El Gaucho Steakhouse

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El Gaucho Steakhouse

You did know we did commercial sound systems for restaurants, hotels and nightclubs - didn't you?

Beautiful Restaurant with a great sounding audio system.

Beautiful Restaurant with a great sounding audio system.

Whilst I've been in Amsterdam at Integrated Systems Europe the H3 Digital Team have been busy installing a great sounding audio system at El Gaucho's Steakhouse in Patong Beach, Phuket.

What a view.

What a view.

Our favourite steakhouse.

Our favourite steakhouse.

This place is a first class restaurant for meat lovers, just take a look at that stunning view (I'm not just talking about the Butchers Fridge).

The Butchers Shop.

The Butchers Shop.

Stunning Design (And a great sound system).

Stunning Design (And a great sound system).

So what sort of music setup does it have, we don't want to give away too much of our magic sauce but the symetrix system allows us to balance and use a digital DSP which we can access over the internet if required to program, balance and equalise the system.  The install was done in conjunction with Ben Walters at Fuzion Far East who work on ALL the premier nightcub, restaurant and commercial sound systems in Bangkok - We are a trusted Phuket Partner for them and we've been working over a decade together.

 

 

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Integrated Systems Europe Day 3 - Control4

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Integrated Systems Europe Day 3 - Control4

Control4 billed themselves at this years ISE as: A leading provider of personalized automation and control solutions, allows you to control virtually any device in a home or business, automatically. Founded in 2003, the company mission is to deliver an elegant and more affordable way to control and automate lighting, music, video, security and energy in a single room or throughout the entire home.

Control4 Home Control booth at ISE

They recently bought speaker manufacturer Triad, who's in-wall and in-ceiling speakers have been popular in home cinemas, especially in the USA. Control4 say of Triad:Triad loudspeakers deliver world-class audio performance into every room in the home - without compromise. From the finest Dolby Atmos home theater to high performance in-ceiling loudspeakers for rooms where a bulky speaker isn’t an option, Triad has superior sound for every room in your home.

 

Control4 Stand at ISE 2018
Control4 Booth

They showed their range of touchscreens, room controllers, Switches, Dimmers, Keypads, Remotes and Networking/Routers.  For me their UI does appear dated now and I'm not keen on the lock down into one system approach that sees equipment get aged out quickly with no replacement.  

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Integrated Systems Europe Day 2 -  Additional Thoughts

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Integrated Systems Europe Day 2 - Additional Thoughts

ISE 2018 Attendance Badge

ISE 2018 Attendance Badge

I'm at the end of Day 2 of the show (These posts run a few days late as and when I can get the posts up) and it's apparent how bright our future is going to be. 




I'm talking about displays again, If I hadn't seen some of the technology at the show I simply wouldn't believe it was available or ready for market. Again and again I caught myself saying wow.

Clear Advertising Display 

Clear Advertising Display 

Moores Law has real world implications for processing and LED technology that will accelerate as time goes on, in a similar way to how far phones have come on in the last decade - display technology is on a similar curve.

Advertising LEDs

Advertising LEDs

Moores Law broadly in laymans terms stated that every 2 years electronics/computing power would double.  Whether that means faster chips, smaller chips, smaller LEDs or a halving of the price for the same tech, its generally been the case for the last 40 years or so.   The effect on the LED displays are they are getting bigger, higher definition and cheaper, all at the same time.

One of the many beautiful displays on show at ISE 2018

One of the many beautiful displays on show at ISE 2018

I cant wait to see where all these super crisp, high resolution, colourful displays end up - It has the real potential to make our spaces more fun, whether thats at home, in the office or on the side of a building.

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Integrated Systems Europe Day 2 - Crestron

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Integrated Systems Europe Day 2 - Crestron

Crestron had a huge presence at the ISE show, much bigger than I would have thought - They have a much larger spread of products than I remember with a hand in just about every sort of integrated technology.  I'm not a fan of their residential systems, rock solid but an absolute pain to program but can see it certainly has a place in the industry where you are going to plug it in and leave it or have the expertise on hand (and on payroll) to reprogram when required.

