SEARCH

Entries in TVs (2)

Saturday
Jan122013

CES 2013 Wrap-Up: The Must-See Gadgets, Innovations and Crazy from the Giant Tech Show

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images(LAS VEGAS) -- We came, we saw, we survived. ABC News spent the past week scouring CES 2013, one of the largest consumer electronics shows in the world. With more than 1.9 million net square feet of show floor space and 33,000 exhibitors, it's impossible to see everything at the event, but we did see some pretty incredible, innovative and downright crazy products.

Here are some of the best things we saw this week.

1. Audi's Car Parks Itself

If there's one thing that blew our collective mind this week it was Audi's piloted parking demo. We've seen the autonomous driving demos before, but Audi showed off how to tap a button on your iPhone, have the car start, drive itself out of the garage and pick you up. Then you can get out of the car and tell it to park itself right back where it came from. Pretty futuristic stuff, but while Audi can legally test the autonomous cars in Nevada, the future is about a decade away for everyone else, Audi told us.

2. Ultra HD or 4K TVs

They aren't self-driving cars but Samsung, Sony, Toshiba, Vizio and more dazzled with their new 4K or Ultra HD TVs. The TVs all have four times the resolution of current 1080p TVs, which means the picture looks incredibly crisp and vivid. In particular, Samsung's S9 TV, which sits in a frame that looks like an easel, impressed us. The company displayed 85- and 110-inch models, and the content on the screen was jaw-dropping. Samsung's version will be out in the spring, but no word on the pricing.

3. Eye Tracking

Sometimes a mouse or a touchscreen just isn't enough. A company named Tobii showed off how it could use your eye as a mouse. Look at an area on a map and use the scroll wheel, and it will zoom right in on where you want -- not some place far off east or west. Look down, and you can scroll when you are done reading. It's not the first time eye tracking has been shown, but it is one of the first times the demonstrations have worked so well. Tobii will start selling its Rex computer accessory to software developers soon and hopes to bring out a consumer version before the end of the year.

4. Fitness and Health Gadgets

From a fork that vibrates when you are eating too fast to a number of brand-new devices that track your activity, fitness and health-oriented gadgets were one of the biggest things we saw at the show. FitBit's Flex is a stylish wristband that tracks your steps taken, calories burned and hours slept, and then syncs them with your phone, while the $99 HapiFork pairs with your phone to tell you about your eating speed and meals. And yes, it vibrates when you eat too fast.

5. The Oddities

Mind-controlled cat ears. Snooki's Couture headphones with built-in earrings and her bling-bling shoe landline phone. And a potty with a built-in iPad holder. Do we need to say more?

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May092012

TVs and Cameras' Life Spans Greater Than Other Electronic Gadgets

DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images(YONKERS, N.Y.) -- How long will your favorite electronic gadget continue to function before the digital reaper calls it to the junk heap?

According to a recent survey by Consumer Reports, the answer differs widely, depending on what kind of gizmo you have.  The repair rate -- meaning failure rate -- for laptop computers three to four years old, for example, is 36 percent.  That’s higher than the rate for desktops (32 percent), LCD televisions (15 percent) or plasma TVs (10 percent) of comparable age.

Laptops, says the magazine, are “among the most repair-prone products you can buy” -- on par with the most troublesome appliances, including riding lawn mowers and side-by-side refrigerators (The survey looked at other kinds of goods besides consumer electronics).

“TVs and cameras are pretty reliable,” says Mark Kotkin, Consumer Reports’ director of survey research.  “Computers less so.”

Digital cameras, he says, typically live eight years before they break, making them among the longest-lived of any gadgets surveyed.

Respondents labeled Gateway’s desktops repair-prone, but Apple’s as reliable.  Reliable, too, were Toshiba and Acer laptops.  LCD TVs made by Panasonic, Sanyo and Sylvania were less likely to die than those made by Westinghouse, Polaroid and Mitsubishi.

Anthony Scarsella, chief gadget officer of Gazelle.com, a website where consumers can resell their broken, outmoded or otherwise cast-off electonics, says Apple’s products are among the best made and least likely to break.  The reason people sell old iPhones through Gazelle isn’t so much because the phones break as because owners want to upgrade to a newer model, Scarsella says.

Even the life cycle of an iPhone, though, is limited: Its built-in battery, according to website eHow, can take only so many rechargings and begins to die after several hundred chargings, or two or three years.  At that point, the owner faces the choice of paying Apple to put in a new battery or buying a new phone.

It’s easier to buy a new model, says Scarcella, and the cost, especially if you resell your dead phone, is not significantly higher.

“The iPhone, the iPad, the MacBook Air, the Macbook Pro -- all hold their value very well,” he says.  “When you sell them, you can get a pretty good return.”

He says he does see dead and broken gadgets, but fewer all the time, since consumers, having wised up to their gadgets’ resale values, are taking better care of them.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio