Highlights from CES in Las Vegas!

2014 started off with a bang in the home theater industry, as the annual International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) landed in Las Vegas. CES is the biggest single trade show for home audio and video in the world, where the biggest names in the business come to show off both their newest products and wildest tech concepts.

Sound Shop president Patty Jakos spent several days at the show meeting with our vendors and checking out the latest trends, many of which will be in our showroom in just a few months!

The fun stuff…What sets CES apart from similar trade shows is its wide scope and massive scale. Like any show, manufacturers come from around the world to give practical demos of their latest products to the folks who will be selling them, but that’s only about half of what CES has to offer. The other half is pure SHOW. With such a large venue and such big crowds (and press coverage), the biggest brands in the world get to show off with elaborate presentations to compete with the Vegas backdrop, and bleed-edge technology that won’t be in the average consumers hands for years (if that). Everywhere you turn is a wall of flashy displays and booming audio. So of course, a lot of the show is just sensory overload. It’s a bit silly, but also wild fun!

LG greeted us with a massive, 75 foot long 3D screen with gorgeous, eye-popping CGI. Klipsch got tons of attention with their enormous “World’s Biggest Horn” sculpture, and followed up with a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert at their after-hours party. And while we were there primarily for home theater business, we couldn’t help but have a little fun checking out the cool tech from outside the Shop’s wheelhouse. We even got to test drive BMW’s all-electric i3!

Greg Ransom From Klipsch with the Worlds Largest Horn
The relatively modest entrance.
Giant glowing sculptures everywhere...
BMW's electric i3
The i8 looked more fun, but was sadly just for show.
TVs… FROM THE FUTURE!But let’s talk about why we’re actually here, the latest and best in home theater, starting with TV. CES is known for revealing both long term and short term trends in the TV industry, as all the biggest manufacturers show off their goods for 2014 and well beyond. So what can you expect in HD TVs in the near future?

  • Ultra HD edges in – It was clear last year that 4k Ultra HD will eventually be the standard. The question now is more about when. All major vendors now have 4K at the top of their line-up, but prices are high and content is still very sparse. If you’re holding out for more wide-spread adoption, expect a long wait. 
  • Curves…  The big surprise trend for me was curved TVs. Samsung, LG, Sharp and others all seem to be jumping on the cinema curved bandwagon, showing off both giant probably-never-for-sale versions and consumer models. The surprising part? Sony led the charge last year (we’ve had a curved Bravia in our shop for months), but they seem to have dropped the idea, as their CES line-up was all back to flat. Maybe the interest just isn’t there.
  • 3D Goes Quiet – Love it or hate it, 3D is here to stay, but don’t expect to hear too much about it in the coming years. Consumer adoption has been hesitant, and while the top brands continue to improve their 3D tech and include it in their product lines, they recognize it as a divisive feature and won’t be shoving down your throat as hand as in past years. 
Almost every TV maker had a curved display to show.
The Crescendo by Martin Logan
Cloud-y With No Chance of Wires… So what about audio? The way people get their music in the modern age has changed so fast, from CDs to MP3 to Cloud streaming, that manufactures are constantly racing to keep up. At CES it was clear that one brand was already ahead of the curve: Sonos. The relatively young brand  has been shaking up the hi-fi world in the past few years, and more established brands are taking notice, launching wireless tabletop systems for every taste and price range.


Martin Logan unveiled the Crescendo, a slick unit with a 100W amp and a driver array designed to show that going small and wireless doesn’t have to be a compromise. We expect the first of these in the Shop within the next couple months, and I can’t wait to hear it.