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. 


Walmart drops prices on Samsung 4K TVs during Presidents’ Day sale

With 8K TVs on the horizon, the cost of owning a 4K Ultra HD television has dropped pretty significantly in recent years, and this Walmart Presidents' Day sale is offering some great prices.

Take a gander at the best deals on 4K TVs for February 2019

There's no doubt that a good 4K smart TV is the best way to take your home entertainment setup to the next level to enjoy all your favorite shows, movies, and games in glorious Ultra HD. We've got the best 4K TV deals right here.
Home Theater

Still listening on tinny, muffled TV speakers? Try one of our favorite soundbars

You no longer have to sacrifice sound for size when selecting home audio equipment. Check out our picks for the best soundbars, whether you're looking for budget options, pure power, smarts, or tons of features.
Home Theater

Netflix vs. Hulu vs. Amazon Prime: Battle of the on-demand streaming giants

Trying to figure out which subscription streaming service to use while sticking to a frugal entertainment budget? Check out our updated comparison of the big three: Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and Hulu.

Don't know what to do with all your old DVDs? Here's how to convert them to MP4

Given today's rapid technological advancements, physical discs are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Check out our guide on how to convert a DVD to MP4, so you can ditch discs for digital files.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this winter with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Legion'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Movies & TV

The best movies you’ll find on Hulu right now (February 2019)

From dramas to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Home Theater

They were robbed! From Crowe to Pacino, 10 times Oscar voters got it wrong

With the 91st Oscars rapidly approaching, now is a fine time to look back at several Oscar-worthy performances that were completely ignored by the Academy, as well as others that were nominated and astoundingly denied the little naked…
Movies & TV

The best new movie trailers: Yesterday, Tolkien, Triple Frontier, and more

Everyone loves a good trailer, but keeping up with what's new isn't easy. That's why we round up the best ones for you. This week, it's trailers for Yesterday, Tolkien, Aladdin, Frozen 2, and Triple Frontier.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Movies & TV

Best new shows and movies to stream: Deadpool 2, The Umbrella Academy, and more

Need something to watch this weekend? Check out our list of the best new shows and movies to stream right now. On the list this week: Deadpool 2, The Umbrella Academy, Lorena, and more.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (February 2019)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Home Theater

Apple Music encourages subscribers to give friends a free 1-month pass

It's no secret that Apple has its sights set squarely on Spotify's enviable subscriber count, but how will Apple Music grow? By using existing customers to recruit new members by letting them send friends a one-month free pass.