Prior to the show Crestron's Press Release stated (Italics):

Crestron had a strong show presence at ISE 2018
Crestron Booth

We all know the workplace has changed dramatically: a dispersed workforce; open floor plans; AV on the network; and reliance on mobile devices – not just to communicate, but also to present and collaborate. With these innovations come new challenges.
 
Join us at ISE 2018 and see how Crestron is meeting these challenges with: 

 

  • DM® NVX, the standard for network AV, and the new DM XiO Director, which provides browser-based monitoring, management, and control of DM NVX endpoints
  • Workplace Technology Solutions Ready-to-deploy, pre-packaged Workplace Technology Solutions that make it easy to deliver consistent meeting, presentation, and conferencing experiences on a large scale. Easy to purchase and deploy, they support network security protocols and cloud-based provisioning. 
  • Crestron Mercury® – the only open UC solution
  • XiO Cloud, our complete cloud-based provisioning and management platform
  • Crestron Audio Solutions, including new network audio and cloud-based provisioning
  • AirMedia® 2.0, the fastest, easiest, most manageable and secure wireless presentation technology, built into our room solutions
  • All-new FlipTops featuring a dashboard forward design for easier access to cables and connectors and one-touch cable and compartment door retraction
  • Crestron AirBoard, which enables viewing of electronic whiteboard content on any display device
  • MPC 3-Series, the first wall mount presentation controllers with an integrated control system and capacitive touch

On the Residential side of our stand, see demonstrations that highlight the lightning deployment speed and efficiency of Crestron Home Automation Systems, whilst showcasing the customization and incredible user experience they provide. We’ll be debuting several new products:

  • HR-310 and TSR-310 Handheld Remotes, our most elegantly and ergonomically designed and advanced remotes yet
  • Horizon keypads, which offer designer aesthetics, superior button feel, four button styles, and multi-color backlighting in highly-configurable single-gang models
  • Crestron Pyng®, now with support for integration of video control and all the benefits of DigitalMedia™
  • Beautiful Crestron Shades including new Horizontal Sheers, now available in EMEA
  • DM 4KZ cards and endpoints, which bring 4K60, 4:4:4, and HDR to existing DM infrastructure
Crestrons new range of Smart Keypads

Crestrons new range of Smart Keypads


They used the show to debut their new range of Horizon Keypads at ISE 2018.

Available in highly configurable single-gang models that combine up to four across, the new line offers designer aesthetics, superior button feel, four different button styles, programmable multi-color backlighting, interchangeable custom top and bottom trim pieces, and Cresnet® wired communications. Crestron keypads deliver an advanced custom control solution as part of a complete Crestron smart home

Home Automation Keypads

Home Automation Keypads

These stunningly beautiful keypads provide Crestron residential dealers, as well as interior designers and architects, with incredible flexibility in both control and design. Inviting to the touch and appealing to the eye, Horizon keypads deliver a premier user experience combined with bespoke design for homeowners.
— Michael Short, Global Residential Marketing Manager at Crestron.

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Integrated Systems Europe Day 2 - Zwave

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Integrated Systems Europe Day 2 - Zwave

ZWave have a booth here at the ISE exhibition, it's in the Smart Buildings Hall and is completely overshadowed by the sheer amount of KNX company and industry booths.  This is Europe after all and EIB (European InstaBus) is what KNX is based upon.  The ZWave booth was made up of lots of tiny microbooths featuring companies utilising the ZWave wireless technology for smart home and automation.

Assa Abloy Door and Lock Solutions

Assa Abloy Door and Lock Solutions

Aeotec Nano Smart Home Automation

Aeotec Nano Smart Home Automation

So what is ZWave first of all?  Zwave (or Z wave or Z-wave) is a protocol for communication among devices used for home automation. It uses RF for signaling and control. So basically its a protocol/standard for small home technology pieces to all talk to each other. The range is up to 100m and its very low energy so normal batteries can be used and last for a very long time.

