Before the doors open to the public, CES 2015 has kicked off with Press Day -- a day full of major announcements, flagship products and new innovations. Here's everything you need to know from the show floor.
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Claire Reilly was a video host, journalist and producer covering all things space, futurism, science and culture. Whether she's covering breaking news, explaining complex science topics or exploring the weirder sides of tech culture, Claire gets to the heart of why technology matters to everyone. She's been a regular commentator on broadcast news, and in her spare time, she's a cabaret enthusiast, Simpsons aficionado and closet country music lover. She originally hails from Sydney but now calls San Francisco home.
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Webby Award Winner (Best Video Host, 2021), Webby Nominee (Podcasts, 2021), Gold Telly (Documentary Series, 2021), Silver Telly (Video Writing, 2021), W3 Award (Best Host, 2020), Australian IT Journalism Awards (Best Journalist, Best News Journalist 2017)
While CES hasn't officially opened to the public, the big brands were sharing their news today as part of the official Press Day. There were plenty of celebrity cameos and gimmicks, but we also learnt a great deal about the major products hitting stores this year.
It's impossible to be everywhere at once with so many announcements, but thankfully we've done the whip around to give you all the major news to come out of the day.
With companies such as LG, Samsung and Panasonic announcing their involvement in the newly-formed UHD alliance, 4K was a big topic, particularly in relation to the arrival of Quantum Dots.
The technology -- which utilises phosphor-based LED backlighting for better image quality -- is being dubbed ColorPrime by LG, while Samsung has gone with SUHD.
While it still utilises an LCD panel (albeit one that has had design input from superstar designer Yves Behar) Samsung said its new SUHD technology uses nanocrystal semiconductors to deliver "the highest color purity and light efficiency available today." For a full brief on the tech behind the picture, check out CNET's take on the flat screen SUHD range (the JS8500 series) here .
Samsung is also matching its Korean competitor with smart TV interface improvements, by making its Tizen OS the 'backbone' of its 2015 Smart TV Hub. Tizen offers a range of new features like an upgraded menu, new apps, Quick Connect to instantly link devices to the TV and PlayStation Now compatibility.
Sony cited its long-history in the 4K space before unveiling its new X900C series 4K TV, with a panel so thin that it's actually slimmer in parts than Sony's Xperia smartphone. The company also highlighted three Cs -- color, contrast and clarity -- with its new X1 processor for its 4K TVs, while a cameo from Netflix (to welcome Sony to its ""="" shortcode="link" asset-type="article" uuid="96d6ede0-d687-4c7e-be36-cf0beebecbdd" slug="netflix-to-recommend-tvs" link-text="" section="news" title="Netflix to recommend TVs" edition="us" data-key="link_bulk_key"> ) brought the focus on internet connectivity baked in from the ground up on Sony's TV range. Android TV will also be built-in as the platform of choice for all 2015 TVs with Google Cast compatibility, an app for Smartwatch control and voice controls that offer "unparalleled precision and accuracy".
Sharp used its presser to promise "the best viewing experience commercially available in 2015" with its Beyond 4K TV -- a flat panel that utilises Sharp's proprietary Quattron yellow subpixel technology to deliver a billion more shades of colour and an image that "begins to approach 8K resolution".
It hasn't been long since Panasonic exited the plasma game, and the manufacturer announced a new range at CES that left a little to be desired. That said, it's pushing hard on its new Life+ Screen smart TV platform with Firefox OS integration coming this year, as well as a Blu-ray player capable of playing native 4K and HDR content.
Speaking of content, Dish targeted the millennials at its presser, announcing its Sling TV over-the-top Internet TV offering. The $20 per month package is billed as a no-commitment service for younger consumers, and includes content from ESPN, CNN and the Disney Channel, all playable on TVs, tablets and consoles (including the Xbox One). Dish also announced a new Joey 4K set-top box, touchscreen remote and multi-room audio support for its app, due in spring.
Panasonic shows off 4K camcorders, smart mirrors, and a single 4K television at CES 2015
Also in mobile, Samsung reinforced last year's Gear VR brand with the announcement of Milk VR for Galaxy smartphones. The free app will feature 30 titles at launch, with new content added regularly. Thanks to "="" producer="" david="" alpert"="" shortcode="link" asset-type="video" uuid="e57a54e6-0bf2-4f6a-a2c8-d28dac6b9fe1" slug="walking-dead-to-team-with-samsung-on-virtual-reality-content-for-gear-vr" link-text="a celebrity cameo from " section="videos" title="'Walking Dead' executive producer to team with Samsung on virtual-reality content for Gear VR" edition="us" data-key="link_bulk_key"> , fans can expect to get some virtual zombie reality too. In the PC space, Samsung went for pocket-sized power with a new Portable SSD T1 -- a bus-powered external drive that's smaller than a business card with 1TB of storage.
