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Preview Edition - IFA International

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  • Berlin
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  • September
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CONSUMER LIFESTYLE TRENDS overview and help users to find what they are searching for. At this year’s IFA, all the major TV manufacturers are presenting new types of controls to help viewers make the most of what is being offered on the web and on TV. Many of these new solutions also enable users to design the start pages and app overviews on the screen to meet their own individual requirements. Meanwhile, a number of manufacturers have joined the Smart TV Alliance, which defines specifications for accessing the internet using smart TVs. The advantages are obvious: providers who want their content to be available on TVs from a number of different makers only have to rely on one technical platform. Joint support of open standards such as HTML5 ensures comprehensive functionality. Furthermore, test procedures that are available to all manufacturers help to continually improve the technical quality of internet services. Operating systems from the world of mobile digital devices are starting to become an established feature of TVs too. IFA will present the first smart TVs running Android or WebOS, dramatically increasing the range of available apps. The latest generation of smart TVs also offers impressive image and data processing capabilities: equipped with multi-core processors and powerful graphics chips, they provide rapid access to web pages, smooth controls and jitter-free videos from the web. YOUR WISH IS MY COMMAND! … Well not quite yet, but almost, as gesture and voice control become commonplace. Remote controls have been with us for a long time, but now, due to the many new functions available with the latest generation of smart TVs, they are reaching the limits of their capabilities. Consequently all the leading manufacturers are working to develop new types of controls, such as remote controls with keypads on their flipside, or touchpads for swiping movements. Some infrared transmitters also operate like pointers. You can move them to control a cursor on the screen. The latest television sets can even recognise gestures The trend towards more intelligent wearables applies not only to sports and leisure but also to tele-medical applications such as hand movements. Voice recognition is another modern method for controlling devices, and can now operate in an increasing number of ways. Only one year ago, TVs that could respond to vocal commands were seen as state of the art, but since then the voice recognition vocabulary has expanded considerably. Some sets can now even recognize words that are not from a strictly defined vocabulary. YOU WEAR IT WELL! WEARABLE DEVICES A MAJOR TREND AT IFA Smart watches and other wearable devices equipped with sensors and displays and worn on the wrist are designed to interact with mobile phones, measure bodily functions, movements and ambient variables, and transmit data for subsequent evaluation. IFA is presenting a swathe of new smart watches whose built-in sensors can, for example count the number of paces walked or run, measures the heart rate, and even give blood oxygen levels, as a means of monitoring a fitness programme. Some models can even monitor sleep patterns. For those who like to hear music during their workouts it is not even necessary to wrap a band around their wrist. All they need are specialised earphones with built-in heart rate sensors for sporting activities. The trend towards more intelligent wearables applies not only to sports and pleasure activities but in future will also be used to support tele-medical applications, enabling older people to continue living in familiar surroundings for longer. SOUND IDEAS: WIRELESS SYSTEMS AND A TREND TOWARDS HI-RES AUDIO Loudspeakers that use Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to maintain radio contact with their playback units for producing outstanding sound are among the latest trends at IFA and it is almost impossible to list all the different versions. Some rely solely on a wireless system, while others also have additional docking stations for mobile playback units. Among the sound sources available for wireless connectivity are smart phones, NAS drives, computers and tablets. The trend for enjoying music while on the move has also boosted the demand for headphones. For MP3 players, video players, smart phones and tablet PCs alike, headphones are almost indispensable, and they are now available in a vast range of different types and specifications, from basic earplugs to high-tech overear models. In-ear phones Pioneer Electronics SE-MX9-S can be adapted individually to fit the user’s ear. Some of the high-end units even operate using a number of built-in transducers, specially designed for different frequency ranges in a similar way to hifi loudspeakers. Extralightweight headphones can be used for several hours without exerting unnecessary pressure, and the designers ensure that even the smallest product is a work of art. In addition to excellent sound reproduction, the noise cancellation function is becoming increasingly popular. Ambient noise is efficiently suppressed in both in-ear phones and the larger over-ear models. An interesting trend is becoming apparent Samsung Multiroom Speaker M5 in the case of the larger headphones. In the past they were almost exclusively accessories for hi-fi systems in the living room, but now they are often seen on the street as well. The manufacturers have designed almost all the new over-ear headphones with electrical values that enable them to produce a powerful sound from mobile music players, smart phones and tablets too. High-end sound quality will also be an important factor at IFA 2014, with an increasing number of devices supporting high definition sound formats capable of playing recorded music that has been coded at very high bit rates. Special online outlets now make music available for 24

CONSUMER LIFESTYLE TRENDS Interconnected CE devices and their connection to home appliances, the heating system or the lights is set to be of even greater importance in the coming years. downloading that has a definition many times better than that of CDs. The result: totally uncompromising listening pleasure. 3D PRINTING Another device that is certain to attract a lot of attention at IFA 2014 has only just begun to reach a wider public: the 3D printer. Even the compact-sized table-top units can conjure up amazingly delicate objects from their nozzles. These include cogwheels, toys and decorated shoes. Some can even be used to process foodstuffs, including chocolate and sugar, instead of plastic, as a way of creating original and tasty delicacies. It is already apparent that an exciting market for the future is emerging. EYES, EARS AND OTHER SENSES FOR COMPUTERS Notebooks and other portable computers are now acquiring natural, human-like senses, making them even easier to interact with. For example, among the exhibits at IFA is the first notebook series with built-in 3-D cameras capable of registering spatial depth, enabling them to recognise an almost unlimited range of gestures. Another trend among notebooks is that an increasing number of them are equipped with Ultra HD resolution displays, which are invaluable, for example, for editing videos that have been shot with the new superfine pixel format. THE CONNECTED HOME Interconnected CE devices and their connection to home appliances, the heating system or the lights is set to be of even greater importance in the coming years. PCs, notebooks and network hard drives can already store enormous archives of digital media. The home network makes them available to mobile and stationary terminals, such as smart phones and tablet PCs as well as to Smart TVs. Media traffic is facilitated by standards such as UPnP and DLNA: the relevant devices can automatically recognise one another and exchange digital content via the home network. An increasing number of cameras and camcorders can also transmit their recorded material directly via W-LAN to the home network, in order to make it available on the internet or to relay it to a TV screen. The trend towards networked media usage has also had a lasting impact on the hi-fi world. Nowadays a vast range of music components and surround-sound systems can be linked to the home network, either wired or wirelessly, in order to access and play back centrallystored collections of music. Most audio devices linked to the home network can also receive internet radio. In this way the web is currently evolving into one of the most important digital distribution channels for radio broadcasting. Users can access their home networks while on the move in order to retrieve data that has been stored on the network, or to set a timer to record a TV programme. Interconnected CE devices and home appliances open up possibilities for many other applications too. Networking supports a more economical use of energy and also improves security within the home. With its many products, solutions and demonstrations, IFA 2014 provides ideal opportunities for visitors to experience all this for themselves. 1 2 3 4 1 Panasonic LUMIX G DMC-GH4 2 Panasonic HX-A500 3 Beurer BF700 Bluetooth diagnostic scale 4 Garmin vivofit IFA International • Monday 1 st September 2014 25

IFA International