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CES 2013 Review

The new year has dawned upon us, the world didn’t end … yes we’re still here which is a wonderful thing. So now what?

CES thats what! Its an electronic trade show that takes place in Vegas, almost like Christmas after Christmas. For us camera junkies there’s about four conventions worth keeping an eye on which can give you insight of what to expect in the near future.  I just wanna highlight the current technological challenges and how the industry will fight back with super products.

4K

First it was Black and White then Color, about ten years ago we had the HD movement and today it’s Ultra-HD (four times the resolution of any conventional HD screen). Last CES we saw prototype 4K screens but nothing like this year which has made  trade floor dominance. You can now  buy a 4K TV for a shinny quater but there’s practically no content available to consume at such resolution. Every major TV Manufacter has a line of 4K screens along with OLED 1080p screens. There’s nothing wrong if you just jumped into the HD world cause we still have sometime before 4K has it roots locked down.

For this to happen 4K Standards need to be made before you can take advantage of this new technology. Since your information has quadrupled it’s hard to get content to consumers although there are a few solutions. Netflix surprised us with “coming soon” booth streaming 4k to a UHD screen made by Samsung, most reviews stated it had a ways to go due to compression artifacts. Sony has 4K content with a media player but still in prototype phases, if you happened to purchase a XBR-84X900 84” for $24,000 then you get a 4K player along with a few movie titles. Aside from Sony the only other avalable content is that from Red who released the worlds first 4K Media Player, this allows you to share content via ODE MAX, distribute or playback videos you shot with Red products.

2013 has broken the ice for 4K, we are seeing an expansion of screens in conventional sizes for consumers who aren’t stupid rich that will be priced at a slight premium than normal HD sets. Not really sure what that means my guess is anywhere from $6-$10k+.

Photography

Uusally most Photo announcements are made at Photokina but every now and then some cameras get lost in their own refresh cycle and end up at CES kinda like Fuji this year updating their popular X-Series.

Fuji X20 & X100s

fuji_pair

I’ve been DSLR-less since my 5D MkII got stolen and I haven’t looked back once I bought a Scarlet. At the moment I’ve been using my Galaxy Nexus for pictures but I’m always disappointed with the results. So I’ve begun the search for a camera thats “the one”. It’s really hard to find something that you want to shoot on everyday  thats affordable, has style, creates a promising RAW image, and analog controls . Everything I came across was from Leica and way out of my budget then I found FujiFilm. Fuji is pretty much the only other camera manufacture that is making a good Leica knock off. Granted their new X100s will run you $1300 but it’s in reach for many photo enthusiasts compared to a $2000 Leica X2. On the Premium Compact Camera end Fuji has the X20 which is the 2nd revision of it’s current model the X10. It’s no ordinary point and shoot since it has RAW capabilities a new 12 megapixel 2/3-inch X-Trans CMOS II sensor that is larger than it’s predecessor. A nifty x4  zoom lens (28-112mm equivalent to 35mm) sporting f/2.0 – f/2.8 variable aperture and manual barrel. The Fuji X20 also gains an Advanced Optical ViewFinder, record Lamborghini start up time and auto-focus. It will retail for $600 and ships sometime in March. Personally I will keep an eye on this guy, looks very promising.

Fuji X20 Spec Link

Gaming

During an interview with Sony CEO Kaz Hirai the last question asked was “Share any detail you’d like about the next Play Station”. This is a big year for Microsoft since rumors have it a next-gen XBOX is due for  this Christmas to compete with the WiiU that was released last year. PS4 rumors have become more popular also claiming 2013 release but nothing concrete until now. Kaz responds with “We are on a 10 year Cycle” much like the PS2 which was discontinued Q4 2012 after 13 years of retail.”Very aggressive growth in PS3 business” was another response by Kaz, to me that says Sony is waiting until Microsoft lays its cards down and continue with good PS3 profits since a third Super Slim PS3 revision has been released a few months ago. What I get from this is by 2016 we can expect 4K standards that will finalize Ultra-HD content distribution, so yes I believe when PS4 decides to be released, it will be 4K ready.

project_shield_v2b

Nvidia gave us a grand surprise with Project Shield, a handheld controller with a 5” Retina screen running Android UI. Under the hood is a Tegra4 chip for snappy gaming on the go, or stream via WiFi with your computer and play PC Titles at full settings, pause the game, take it to the living room TV for when your friends show up and have them join the gameplay… For travel this is a win, play all your games, watch movies saved on a microSD card, spare the battery on your phone or tablet. It’s the ultimate entertainment gadget. TegraZone offers the ability to shop at a curated Game App store that works best with Tegra processors.

Impressive Specs

  • -State of the Art Speakers (Comparable to Beat Pill Speakers)
  • -Can be used as a portable set-top
  • -4K Output & Playback
  • -microSD slot
  • – 5-10Hr GamePlay, 24Hr HD Video PlayBack
  • -Pure Stock Android

No info on price but it definitely seems like a great solution for us avid on-the-go gamers that want the supreme experience. Who knows it could become a new standard.

Check out the video Below with the Press Conference

All in all a pretty solid year, the introduction of 4K screens for consumers is finally here, hopefully with enough units being sold we can begin to see the interest in making 4k an industry standard sooner than later. The gaming industry is transforming from two seprate markets; handheld & TV set tops, to now a hybrid ecosystem of gaming offering a unique experience at every tier. Very cool, CES has set the tone for the months to follow can’t wait!

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