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20 January 2012

CES 2012 Report

CES 2012 is the premiere consumer electronics show in the world and recently concluded in Las Vegas. Gaming Illustrated was on premises on Friday and met up with dozens of vendors to see what’s new in the world PC peripherals, PC gaming technology, HDTV and more. While we have almost a dozen exclusive interviews coming with companies like Intel, NVIDIA, Samsung, Toshiba and more, in this article we’ll recap what’s new, cool and actually practical.

Biggest Wow Factor – 4k HDTVs

Much has been made of the new “4k HDTVs” that have been developed by all the major television manufacturers. We saw the ones made by both Toshiba and Samsung and they were both jaw-dropping insane in quality. The best analogy I can give is to imagine the sharp resolution of the iPhone 4S with the retina display and put that level of quality in a 85” television. These televisions have the most amazing sharpness and brightness of anything you’ve ever seen. The only problem with all this is that the resolutions supported by cable companies, bluray discs and even the top-end PC computers is nowhere close to taking advantage of the resolution of these TVs. So without the content to run at this level, one has to wonder how practical these televisions actually will be in the consumer market.

Straight Out of Star Trek

Samsung probably was the buzz of the show with their window screen. Basically imagine a see-through touchscreen monitor that looks like a window in your house. When you touch it, it lights up and gives you things to do and just looks and feels like it did when you watched Star Trek: The Next Generation. Again, how practical? Not sure. How cool? Very.

3D – With or Without Glasses

We saw 3D HDTV technology from both Toshiba and Samsung that didn’t require the use of any sort of glasses. In order to get the 3D view, viewers have to sit at particular angle in order to get the effect to work. At the top of the television on the Toshiba model there are green circles that will line up when you are sitting at one of the angles that works. From there, the 3D takes over and looks pretty legit. It reminded us of how the Nintendo 3DS technology works, but again, we have to wonder how practical 3D technology is for the home theater.

If there was one thing we heard from not just people in the crowd at CES 2012, but also at the vendor booths, was that adoption of 3D technology strictly for home theater users is very low. It’s low to the point where people are still wondering about its viability and everyone to a point has accepted that home users do not want to wear glasses. What was fortunate for us, being from Gaming Illustrated, is that gamers are actually adopting 3D.

PC Peripheral and Gaming Companies

While I can’t exactly say that PC peripheral companies were out and about, we did meet with quite a few companies that were showing off some amazing bleeding edge technologies. We conducted interviews with Zalman, Zotac, Razer and NVIDIA and talked to them all about technologies that us gamers find awesome. Zalman had some really crazy heatsinks on display that looked as big as a fat gamer’s head but weighed less than 5 ounces. We talked to them about these crazy heatsinks as well as their new line of SSDs and PSUs. Zotac is a company we were excited to meet for the first time and we saw their existing line of NVIDIA video cards but came away most impressed with their line of mini-PCs which pack some significant power. At the Razer booth we got some hands-on time with the new Blade line of high performing gaming laptops and also got to check out the new Star Wars: The Old Republic branded peripherals including the keyboard that boasted an LCD panel that doubles as a trackpad. Finally, at the NVIDIA booth we got not one but two interviews – one regarding NVIDIA’s 2012 desktop graphics strategy and the other about their new line of tablet-based graphics technologies. With the latter, you’ll really see that NVIDIA is touting “console graphics on a tablet” aren’t just marketing jargon, it’s really legit.

Overall Impression of the Show

CES looks like an extremely healthy show and overall had a really good, positive vibe. Vendors were all really excited about what they were showing off and there were some serious “wow” moments with a lot of people in a variety of vertical markets. There’s a ton of great electronics coming out in 2012 and 2013 that all boast some serious cool.


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