Seven Things That Can Make Your Gadget Obsolete
Gadget Obsolete – Thinking of buying a new TV, Blu-ray player, or even a laptop? Well, maybe you should think again because we looked at some of the technologies at CES 2010 that can make the gadget you buy today obsolete soon.
HDMI is the standard for transferring digital media such as surround sound audio and high definition video from sources such as Blu-ray players, game consoles or receivers to TVs or other devices. The current standard is HDMI 1.3 with variations such as 1.3a, b, and so on. HDMI 1.4 is the latest standard which not only adds support for 3DTV but adds an Ethernet channel which allows cables to be used to transfer network data at speeds of up to 100MB / sec for things like IPTV and DLNA (see below). The good news is that the high-speed (expensive) HDMI 1.3 cable will support the HDMI 1.4 feature except for Ethernet channels. The bad news is that you will need a new device to work with the old cable.
They prefer you call it SuperSpeed USB, but whatever it’s called, it’s much faster than the older USB 2.0. USB 3.0 or SuperSpeed offers a speed increase of about 10X more than USB 2.0 with transfers of up to 300 or 400 megabytes per second. SuperSpeed is slow to be adopted. Intel, which is promoting competitor technology based on optical cables called Light Peak, said it would not support SuperSpeed for another year. In fact, some people think Light Peak, which claims a transfer of 10 gigabits per second, might even replace USB, especially if vendors like Apple adopt it. Meanwhile, Microsoft is in the process of creating a SuperSpeed driver for Windows 7. The good news is USB 3.0 is adding speed (haha). We saw SuperSpeed external drives, adapters, and even laptops at CES 2010.
If you plan to buy high-end HDTVs this year, you might want to consider waiting for a 3D-capable version. 3D (or Plasma) LCD TVs will have a fast refresh rate of at least 120Hz (240Hz better), a circuit to decode various 3D broadcast formats, a 3D glasses interface (if using active shutter glasses that most likely will), and an HDMI 1.4 port. We will see more sets appear on the market in the second half of 2010.
The Digital Living Network Alliance has been around since 2004. Now it is claimed to be used on more than 5,500 devices. DLNA has been a kind of sleep problem over the last few years but at CES 2010 this year we continue to hear it mentioned in places like Samsung outlets where they show their vision of a “connected” home. We expect that you will start to see it stand out on TV, cellphones, laptops, printers and more. Understand that the DLNA standard might be upgraded to include support for MPEG-4 AVC and Bluetooth in the near future. We recommend that you monitor these standards and look for them to include them in the equipment you are considering adding to your household. DLNA and WiFi are the best ways to move digital media around your home.
A variation on the US digital TV standard, ATSC, emerged called Mobile DTV. This is designed to send special TV broadcast signals to mobile devices. Programming will be almost the same as showing you get air and it won’t cost you anything to receive. We hope to see the ATSC Cellular tuner integrated into cellphones, laptops, portable TVs and other devices. A separate tuner is only available but if you want to watch TV while on the go. You might want to look for a device with a built-in Mobile HDTV.
Ambient Light Sensor and Other Environmentally Friendly TV Features
Gadget Obsolete – One new technique for making TVs more energy efficient is to equip it with an ambient light sensor that adjusts the brightness of the screen according to the brightness of the room or “surrounding” environment. New TVs from Vizio, Sony, LG, and others are all equipped with light sensors. The top-of-the-line Sony BRAVIA LX900 not only has a light sensor but also has a “presence” sensor that detects people in the room watching TV. LED backlights that are becoming increasingly common on HDTVs are better for the environment than CCFL backlit TVs for recycling and energy saving.
Everywhere we looked at CES 2010, we found TVs that featured Internet connectivity. TVs that are connected to your broadband services via WiFi or Ethernet connectors can offer everything from streaming services such as Netflix, Vudu, and even YouTube videos to Skype conference calls. Although you will be able to get Internet connectivity to your TV through a set-top box and Blu-ray player. We recommend that you look for an HDTV device that has WiFi for your next TV set.
Don’t End Up Waiting Forever …
On the other hand, we may have to make it clear that the nature of gadgets is that something new is always on the horizon and if you are always waiting for the next new thing. You can end up waiting forever but we think you want to know about some of this new technology so you can consider it when making your next gadget purchase.
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