Hogar Touch Panels for Smart Lighting

Hogar Touch Panels for Smart Lighting

FifthPlay Smart Home Automation

FifthPlay Smart Home Automation

Oblo Living Zwave Smart Home Control

Oblo Living Zwave Smart Home Control

The Z-Wave Alliance was established in 2005 as a consortium of companies that make connected appliances controlled through apps on smartphones, tablets or computers using Z-Wave wireless mesh networking technology. The alliance is a formal association focussed on both the expansion of Z-Wave and the continued interoperability of any device that utilises Z-Wave

Leedarson Zwave Intelligent Sensors

Leedarson Zwave Intelligent Sensors

Neeo Smart Remote

Neeo Smart Remote

For a little bit more information about Zwave and its rivals in the smart home networking industry the below is taken from the Zwave Wikipedia.

For smart-home wireless networking, there are numerous technologies competing to become the standard of choice. Wi-Fi consumes a lot of power, and Bluetooth is limited in signal range and number of devices. Other network standards competing with Z-Wave include Insteon, Thread and ZigBee. Of the three, Z-Wave has the longest operating range at 300 feet (outdoor) and 80+ feet (indoor). Insteon has the largest number of maximum devices capability at 17.7 million (to ZigBee's 65,000 and Z-Wave's 232). Thread has the fastest data transmission rate at 250 kbps. Z-Wave has better interoperability than ZigBee, but ZigBee has a faster data transmission rate. Thread operates on the busy Wi-Fi standard frequency of 2.4 GHz, while Z-Wave operates at 908 MHz in the US, which has reduced noise and a greater coverage area. ZigBee operates on both 915 MHz and 2.4 GHz frequencies. All three are mesh networks

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Integrated Systems Europe Day 1 - A Sign Of The Times

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Integrated Systems Europe Day 1 - A Sign Of The Times

Day 1 at Integrated Systems Europe and something that's becoming apparent is that screens or displays are becoming more and more integrated into our backgrounds.  Something that would have wowed us had we seen it in the original Blade Runner is now available.

For example digital signage was prominent on many booths especially the Samsung Displays exhibit.  These LED displays are used in place of fixed signage and can be interactive, reprogrammed or change throughout the day or evening depending on whats going on in the area.  It didn't catch many peoples attention, and that's one of the things which surprise me - We are in an age where its just taken for granted that these digital, weatherproof signs are taken for granted.

Samsung Digital Signs OLED Display
Samsung Digital LED Signage

Also on exhibit all around the expo were huge colourful LED / OLED walls and partitions,  featuring rich full colours and seamless transitions.  Again many people didnt even stop to look but it's part of the landscape now.  From a home technology and audio visual standpoint it points to being close to having interactive full colour digital walls in our homes and offices to display data, art or things like kitchen walls showing recipes, lounges with walls that show our photo albums and even provide the light or ambience.

Digital Display - Huge Screen LED
Digital Screen Ambience and Mood
Display Technology High Def
Huge Display LED or Projection

Some of the signs and displays were pretty high resolution, perhaps not a good enough image to use in home cinema, but a media room or casual gaming environment would be fine.  I guess as the price of the technology comes down and gets better we can hope to see some of these types of displays start to be integrated into homes, offices, hospitals etc...  

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Integrated Systems Europe Day 1 - Klipsch

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Integrated Systems Europe Day 1 - Klipsch

I'm here at ISE in Amsterdam Day 1 of the Exhibition, It's Huge and by that I mean I got totally lost a number of times and stumbled upon whole areas I didn't even know were there.  One thing that was very evident in the show is that architectural speakers, and by that I mean speakers that fit inside a niche or hole in your ceiling, in your wall or even in your furniture/woodwork are very popular.  These in-ceiling and in-wall speakers are perfect for home cinema and multi room audio applications.  The speakers remain hidden and no wires can be seen or cones to be popped or tweeters to be dented.

We use our Nuvo range of speakers in almost all of our installs they are a great way of adding extremely good sound to the majority of your home, distributed audio is still our number one seller, we use them with Sonos and Nuvo amplifiers.

We are also a big fan of Klipsch speakers, especially for very high end home cinema and that's why I was drawn to Klipschs booth at ISE.

