Wearables are white-hot at CES 2014. So they're doomed, right?

LAS VEGAS -- This year's Consumer Electronics Show will see dozens upon dozens of wearable technology products vie to become this year's breakout device.

And most -- if not all -- will be forgotten in the coming months.

That's because when all the booths are taken down, the convention lights are dimmed, and the last of the tech executives board their flights, we all finally escape the reality-distortion field that is Las Vegas and CES.

See also: CES 2014: What to expect

A look back at past confabs shows that the hot item at CES is a … Read more

Sony takes another stab at glasses-free 3D TV

LAS VEGAS--Are you interested in 3D, but hate the glasses? For a second year in a row, Sony is showing off glasses-free 3D TVs at CES.

There are two displays here: a 24-inch LCD capable of 1080p and a 46-inch LCD with up to 4K resolution. Adjacent literature was at least truthful in admitting that the autostereoscopic 3D setup is showing at a "HD equivalent" quality. This is because the parallax barrier, which causes the 3D effect, effectively halves the resolution to ensure each eye is receiving separate images.

My observations of the 24-inch glasses-free 3D TV … Read more

Samsung touts even smarter TVs and mobile devices (live blog)

LAS VEGAS--Samsung Electronics kicked off its press conference today, as expected, highlighting its smart TV lineup and what the company is calling "Smart Interaction" technology, which gives viewers control over their set by waving, shouting, or otherwise using gestures and voice.

Next up, also as many expected, Samsung unveiled its "ultimate TV," a 55-inch "super" OLED TV. And it went on to showcase new mobile devices, including the Samsung Galaxy Note on AT&T, Galaxy Tab 7.7 on Verizon, and a second-generation Series 9 notebook.

You can replay the entire live blog … Read more

CES not always the greatest guide for commercial success

LAS VEGAS--We've seen it more than a few times.

A company at the Consumer Electronics show wows the tech crowd in Las Vegas with its new product. It's sure to be a hit, the tech press concludes. Then everyone heads home, gets some sleep, and months later we ask ourselves, "Whatever happened to (fill in the blank)?"

Despite the massive size and reach of CES, the show can actually be quite insular. With so many companies looking to display their latest and greatest products, the media is left scrambling to cover as much as they possibly … Read more

Best and worst stereoscopic 3D console games

It sometimes seems that the only time people talk about 3D TV lately is to knock it.

The much-hyped 3D revolution hasn't exactly set the world on fire after it kicked off at CES 2010, and even though plenty of new television sets are 3D compatible, the actual amount of 3D content available remains slim (and with 3D losing its luster at the box office, it may become slimmer still).

One possible exception is stereoscopic 3D video games, currently supported by both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Stereoscopic 3D feels like a perfect fit for this technology, which hypothetically only needs to render the 3D information already present in nearly every game (with the exception of, for example, 2D side-scrolling games).

On the PC side, stereoscopic 3D has been around for several years, thanks to Nvidia's 3D Vision platform, which uses compatible hardware and active shutter 3D glasses to enable you to at least try and play almost any PC game. Some games work better than others, and chances are you don't have the right PC hardware, but it's definitely fun to play around with different games (Dragon Age, Portal, etc.) and try your luck. … Read more

The 404 960: Where we tweet from our seats (podcast)

Leaked from 404 Podcast 960:

Facebook exploit exposes Mark Zuckerberg's private photos. Theaters set aside tweet seats for Twitter users. Finally: an app that can detect Photoshopping. Rumor: Apple to release 32-55 inch TVs next year.… Read more

The 404 953: Where we cut the blue wire (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 Podcast episode:

An Xbox Live dashboard update coming in two weeks enables gestures and voice control, along with a redesign and cloud storage for profiles and game saves. The Xbox 720 is rumored to be announced at CES next year, but our guest Russ Frushtick thinks it's more likely to be unveiled at E3. Updates include a faster CPU, more RAM, and a significant size reduction. A nerd cheater builds a Lego machine that autotaps his PS3 controller to level up in Skyrim. Universal Music is suing Grooveshark for copyright infringement, claiming CEO Sam Tarantino and other executives required employees to upload protected tracks. An energy drink based on Facebook, called Facedrink, infringes on Facebook's trademark of last year that prevents anyone from using the word "face" in a telecommunications context.… Read more

3DTV sales rise, but do owners care about the third dimension?

Television vendors are selling more 3DTV sets than ever, but whether those buyers are actually using the 3D is a major question mark right now.

Research firm NPD's DisplaySearch unit reported today that 6.6 million 3D LCD TVs shipped during the third quarter, representing a gain of 27 percent over shipments during the second quarter. DisplaySearch expects 3DTV shipments to jump 30 percent in the fourth quarter. All told, the firm expects 21.5 million 3D televisions to ship this year.

That success has helped 3D televisions cut into 2D market share. In the first quarter of 2011, … Read more

How 3D content works: Blu-ray vs. broadcast

As 3D content becomes ever more available, the differences in how it works become important. Just like all HD isn't the same, all 3D isn't the same either.

More than a simple "how it works," this guide will help you understand why some 3D looks better than others.… Read more

3D glasses: Big sales opportunity or big hassle?

3D glasses are a double-edged sword for TV manufacturers. According to NPD's 3D 360° Monitor, an aversion to wearing glasses is the second most popular reason consumers give for not wanting to purchase a 3D TV. But for those who do buy 3D TVs, glasses represent one of the best accessory sale opportunities TV manufacturers have had since the flat-panel mount. Ring up a family pack of four glasses and you can easily reach the price of what some manufacturers charge for a flat-panel 2D television by itself.

Indeed, rather than treat glasses as a throwaway, Samsung recently revamped its 3D glasses, cramming an impressive amount of technology into a wearable product 25 percent lighter than its predecessor.

The electronics giant has added a circular frame that now easily grasps around various head sizes, enables a brighter 3D picture, accommodates prescriptions, switches to Bluetooth, and adds a charging gauge, all while keeping the price to about $100 per pair.

But what if there were a way to sell an accessory to go with those accessories? Samsung is taking a crack at just that, introducing a product at CES and showing it once again at the IFA Global Press Conference in Alicante, Spain.

It's a $200 black "top hat" charger--so nicknamed for its cylindrical shape centered atop a base plate about a third of the way from its bottom--that enables owners to inductively charge up to four pairs of Samsung's new, lighter-weight 3D glasses. The high-tech spectacles surround the glossy cylinder, one atop the next, in a spiraling statue of tolerated technology. … Read more