Virtual reality headsets, really clever fridges and HDR TVs launch at CES 2016



Virtual reality headsets that’ll revolutionise gaming and super-sharp HDR TVs were among the highlights on the first day of CES

We spent our first day in Vegas hot-footing it from one press launch to another. We checked out LG, Samsung, Sony and HTC. Read on for our favourite bits – condensed for your convenience…

HTC reveals its updated Vive virtual reality headset

(credit: Associated Press)

We wondered whether we’d see the HTC Vive in our pre-CES rumour round up – and we’re so pleased that we have.

HTC first announced Vive in early 2015. So what tweaks has it made? The biggest change with the Vive Pre is a new front-facing camera which merges the physical world (your actual room) and the virtual world (the game you’re playing).

You can see actual objects in the room you’re playing in – just hit the button and they’ll be blended into your virtual game.

‘Being able to take a seat, find your drink, and carry on conversations without removing your headset is only the beginning of what’s possible,’ says HTC.

It also features an improved display, and the headset has been redesigned for extra comfort – with a new strap for greater stability and balance.

CES 2016 will be remembered as the year of virtual reality – with Sony also showing off its PlayStation VR headset, and Oculus announcing its Rift is to be available for pre-order.

 

Vive Pre is scheduled to go on sale in April, click here to register your interest. Discover more at the Gaming Bunker 

HDR TVs arrive with Ultra HD Premium standard

HDR, or high dynamic range, is the main TV technology of CES 2016. Flagship sets from the likes of Samsung, Sony and LG will support HDR video playback.

But what is HDR? Rather than increasing the number of pixels, it works to improve the quality of existing pixels – creating deeper blacks, brighter whites and a wider range of colours.

Rather than replacing 4K it works with it. So all the flagship TVs we’re talking about have 4K resolution and are enabled for HDR.

TVs carrying an Ultra HD Premium badge will have met standards set out by the UHD Alliance regarding HDR and 4K.

The standard is designed to help people work out which TVs will give the best Ultra HD experience. It looks at HDR, black levels and the TV’s colour range.

Amazon is streaming this kind of video already, and Netflix plans to do so in 2016.

 

The fridge that organises food shopping and family life

(credit: Associated Press) 

Fridges are great at storing food – but they can be so much more than that.

They can be the hub for keeping your family’s everyday life ticking over. That’s according to Samsung and its new, incredibly clever, Family Hub refrigerator.

Smart fridges? Pfft. We’ve been here before, you may say. But hear us out, because this one does seem truly ground-breaking.

It all centres on a 21.5” touchscreen on the front of the fridge. It’s connected to your Wi-Fi, and can even hook up with other smart appliances around the home.

You can use it to:

  • use your phone to look inside your fridge when at the supermarket 
  • leave notes, post photos and send reminders for family appointments
  • keep a digital calendar that everyone can update from their smartphone
  • stream music while unpacking groceries or cooking

 

The world’s thinnest TVs from LG

LG thin TV

(credit: Associated Press)

TVs have been getting thinner for years – but how about one that’s no thicker than 4 credit cards stacked on top of one another? That’s what LG has launched at CES.

Its new top-of-the-range 4K OLED TVs the G6 and the E6 measure just 2.57mm thick – making it the thinnest TV in the world.

But it’s about more than skinniness – the telly’s OLED picture produces seriously deep blacks: ‘a black as black as the North Pole night sky,’ according to LG.

OLED is one of the major TV tech trends of recent years – and LG is a true pioneer. The TVs don’t need a backlight – the panels tiny LED lights are able to switch themselves on and off organically.

This means they can be incredibly thin – as thin as a pane of glass, or 4 credit cards.

Really? Imagine rolling up your TV and putting it in the drawer when you’ve finished watching it. Sounds silly, but LG showed off an OLED TV that can be folded. It’s a prototype though, so don’t expect to be seeing it anytime soon!

 

Sound and vision captured by Sony

Sony LED glass speaker

Sony showcased its 4K TV offering with an in-depth look at its X93D series. Expect optimum picture qualitythe trick is a new processor and backlit drive that give you sharp brightness and deep black levels.

And Sony’s got your downloading needs covered too with the announcement of Ultra – a new app that lets you buy and download 4K films and programmes straight to your Android TV.

Proving that a smarter audio set up doesn’t have to compromise on style, is Sony’s LED bulb – an LED light bulb that doubles up as a chic speaker. Sony debuted it alongside a slick glass sound speaker that wouldn’t look out of place in the most stylish of homes.

Or if it’s portability you’re after, check out h.ear – a tiny wireless device that Sony is calling the ‘world’s smallest’ high-res speaker.

Follow our CES 2016 coverage at TechTalk