Tuesday, January 10, 2012

CES Tidbits

First off, this has to be my favorite announcement of the entire show:
Fisher-Price will offer a selection of images from the company's View-Master image archive, regarded as the largest collection of 3D still images in the world. "The View-Master archive is a virtual treasure-trove of 3D imagery capturing over 100 years of history and culture," said Peter Snajczuk, Vice President of Marketing for Fisher-Price. "We're thrilled to be working with Spatial View to make these spectacular images available digitally for download from ViewMasterDigital3D.com to a variety of 3D mobile devices and Internet-connected 3D TVs."

...Launching in late Q1, 2012, the online digital content store - www.viewmasterdigital3d.com - will include a selection of titles consisting of national parks, travel, nature, and history. The content will be sold in packs of 18 to 21 images for $1.99.

That's right, baby--Viewmaster lives. What a great idea.

All right, let's move on from Viewmaster to OLED, and that's sort of describes how far we've come in terms of technology as well. I'm not going to go into the technical details of OLED (organic light-emitting diode), because it's mind-numbing. The takeaway, though, is that OLED sets (on paper) are brighter, have higher contrast, deeper black levels, wider viewing angles, and lower power consumption than LCD or plasma sets. Spectacular, potentially.

However, there have been two primary obstacles in getting these displays to market: the longevity of the blue OLED and high production costs.

This year, though, two companies announced 55-inch OLED displays: Samsung and LG. LG, historically, announces all kinds of shit at CES and never ships most of it. Samsung, though, is a big boy, and it looks like their OLED set will actually hit the market (second half of this year, although that might slip).

I don't want to buy a first-generation OLED display, because I have concerns about the reliability and life span of the first generation, plus they'll be ridiculously expensive (I wouldn't be surprised if the 55-inch Samsung is 8-10K), but this starts the timer ticking toward the day when these displays are reasonably priced and we all get them.

Links: LG OLED display, Samsung OLED display.

I forgot one more category of products I'm particularly interested in: 3D printers. And Makerbot announced a new printer that allows you to print objects "roughly the size of a loaf of bread." Take a look:

I find that entirely amazing, and I find it even more amazing that the printer is under $2,000. This entire technology seems like something beamed in from the future.

I'd be willing to bet that we're going to buy one of these in the next year. Eli 10.5 would go wild with it, and it would sneakily introduce him to all kinds of interesting creative and engineering concepts.

I planned for this to continue from here(discussing in particular the new Samsung and Panasonic plasmas), but unfortunately I am completely jammed up today in terms of time, so I will continue with this tomorrow.

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