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4K TVs, Broadwell chips, smart homes to dominate CES 2015

Image: CEA

5 January 2015

For years, consumer technology has resided in two rooms: the office and the living room. At CES 2015 in Las Vegas, expect it to colonise the rest of the home.

That’s not to say that you won’t find traditional PCs and televisions this week but consumer firms have moved beyond those mature, traditional markets into mobile technology, wearables, and cars. This year, the theme of the show may very well be the connected home, as smartphones and tablets take on a new role as control devices for the Internet of Things.

Here are a few names to keep an eye out for: EchoStar (home automation), Intel (new Broadwell PCs), Ford (its new SYNC3 entertainment system) and Samsung (just about everything).

Smart home becomes a networked playground
There was a time when connected home technology was accessible only to hardcore hobbyists and wealthy households with the means to hire custom installers. That time has passed.

Until recently, most smart home products depended on a central hub for control. That’s the established way of doing things, and EchoStar, the company behind the Slingbox and Dish Network’s Hopper set-top box, will be showing what looks to be a very complete connected home system. Dubbed Sage, the set-top will be capable of handling lighting controls, door locks, security cameras, thermostats, and all manner of sensors. Despite that complexity, EchoStar is positioning Sage as a DIY system.

We also expect new additions to Belkin’s WeMo home automation line, and possibly D-Link’s connected-home ecosystem as well. Netgear is supposed to ship its new Arlo home-security camera. Note the trend: networking companies expanding into connected-home peripherals. On that front, we could also see more Wave 2 802.11ac routers join the ranks of the Asus RT-AC87U and Netgear Nighthawk X4.

Meanwhile mobile devices like smartphones and tablets are stepping in to replace those hubs, controlling products like a new wave of smart LEDs we expect to compete with the Philips Hue product line.

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