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Annual Las Vegas electronics expo previews the future

By Alex Sferrazza
On January 23, 2014


January in Las Vegas, Nev. is known for two things: New Year's hangovers and the annual Consumer Electronics Show. The largest trade show in the tech industry, CES has served as the launching pad for some of the biggest gadgets in history from the VCR to the Blu Ray Disc. CES 2014 took place from Jan. 7-10 and here's what grabbed the attention of the tech world.
It seems as though the next big "innovation" (or so we're told) in television is upon us. The time has come for 4K pixel television sets to enter the mainstream marketplace. These "Ultra-HD" television sets offer screen resolutions that at minimum easily double that of those available on current "2K" HDTV's. While 4K sets have been around for a few years now, their cost has remained extremely high with multiple sets going for well over ten grand. However at CES, Vizio announced their intention to bring a 50 in." 4K television to market for the comparatively very reasonable price of $999.
Another potential game changer in the making: certain television manufactures such as Samsung and LG and still perfecting curved OLED 4K TVs. These sets feature a screen that curves outward, similar to what is seen in convention IMAX cinemas. The theory is that such a screen helps to better immerse the viewer and and create a more enveloping viewing experience.
We've finally seen the first batch of Valve's much hyped "Steam Machines", a line of gaming PC's officially supported by Valve that operate on the company's Linux-based "SteamOS" operating system. Thirteen partnerships were announced with a variety of varying configurations that will range in price from $499 to $6,000.
As mentioned on Tuesday, Sony announced the "PlayStation Now" streaming service. The Gaikai-based platform will allow users to stream legacy PlayStation titles from PS1, PS2 and PS3, over the internet to PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and PS Vita systems, as well as to select smart TVs and mobile/tablet devices.
The still in development "Oculus Rift" virtual reality gaming headset continued to impress CES attendees lucky enough to go hands-on with the product. The latest prototypes feature an external camera for the purpose of allowing motion tracking for the device. This means that where before the headset could only track the players head in the virtual world, users will now be able to lean over and bend down with the headset recognizing the real world movement one makes.
In an unprecedented move, cell phone carrier T-Mobile has announced that they will pay out up to $650 in early termination fees for customers who cancel their existing plans with Sprint, Verizon and AT&T and switch over to T-Mobile.
Wearable tech appears to be the way of the future with Razer, Sony and LG, among others, soon planning to bring their own smart-watch and smart-wristband devices to market. Although nothing announced by any competitor appears nearly as intriguing as the newly announced "Pebble Steel" are far more aesthetically pleasing upgrade to the original Pebble, which raised over ten million dollars during its initial Kickstarter campaign, a site record.

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