The 50th Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is officially history, but the technology previewed to the over 180,000 attendees is coming soon to a retailer near you. While there were key themes like self-driving vehicles (which are coming very soon), drones (which are everywhere), virtual reality (already available with even more headsets being released) and augmented reality (coming to consumers this year), there was also a lot of cool tech that will change your home this year. Here’s a roundup of some cool tech and gadgets that can be used to upgrade your home (and life) this year.
Walking around the mammoth convention center and hotel show floors of CES, the size and clarity of the 4K (and higher) TVs continue to grow every year. And the good news for consumers is that the prices continue to drop. The hottest TV at CES 2017 was the LG W7 OLED TV, which has been dubbed “wallpaper” TV because it’s so thin (0.15 inches) it won’t stand on its own and requires a wall to be used. The secret to the design is that all of the guts of the TV are housed in the Dolby Atmos sound bar, which also includes I/O ports for connecting your Xbox One S, PlayStation 4 Pro and other devices. While this TV is expensive ($10,000 for the 65-inch model and $20,000 for the 77-inch), the cost will drop just as 4K and HD TVs have done. And over the years it’s easy to envision wallpaper TV becoming the new standard in homes.
Paying for satellite and cable bills is so last century. With more people consuming episodic entertainment and movies across digital platforms like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu through SmartTVs, game consoles and platforms like Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, Android and iOS, cord-cutting is the new norm. There’s now a way to access free local channels through an app. Mohu has a $150 wireless antenna that captures all of your local channels and transfers them to an app that can be viewed on any platform for free. Back in the day, antennas were the only way to view ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and PBS, so this gadget is both old school and modern. And also ties into the general obsession with everything retro, including game consoles, record players and clothes.
Remote controls are quickly becoming a thing of the past. While many have turned to the ubiquitous smartphone or tablet to control everything in the house, that’s just another thing to drain your battery. Seven Hugs has created the one remote to rule them all. Its Smart Remote automatically recognizes over 25,000 devices (and counting). Unlike other “smart remotes” from days past, there’s no info to input. Simply point at your Xbox or Apple TV or LG TV or smart thermostat and make any adjustments on the touch screen display. If you have a collection of remotes gathering dust on an end table in your entertainment room, this is a great way to declutter. It’s also simple enough that anyone can use it – even your parents or grandparents. This $300 remote is currently available for pre-order for $230.
Nvidia has been making graphics cards hidden inside your laptops and PCs for decades. Now the chip maker wants to own the living room. The second generation Shield TV ($300) offers a replacement for your Xbox One or PlayStation 4. The new device ships with a game controller and supports your entire library of Android and GeForce Now games. You can beam those mobile games, PC and Mac titles to your big screen in 4K. New for the Shield TV is high dynamic range (HDR) support, which brings everything from games to movies to life with accurate lighting effects, more vivid colors and darker darks. Shield TV also supports Google Assistant. And you can watch movies and other entertainment through the device.
Craft beers continue to grow in popularity. And with more people setting up their own bars in man caves and rec rooms, it’s now possible to brew your own beer at home. PicoBrew has made it simple to craft your own beer safely using eco-friendly grain and PicoPaks. The $800 Pico Home Brewing System takes two hours to brew 5 liters of beer. You can choose from over 40 award-winning craft beers from around the world (which come in PicoPaks that take out all of the guesswork). An app makes brewing beer as simple as three steps: brew your PicoPak, ferment in key and carbonate. And the kit comes with its own cleaning system to ensure everything remains sanitized. At CES Anheuser-Busch and Keurig announced they’ll also be developing a home brewing kit, but release date and pricing details weren’t revealed.
More homes are upgrading to voice-supported assistants like Google Home and Amazon Echo, which are gaining support from new technology companies every day. Chinese robotics company Ewaybot is taking that concept many steps forward, combining a working robot with two working arms with six degrees of articulation and a pair of three-pronged “hands” that can grasp items, with an assistant you can communicate with through voice and facial recognition. The Moro robot takes things a step further than even The Jetsons imagined by performing chores like pouring drinks, folding laundry and even helping grab groceries off the shelf. The white cylindrical robot is four feet tall and weighs 77 pounds. The only thing preventing this robot from entering the mainstream today is its whopping $30,000 price. But that will drop as technology evolves. And a future where robots help run the household is clearly in sight.