Klipsch Custom Speaker Booth at ISE 2018
“We have been working diligently on a robust line up of speaker solutions that save integrators time and money, and provide their customers with the best sound experience”
— Rob Standley, Vice President and General Manager at Klipsch Group.

It was one of the larger (and coolest looking) booths from the speaker companies , dedicated to their custom range of speakers designed for professional installation by a residential integrator (posh words for an Audio Visual (AV) installer).  It was an impressive booth and showed their commitment to this segment of the market.

Klipsch Speakers on Display

The stand was also busy, It seems that many installers and end users are looking more and more for a built-in solution without the clutter of floorstanding or bookshelf speakers.  Building an audio system or theater room into a property is fast becoming one of the most requested upgrades and Klipsch have a rock solid reputation for good sounding, loud speakers (some may say a little brash but we like their high end range for cinema).

Klipsch have THX speakers in their range

It's great to see this level of dedication from a company with such heritage.  For me there's a slight bewilderment at the shear array of options and price points but they have to have it all covered and it probably will be the installer choosing or at least recommending the models and not the customer.

Klipsch Architectural Speakers

I look forward to using some of their new range in installs, it's not to everyones taste and not for every home theatre or media room we design in Thailand, but for some its a good fit and one of the better booths at ISE I thought.

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Integrated Systems Europe - Holland

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Integrated Systems Europe - Holland

I'm off to Holland via the UK for ISE 2018 - The worlds largest AV Systems Integration Show.  Looking forward to meeting our suppliers and finding some cool new home technology to bring to Thailand.  I will be doing some blogging if I see anything really cool, Particularly interested in some of the bigger TV's that are coming out (OLED etc...) and the 4k Projectors as we have some going into home cinemas soon and I can't wait to get my hands on them.

Integrated Systems Europe

Integrated Systems Europe is the world´s largest AV systems integration show. The annual four-day event, takes place at the RAI Amsterdam – The Netherlands, from 6-9 February.

As the European destination for the international AV and systems integration industry, ISE 2018 will showcase the latest cutting-edge technology, products and solutions being produced for both channel and end-user professionals. In addition, attendees can enjoy an expansive education and personal development programme produced by AVIXA and CEDIA. This will be complimented by a packed schedule of conferences, keynote speeches and exciting show-floor features

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ISE showcases the most advanced integration technologies,  which you can find in seven dedicated technology zones.

The ISE exhibition floor is sectioned into different technology zones, giving attendees a concentration of relevant exhibitors in designated areas. This makes navigating around the sizeable show floor, with almost 1,200 exhibitors, more straightforward.

The seven technology zones are: Audio & Live Event Technology, Digital Signage & DooH, Education Technology, Residential Solutions, Smart Building, Unified Communications and XR Technology.

AUDIO AND LIVE EVENT TECHNOLOGY
The audio chain, from microphones and headphones to loudspeaker systems and networking, is an ever-prominent force at the show. As, too, are the visual ingredients necessary for making live performances truly unforgettable. Shows are getting bigger and more extravagant as the focus shifts from recorded performances to live. At the same time, the show – particularly the Audio & Live Event Technology Zone at ISE – has firmly established itself as the key destination for professionals operating in this strand of the AV market.

DIGITAL SIGNAGE & DOOH
Digital signage has been the fastest growing market segment at ISE in recent years. It is, therefore, no surprise that the Digital Signage & DOOH Zone at ISE showcases how state-of-the-art digital signage is used extensively for advertising and information delivery. The retail, transportation, healthcare, corporate, education, leisure, and hospitality sectors are just some of the areas where digital signage plays a significant role. At ISE, see digital signage in action and understand how it can boost your business.

ISE Show Booth

EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY
The Education Technology Zone at ISE tells the story of how AV technology is helping to drive innovative teaching practices. We are experiencing a revolutionary period in education; learning has never been this multi-dimensional before, nor has it been so well supported by the latest technologies. For educational institutions, businesses, private tutors and professional development specialists, ISE provides a shop window to the latest technology derived educational tools and solutions.

