The annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas had some pretty big buzz built around it for 2017. With over 150,000 people in attendance there was plenty going on when it came to Audio/Video developments and smart home technology.
Alexa is everywhere
Amazon’s A.I. assistant, Alexa was the star of the show for CES 2017. Boasting a strong year sales-wise in 2016 and still climbing, there is no doubt a bright future for Alexa. Amazon opened up its A.I. platform to developers, and many brands took advantage of that for 2017.
One of the first to embrace the change was Lenovo, debuting an Alexa-enabled speaker. Why is this news? It’s the same as Amazon’s Echo…Right? Nope, the Lenovo Smart Assistant has one defining difference, a high-quality speaker. Available in May at the cost of $179 (which is the same as the Echo) Lenovo partnered with Harman Kardon to bring an option for high-quality audio that is Alexa backed.
Not only was Alexa spotted in more traditional gadgets such as speakers, she also was in some gadgets most wouldn’t expect. Alexa has been integrated with 4K televisions, washers and dryers, vacuum cleaners and even ovens- all of which can now be controlled by voice.
Just about any device that you could imagine benefiting from an A.I. assistant seemed to have Alexa incorporated, showing that Amazon is dominating the marketplace when it comes to A.I. This can be concerning for Google and Apple as they have rolled out similar systems but don’t even come close when it comes to market share.
The new trend, affordable high-quality sound bars
The Onkyo SBT-A500 and the Sony Ht-ST5000 stood out when it came to in home audio sound bars this year. The Sony Atmos was mind-blowing, outputting surround sound effects, but with no surround speakers utilized at all.
The Onkyo’s defining factor was the fact it came with a separate receiver piece which many sound bars do not usually utilize. This opens up more room for additional HDMI inputs and the integration of things like a Chromecast, Apple TV, or a Firestick.
The good news is both of these products are set to be relatively affordable for the quality and compared to sound bars of year’s past- allowing many home theater enthusiasts to enjoy quality sounds with an easy set up.
CES wrap up
Many people who went to CES would say this year lacked any real innovation when it came to audio/video products, but there were definitely products and features that are noteworthy. The most interesting things to keep tabs on over this year will be Alexa enabled products becoming more ingrained in gadgets and products around your home and sound bar technology becoming more affordable and higher-quality overall.
For all your audio/video news make sure to check back on the SSAVI blog for weekly updates in the industry. Or if you would like to know more about any products or trends, don’t hesitate to reach out to Kirk at South Shore Audio Video by filling out a form below or via phone at (617) 283-9932.