Over at Lenovo, the forks and screwdrivers were coming out thanks to the new Lenovo Yoga Tab2 with AnyPen that allows you to use any metal implement as a stylus, while the Lenovo LaVie Z series offered CES visitors the chance to lift the world's lightest 13-inch laptop.
The big name in home automation, Nest, announced a suite of new "="" partners"="" shortcode="link" asset-type="article" uuid="16f5f03f-f6e1-4fb8-aaf9-863446272f59" slug="nest-kicks-off-ces-2015-with-new-smart-home-partnerships" link-text="" section="news" title="Nest kicks off CES 2015 with new smart home partnerships" edition="us" data-key="link_bulk_key"> at CES this year including LG, Philips Hue and August and UniKey smart lock systems, while Qualcomm talked up the Internet of Things with chips designed to work with connected cars, health devices and even lightbulbs. Panasonic was also spruiking home automation and the connected home with an app-controlled expandable home monitoring system.
Elsewhere in the home, appliances were a big focus for both LG and Samsung. LG bolstered its multi-door fridge offering from 2014 with a Double Door-in-Door refrigerator , as well as a Twin Wash system featuring a mini washing machine that sits beneath selected LG washers to run smaller loads or delicates.
Samsung revealed the second phase of its Chef Collection, first launched in 2014, with a matching app and a customised tablet for appliance owners. There was also a duel-cavity oven on show, an Activewash washing machine with built-in sink for pre-treating and a power-bot vacuum.
The 7 coolest things Sony announced at CES 2015 (pictures)
Continuing its 4K TV message, Sony unveiled its new 4K Handycam , which it says is 30 percent smaller and 20 percent lighter at 50 percent less cost, coming in at $1,000. Sony President Mike Fasulo quipped that it was "4K for 1K". Sony has also brought 4K to its Action Cam , with image stabilisation three times better than the previous model (and an on-stage cameo from Tony Hawk to boot).
Panasonic was impressive on the imaging front, thanks to a new camcorder line-up (7 US models plus 4 available in other regions) including the top-of-the-line WX970 -- the brand's first consumer 4K camera, complete with HDR shooting.
The brand also showed off the Lumix CM1 -- a high-quality compact camera, complete with 1-inch sensor and 28mm Leica lens, combined with an in-built Android phone. Dubbed a "communication camera" by the brand, it really is more camera than phone, but it still supports 4G LTE.
Audio and Content Streaming
As part of its Life Space UX range, Sony announced the Symphonic Light Speaker, which lights up like a lamp while playing music "in all directions". The brand's Hi-Res Audio range also received some air time, with wireless speakers, high-end headphones and the Walkman ZX2 all getting a play.
Samsung also went 360 degrees with the WAM7500 speaker -- an egg-shaped design that offers an "omnidirectional sound experience" more akin to a "lightbulb" than a traditional speaker according to the brand. And from eggs to milk -- Samsung's Milk Music service will also be coming to its wireless multi-room products this year.
In the portable space, UE updated its Boom speaker with the up-sized UE Megaboom, while Panasonic brought back its Technics hi-fi brand after a 4-year hiatus.
If you're keen to stream, Google is now here to help. The search giant's Google Cast software will let you stream from apps like Pandora or Rdio, direct to compatible speakers (from the likes of Sony, LG and Denon, due out in spring).
With Smartwatch 3, Sony became the first manufacturer to bring GPS to an Android Wear device. While Sony President Mike Fasulo showed off a stainless steel band, the Smartwatch 3 will also be able to match a watch strap of your choice.
Lenovo also jumped into the game with the water-resistant Vibe Band VB10 (complete with e-ink display), while Hyundai teased Android Wear and Apple Watch versions of its Blue Link app for wearables. Soon, you'll be able to say "OK Google, start my car".
Plenty more to come...
Things will keep ramping up in Las Vegas, with the show set to officially open to the public tomorrow. But it's not just the massive displays from the major players that will be grabbing attention -- CNET will also be checking out everything across the show, from new wearables and mobile devices to home entertainment, imaging, smart home tech, auto innovations and all the weird and wonderful things in between.
You can find everything you need to know from CNET's dedicated CES landing page, where you'll find links to live blogs, hands-on product demos, plenty of video from the show and extensive galleries giving you insider's view of the show floor.