RESIDENTIAL SOLUTIONS
With the backing of joint-partner CEDIA, ISE is extremely well positioned as a leading voice in Residential Solutions and home automation. Residential Solutions and its associated technologies have always been a fundamental, core element of the show. The category’s development is particularly apparent in the Residential Solutions Zone at ISE, where attendees can discover the real-world benefits of home entertainment, building automation and energy management systems in a residential environment.

SMART BUILDING
ISE really is a feast for smart building technologies, solutions and insight. Not only does the show host the annual Smart Building Conference, but the Smart Building Zone at ISE provides a category-specific area of the show floor for those interested in this segment of the AV and systems integration industry. Visitors to this zone will find manufacturers, suppliers and integrators, covering a range of technologies, including: air conditioning, lighting and shutter control, security systems, heating, ventilation, monitoring, alarming, water control, energy management, metering, audio and household appliances.

UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY
In the Unified Communications Technology Zone at ISE, attendees will find the latest in UC products and solutions designed for this dynamic market sector. If you are looking to equip your multi-site businesses, boardroom or office with the latest in communications and collaboration technology, then ISE provides the perfect showcase. If you are a UC technology installer or integrator, the show gives you the perfect opportunity to see what’s available to your customers.

XR TECHNOLOGY
In response to the growing importance of augmented, virtual and mixed realities in AV, a brand-new 500sqm XR Technology Zone has been added to the show floor. It can be found in the Park Foyer, at the rear of Hall 8. The centrepiece of the XR Technology Zone will be provided by Holovis. Using a dedicated 30sqm rig, Holovis will highlight the latest in a wide range of B2B immersive technologies, highlighting the business opportunities they present for ISE attendees and exhibitors. An XR Theatre, hosting a range of XR workshops and presentations throughout the show, will be positioned at the rear of the Park Foyer.

 

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Office Build Update - January

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Office Build Update - January

We've been working hard on the office this month, the toilets are finished, the ceiling work is nearly completed and all of the brickwork and concrete work are almost finished.

The red brick wall is going to be our feature wall, likely we will have a range of Roth, Sonos and Nuvo products demonstrated here, the Home cinema is off to the side and is going to be very cool.  We have a new line of cinema equipment coming soon and can't wait to show off all the home theatre goodies we have. 

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The ceiling is gypsum and we decided to add some additional bracing to the building to add rigidity.

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We cant wait to add some of our exceptional Nuvo speakers into the ceiling space.  Architectural speakers are always our first choice for multi room audio.  They hide away discretely in the ceiling, no wires to trip over and no fingerprints or pushed in speaker/tweeter drivers.

 

 

 

 

Smart Home Office - Ceiling

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First Alert - Smoke Alarm with built in Mic and Speaker

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First Alert - Smoke Alarm with built in Mic and Speaker

First Alert used CES 2018 to launch their latest product a 3-in-1 Smoke Alarm, Microphone and Speaker that can be connected to your choice of Google Home, Amazon Alexa or Apples Homekit.

It's quite a clever idea seeing as most people will want smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms in most of their rooms anyway, why not build a smart speaker and microphone into them.

OneLink Smoke Alarm, Microphone and Smart Speaker
Enjoy Smart Home Speaker/Alarm/Mic
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Onelink Safe & Sound – Meet your family’s new best friend. This 3-in-1 device delivers added convenience and enjoyment to every household. The Onelink Safe & Sound is the first announced smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarm with a superior home speaker and ability to process voice commands. The device features exclusive voice and location technology to alert users to the type of danger and its location. The wireless interconnection feature automatically activates other Onelink alarms in the home when an emergency is detected. In addition, the Onelink Safe & Sound has a host of features that put it in a category of its own:
Onelink Safe & Sound with Amazon Alexa – Need Something? Just ask Alexa – built directly into the new Onelink Safe & Sound. Users can simply ask Alexa to play music, hear the news, check the weather and control other smart home devices with the Onelink Safe & Sound.
Onelink Safe & Sound with the Google Assistant – Simply say “Hey Google,” to trigger the Google Assistant that’s built directly into the new Onelink Safe & Sound. Users can have their own personal Google right on their ceiling and ask it questions or tell it to do something. From controlling devices in the home to providing information about your day, the Google Assistant simplifies life and can help accomplish tasks, play music and more – all via the Onelink Safe & Sound smoke and CO alarm.

