CES 2014 to make your home theater look antiquated

CES 2014 home theater preview

There’s usually some degree of difficulty involved with figuring out what to expect from CES. Although we head in to the show pre-briefed on most of what will be shown, nearly every manufacturer keeps something a secret in order to surprise us. And even with all that foreknowledge, it’s always tough to gauge what will be a hit in the eyes of showgoers. This year, however, things are different. It has become abundantly clear that CES 2014 will be dominated by a single technology topic: Ultra HD 4K. 

Never mind that nobody knows exactly what to call it (Ultra HD 4K, 4K Ultra HD, UHD, just Ultra HD, or just 4K), the industry has settled on the next big thing for television and, unlike the tepid response 3D technology received in years prior, Ultra HD is in a strong position to take over in the years to come. It won’t just be Ultra HD televisions that will be making headlines this year, either. 4K content and the means by which it will be delivered to viewers is also coming. That fact alone will change the conversation around Ultra HD, which has typically revolved about the glaring lack of said content and delivery methods.

LG 77 inch OLED Ultra HD TVAs announcements are made and embargoes are lifted, we’ll see that every TV manufacturer has beefed up its Ultra HD television line-up and trimmed down its 1080p TV line. Everyone wants in, even Polaroid. Prices on Ultra HD sets will fall (though not by huge margins) while embedded features and technology will have advanced. HDMI 2.0 will be the new input standard, and upscaling chips will be promoted as bridging the gap between now and that time when Ultra HD content is bountiful.

We already know that Netflix will begin streaming Ultra HD content sometime this month, but we expect some bigger announcements from the streaming media king regarding more content availability and partnerships with certain TV manufacturers. Netflix may not be the only media delivery outfit talking Ultra HD, either. We’ll also see wireless Ultra HD streaming demonstrations attempting to prove that not only is streaming Ultra HD over a Wi-Fi network feasible, it is easy and looks great. 

What about OLED?

OLED televisions will make their presence known, with LG providing the brightest beacon for the TV technology. But Ultra HD will probably cast a pretty big shadow, as it clearly has  priority backing from the rest of the industry.

High-resolution audio: The Yin to Ultra HD’s Yang

Thankfully, CES 2014 will offer plenty of diversions from all the Ultra HD madness, but to get at some of the hottest stuff on display, A/V enthusiasts will have to abandon the show floor at the Las Vegas convention center and claw their way to Venetian Hotel.  Just as high-resolution video has garnered attention, so too has high-res audio. Some amazing things are happening in the world of digital audio delivery, and that’s attracting more attention to audio manufacturers’ speakers and amplifiers. This year, Digital Trends will spend more time than ever at the high-end audio suites in the Venetian to bring you a close look at what’s being done in this suddenly blossoming category. 

Sound bars and sound platters

HW-H600 Sound Stand

Sound bars continue to be popular, and we expect we’ll see and hear some high-performance models at the show, but there’s a new product category that we expect to take the audio booths by storm this year: Sound platforms – also known as sound plates, sound bases, sound pedestals, etc – are the new hotness in one-box audio solutions. These devices sit flat on an entertainment stand or cabinet and function as a base for a television. Their increased cabinet volume allows for richer sound with more bass, even without an external subwoofer. LG is already onto the second generation of  its Sound Plate, Samsung just announced the introduction of its Sound Stand; and that’s just the start. We expect nearly every audio manufacturer will have one of these on display this year. 

Wireless audio

When high-resolution audio isn’t stealing headlines, count on wireless audio solutions to step in. Naturally, there will be countless portable Bluetooth speakers, but we also expect to see more wireless surround sound systems and more companies taking on Sonos and its mesh network-based approach to whole-home wireless audio solutions. 

What about the headphones?

Could it be that the headphone bubble has finally burst? We think so, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be plenty on display st the show this year. We’re looking forward to checking in with well-established brands such as Sennheiser and Audio-Technica, as well as those relative newcomers which we expect will survive the implosion, such as Klipsch, Sol Republic and, of course, Monster. 

