CES 2014 Gives Home Theater Gear a Makeover (Finally!)

Living Room tech is known for it’s slow progress, which can feel like a snail’s pace in the swing of electronic technology. This seems to be especially true with so many innovative new products constantly springing up in other categories. This year however, CES stepped it up a few notches and instead of displaying extreme new products, 2014 brought with it an exciting range of newer models. The latest gear turned out with some much-appreciated, functionally sound updates that made us breathe a sigh of relief. So here’s what went down at the latest CES trade show.

 One of the most buzzed-about products showcased a revamped oldie but a goodie, over-the-air TV. None of it was anything we hadn’t seen before, but there was significant improvement among the new over-the-air options from CES 2014, Tablo, Simple TV and Channel Master’s DVR+. Another product worth mentioning was The Hisense’s Pulse Pro. This new “Android” TV seemed to pave the direction for Google TV progression. Enhancements like a fully redesigned homepage and a commendable mic and gesture control, made this product worth the extra details. Also, the new Roku TV’s from Hisense and TCL deserve an honorable mentioning, especially with the added benefit of uncluttered video streaming without the need of an extra box. As far as home audio is concerned, sound bars seem to be having a moment that has everyone with a home theater, chasing the Sonosound bandwagon.

 The dominating popularity of Sonosound proved to be a battlefield for everyone coming out with their own rival. A variety of traditional sound bars were in abundance but there seemed to be a new trend of pedestal type bars that could sit under your TV instead in front of it. Sony’s Sound Base was by far the most visually attractive competitor, but in terms of action, it couldn’t hold a candle to LG’s Sound Plate which included a built in Blu-Ray Player and wireless subwoofer which had spectators intrigued. The competition was definitely refreshing in this category, and the pedestal sound bars did have one clear advantage: not blocking your TV set.

 One of the highlights of the show was the Playstation Now, Sony’s latest and greatest addition to its game console collection. The new console is supposed to stream content that can work with PS3, PS4, PS Vita and Sony Bravia TV’s. Sony also hinted at making the new software compatible with Cloud TV services, but that plan isn’t yet set in stone. The PS3 and PS4 were included with LG TV’s that will let you access content from your Hopper DVR without the need of another box. Although a little late in the game, following just behind the release of Xbox one, the Playstation Now is definitely worth a little extra wait.

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