Onelink Safe & Sound with Apple HomeKit – Using the Apple Home app or Siri, simply and securely control Onelink Safe & Sound as well as other HomeKit accessories right from an iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch. Set up scenes, access the Onelink Safe & Sound remotely, or have things happen automatically. The Onelink Safe & Sound will also support Apple AirPlay 2 upon availability. AirPlay 2 enables multi-room audio and Siri control for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch users, all through the Apple Home app.

Onelink Connect – In keeping with its reputation for safety and reliability, First Alert enters a new category with its Wi-Fi mesh tri-band solution, which delivers faster, stronger, more reliable internet throughout the home. The Onelink Connect system includes three nodes which can be placed throughout the home. The nodes are in constant communication with one another via a dedicated backhaul, preventing congestion and directing maximum internet speeds to the locations where it’s needed most. The resulting network blankets the home with consistent Wi-Fi coverage, enabling users and devices to get online – and stay online – faster and easier.

Onelink Smoke & Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarm – Experience the convenience and peace of mind of smart alerts on your phone, wireless interconnection with other compatible Onelink alarms and a customizable nightlight, all with the Onelink Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm. The sleekly designed alarm works with Apple HomeKit and works with Alexa and the Google Assistant actions, so users can choose their preferred platform to integrate the alarm in their connected home. Both hard-wired with battery back-up and battery-operated versions will be available, with easy adapter plugs to make installation a breeze.
 

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Alexa controlled Home Theatre Projector from Optoma

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Alexa controlled Home Theatre Projector from Optoma

Optoma's latest projector - the UHD51A - has Amazon's voice assistant technology (AKA Alexa) built into it, it's the first home theatre projector to feature native Alexa compatibility.

Optoma Alexa Cinema Projector

It will go on sale for just under $2000 in April for $1,700 and can be directly controlled via Amazons Echo, Dot or Fire range of Alexa voice command home technologies.  Simply install the Optoma skill to your Alexa and you can speak directly to your projector.

Optoma's Projector

For example you will be able to say "Alexa, Turn on/turn off the projector" and
"Alexa, Change input to HDMI 2".  Because it''s built in natively you don't have to fiddle around by saying "Alexa, Ask Optoma to xxxx".

Now onto a bugbear of mine, they are marketing this as a 4k projector - It's not.  It can achieve an almost 4k like image by a "Pixel Shift Upscaling Engine" which is likely to be some sort of wobulation technology.  Basically it paints the picture in 2 or more runs, it's not real 4k. 

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Lets Talk About... "The Wall"

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Lets Talk About... "The Wall"

The Consumer Electronic Show of 2018 otherwise known as CES 2018 has come to an end, CES is an annual trade show organized by the Consumer Technology Association and is used by many companies as a launchpad for their new products.

The Wall 4k TV featuring HDR and massive 146"

This year saw another slew of Amazon Alexa and Google Home aligned products but it was also a really interesting year for TV.  Now that the manufacturers have stopped fiddling about with Gimmicky 3D and Curved sets they have got back on track with bringing us the thinnest, biggest and best looking TV's again.

Samsung's "The Wall" TV

OLED screens and QLD are indeed beautiful, however they are both expensive technologies to produce, especially in larger sizes.

Enter "The Wall" by Samsung, in it's current iteration it is a 146" TV featuring microleds which is a cost effective and more scaleable advanced version of LED that promises to look as good as OLED/Quantam Dot.  The screen is 4k High Definition with HDR and would look great in any size Home Cinema.

The Wall TV
The Wall 4kTV

It's bezel-less format means that in theory you can stack them vertically and horizontally - I guess to produce a wall of display, in your home. shop, business etc...  It's still really a concept but Samsung insist it will be on sale, no price released yet but it won't be cheap.

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