Home Theater

Netflix vs. Apple TV+: A very early comparison of the streaming rivals

Apple is lining up to compete with Netflix in the streaming video environment, so how does Apple TV+ compare to Netflix? Here's how they stack up, from price and content to the devices they're available on.

Searching for a projector? Don’t miss these awesome Prime Day 2019 deals

Amazon has discounted several top-rated projectors from the likes of Epson, Optoma, and Sony to celebrate Prime Day 2019, including the must-have 4K Optoma UHD51A.

Snag the Bose Soundlink Color II speaker for less than $100 on Prime Day

The best wireless speakers deliver premium sound quality in a compact package, and the Bose Soundlink Color II is more than up to the challenge. It is available on Prime Day for 31% off.

Awesome Prime Day deals on Apple AirPods, Jabra Elite 65t true wireless earbuds 

Amazon Prime Day is almost over but great deals can still be had on wireless earbuds. Now on Amazon, you can score a pair of Jabra Elite 65t wireless earbuds for just $114, or Apple AirPods for just $145.

Walmart drops a great 50-inch Vizio 4K TV deal for Prime Day 2019

Walmart is back with another amazing 4K TV deal. This time, it's slashed $150 off the 50-inch Vizio D-Series — one of the most well-rounded 4K TVs on the market — dropping the price to $280, which can be split over 12 monthly payments.
Home Theater

Five questions we need answered after watching Stranger Things season 3

Stranger Things expanded its world quite a bit in season 3, but the hit Netflix series still left audiences with plenty of questions about what the future holds for the show and some of the core elements of its mythology.

Now’s your last chance to buy an Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K on the cheap

The clock is ticking — you have less than twelve hours to snap up an Amazon Fire TV Stick, Fire TV Stick 4K, or Fire TV Recast on the cheap, as Prime Day is drawing to a close and it's taking the discounts on the firm's cord-cutting…
Home Theater

Don't get it twisted! These are the best true wireless earbuds you can buy

If you can't stand the tangle of cords, or you're just excited about completely wireless earbuds, you're going to need some help separating the wheat from the chaff. Our list serves up the best true wireless earbuds around.
Home Theater

The best noise-canceling headphones paint your music on a cleaner canvas

Drowning out the sound of babies, jet engines, and the outside world isn't as difficult as it seems. Here are the best noise-canceling headphones, whether you're concerned with style, comfort, or sound.

Best Prime Day headphone deals: Bose, Sony, and wireless earbuds on sale

Solitude doesn't always come cheap, but now that Prime Day 2019 has arrived, it's a little more affordable. Amazon has slashed the price of a number of top-rated headphones from the likes of Bose and Sony for its online shopping bonanza.
Home Theater

Need to get your Apple remote working with your Apple TV? Here's how to do it

Sooner or later, you will lose or break the Apple remote that came with your Apple TV. Here's how to troubleshoot a problematic remote by re-pairing it, pair a new remote, or use an existing remote to control your Apple TV.

Best Prime Day 4K TV deals: LG, Samsung, and Vizio receive huge price cuts

You don't have to wait until Black Friday to score a fantastic deal on 4K TV — Amazon Prime Day 2019 has arrived, and with it oodles of discounted top-rated 4K televisions from the likes of Samsung, TCL, and Vizio.

Walmart post-Prime Day sale: 4K TV, Apple, and Nintendo Switch deals

Prime Day 2019 has come to an end for Amazon, but that doesn't mean the deals are over. Walmart's Prime Day sale. Walmart's Prime Day sale lasts all day today, extending a whole extra day beyond Amazon's shopping extravaganza.

Amazon Prime Day deals are ending, but you can still get great deals

Prime Day 2019 has come to an end for Amazon, but that doesn't mean the Prime Day deals are over. With deals from Walmart, Best Buy, and Amazon still going on, this massive shopping event is continuing on through the week.