How to Talk Like a Gear Head at CES1/09/2012 12:01 AM Eastern
WELL, THE HOLIDAYS BLEW BY AND THE CALENDAR FLIPPED TO
a new year. This can only mean one
thing: Consumer Electronics Show!
If you’re heading there, know going
in that tablets and connected
TVs will (again) dominate the scene.
Beyond that, here’s a lingo guide to
the larger CES trends, so that you
can maneuver the whole scene with
Let’s start with “OLED.” It stands
for “Organic Light-Emitting Diode.”
(People tend to say it as its constituent letters,
Think about what you draped around your tree,
house or fence this season. LEDs, in general, are in
The “organic” in OLED doesn’t mean anything
was grown in biodynamic soil or left to graze out
of the cage. In this case, it’s about molecules and
polymers, sprayed in layers on semiconductor
chips. When electricity is applied, the polymers
phosphoresce. (The gear-head way to say it: electrophosphorescence.)
OLEDs aren’t new. Sony and its ilk started showing
them off five or more years ago — first with a
phone-sized screen, then a laptop-sized screen.
Small-ish OLED TVs dotted the CES scene last year.
This year, part of the buzz of the show is LG’s 55-
inch OLED — biggest yet.
If you follow CES, you know that 55 inches is
almost half the size of the “world’s biggest HDTV!”
of years past, when we shouldered in to see the
100-inch-plus doozy on display from Panasonic.
Alas, the “world’s biggest!” hype lost its tech-sexy
over the last few years, as reality hit about wall sizes
and product weight. (As in: Wow, that is a huge TV —
too bad it pulled the wall off your house!)
That’s why OLEDs are hot. They’re substantially
lighter, use way less power, and ultimately can be
rolled up like a scroll.
Also high on the gear-head meter at this year’s
CES: connectivity. (Again.) Why? Vendor ecosystems
collide around the best way for consumers to spill
video back and forth between screens.
There’s a “DLNA House,” for instance, across
from Central Hall, as well as the new-ish DIIVA
effort (South Hall, No. 20656), supported by
companies like LG, Samsung and Sony. Wi3 Inc.
(Venetian, No. 73010) is out with a dongle-like
thing that turns any coaxial jack on any wall into
an Ethernet and Wi-Fi port.
DIIVA stands for Digital Interactive Interface
for Video and Audio. In short, it’s about one
cable that does HDMI, USB, Ethernet, power and
And don’t forget to drop a little “4K x 2K” talk
into your CES conversations. It’s the new-new thing
in display resolution — 3840 by 2160 pixels, which
is well beyond the 1080-pixel max of today’s best
HDTVs. Great for 3D, great for medical imaging. It’s
unclear how great that is for everyday TV viewing.
That’s a quick jargon guide for the 2012 CES.
And remember, there’s a reason why The Wall
Street Journal’s Peter Kafka refers to CES as
Stumped by gibberish? Visit Leslie Ellis at translationplease.com or multichannel.com/blog.