CES Product Round-Up: Home Design Edition

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Not all products showcased at CES were created equal. And despite my rough estimate of a greater half or so companies providing smart-accessories for on-the-go, it was also exciting to spot some non-mobility devices. 

I’ve kept track of some innovations, from big companies and startups alike, that were made specifically for the home. As you’ll see, these products will help make the user’s experience at home more convenient, more integrated and frankly, spiffier. 

Pictured with the Collage is company representative Gerry Holman.

In2uit is an audio company that shares solutions with audiophiles who have requests for systems that provide top-notch sound and classy styling. As a lover of good sound and an appreciator of aesthetics, their ElectroStatz flat-panel speakers caught both my eye and ear. I had to stop and say hello. 

Their Collage model can be the centerpiece of anyone’s living room. It’s large red with black overlaid rectangles make for a clean design and its crisp high range — definitely its most distinctive sound trait — too, was inviting. Barely off the wall the depth of a picture frame, this simplistic sound piece is clearly unobtrusive, other than its big sound. Bluetooth compatible, there’s no need for pressing any buttons to navigate your sound; as a matter of fact, I didn’t notice any buttons at all.

Described by the company as ‘Audio Art,’ which I couldn’t disagree, their flat ES speaker systems will provide desirable sound, while simply looking beautiful. Their Filo is a portable version, equipped with a kick-stand. Again, simple and classy, you’ll agree that In2uit stands out positively in the audio world.

Pictured is brand manager Brian Bell.

Dotz is a small company providing big ideas in the cord and cable management market. The fellow Philadelphia-based team provides solutions to identify, wrap, clip, snap, catch, compile, loop and just about any other means of organizing your cables. With products for mobile wires and cables also, their cordiD-Pro is simple but necessary for all home entertainment systems.

Label and color-code your inputs with these snap-on, reusable plastic pieces. They are universal and will work in any setting. As a recreational musician, I could find use for these when I’m performing with multiple mixer inputs; i.e, a computer plugged into channel one, piano into another, guitar, etc. The colors can be quickly accessed, even in dim settings, for quick no-thought tweaking. In living-room theater settings, they’d suffice just the same.

This is one of those ‘why didn’t I think of that first’ type of products. They’re so easy, cheap and ideal. Until everything becomes wirelessly available, Dotz can be your brand to keep wires in order. With a full-line of products already available for IDing cables, wrapping them and organizing, you will find a means of apending any messy cable situation.

Pictured are the two components of the iOGear Wireless 5×2 HD Matrix video receiver system.

iOGear had a big CES this year. Announcing and demo-ing their wireless 5×2 HD Matrix, they have provided a home TV routing system in an unequaled way. An estimated “three months ahead of their competition,” as per iOGear representative Bill Nguyen, the wireless receiver has the ability of transmitting up to five HD video inputs into not one but two rooms in a particular house; and these signals can be different streaming content (up to a hundred feet) from any of the five inputs.

Connect a cable-box, Blu-ray player, gaming console, VCR, Laser Disc player, you name it– then place the additional small box in your secondary entertainment environment and you’re good to go. The wireless 5×2 HD Matrix will send uncompressed hi-def 1080p content to both devices at the same time, solving modern family’s TV-viewing issues around the globe.

For those who desire an appealing home entertainment environment, it couldn’t get much nicer-looking than when the wireless Matrix is in the center of it all. Soon this technology will be ubiquitous; for now, be the first to have it at home.

Pictured is a TCL representative alongside the Soundbar BTP278.

The TCL company presented their Soundbar home audio speakers. Described as 3D surround, the sound difference between them and more commonly-used speaker options is truly impressive. Design-wise, they are a right fit for anyone’s decor; sound-wise, they deliver greatly and can compete with traditional systems, those afflicted with great clunk.

Their product catalog declares their designs to be “drunk in the sound quality…” and I admit, hearing such vibrant ‘3D’ surround sound emanating from just the speaker bar and one subwoofer left me feeling somewhat inebriated.

In the TCL demo booth, attendees could test-drive the Soundbar system on a flat-screen display. It proved to definitely a ‘hear it to believe it’ experience and honestly, the intense sound blasting in my direction was unexpected. The audio seems to surely wrap around you, providing a 3D surround effect, crisp and powerful — perfect for action movies with captivating audio effects or live concert footage. 

Pictured is VT representatives Vince Xue and Shih-Tung Cheng.

Small Taiwainese company, VT technology has developed a universal remote that actually works, universally. An attachment for your smartphone connects with a dedicated app, allowing users to establish wireless connectivity to a long list of various electronics. Televisions, music players, video players, A/C heating units — they even had a DSLR camera triggering photo snaps with the device. 

The VT remote is easy and covers a huge range of devices. Its bound to ease anyone’s home set-up and as I said, it appears to be much user-friendlier than other universal remote controls that I’ve seen. I feel that we’ll be seeing similar systems offered by big vendors but for now, this is a ‘seen-it-here-first’ type of technology. Best of luck to the young tech venturers.

Pictured is co-founder Bernard Kwan.

Another small company providing a huge home solution is Sonte. Their Sonte Film is a patent pending smart film cover for glass panes. Basically, the film is transparent when inactive but a switch on your iOS or Android app and it magically becomes opaque, providing mood-lighting or privacy on your windows.

Sonte Film is energy efficient and can be completely retrofit for any size glass. It will help to cool down a room, blocking harshly bright sun light; the transition from clear to frosted white happens in about a second and it will definitely be a conversation piece when guests see it in action.

The company is working with Opulis, provider of the smart film technology on the project. This is definitely something to keep an eye on. Once available, interior decorators will most likely prefer this solution over traditional blinds or shades. Again, I wish my best to the young company with a ‘bright’ idea. 

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