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Future of Home Entertainment & Smart Living

From this year’s battle of the most fascinating displays at CES, IEK Project Manager Chun-Yuan Hou explored several new technology trends that possess strong potential in shaping our future home entertainment. In terms of visual and audio demonstrations, new display technologies such as Micro-LED TV and QLED TV are enhancing the resolution of TV, and Hi-Fi quality has penetrated into music streaming services such as Tidal and Qobuz.

Samsung unveiled its MicroLED technology with the new 146” TV simply named “The Wall”. Its modularity enables giant displays put together with several panels to be completely borderless. LG contested with its rollable 65” 4K OLED display, possibly the prototype for what all displays might look like in the near future. Its flexible form factor retracts into a nondescript base when not in use, offering the ideal solution for more optimal space management as the market is keen for bigger TVs over time.

Novel displays remain at the heart of CES.

Novel displays remain at the heart of CES.

Virtual Reality (VR) was once again a major highlight at CES. The idea of immersive media has made its name and the market has already demanded more advanced models. HTC responded with its Vive Pro headset, their solution to all the shortcomings of its prior model, Vive. The Vive Pro has greatly improved in resolution and integrated audio, while adding a wireless adapter to eliminate excessive cables.

As discussed by Intel’s CEO, Brian Krzanich, “The possibilities are endless with VR technology, and it is still far from reaching its full potential.” Intel announced its True VR, a technology that captures the entire viewing area (180° or 360° degrees) and merges the images together for an immersive experience as if the viewer is physically at the scene. Their partnership with the recent winter Olympics demonstrated how VR could revolutionize the traditional viewing experience.

An entirely different approach with VR was demonstrated by the winner of CES 2018’s Best Startup Awards, a VR company based in Idaho. Its Black Box VR, basically a reprogrammed HTC Vive that operates in concert with motorized cable machines, allows users to perform workout sets as part of the game played inside the VR. A brand new style of workout could be expected in gyms as soon as this year.

Likewise, other smart living techs attracted plenty of attention at CES 2018 as people are becoming more health conscious. For instance, a battery-free UV sensor monitors and determines whether the sun exposure is safe for the user. Audio technology presented this year not only focuses on entertainment, but also elaborates in a new health-based direction. An in-ear device, for example, aims to aid particular users with hearing issues like tinnitus. All smart solutions are designed to make life easier and healthier. As the designer Yves Béhar says, “An effective design is one that enhances consumers’ wellbeing without distracting from their everyday lives.”