Audio and video trends 2018

Here are some audio and video trends for 2018.

Buying headphones in 2018 is going to be a fragmented mess because of a silent goodbye to the 3.5mm audio plug, Majority of new headphones introduced at CES were wireless and there are several different wireless systems. Bluetooth audio has historically sacrificed sound quality for convenience relative to a wired connection. However, there are a couple of standards now that promise “better-than-CD” audio quality. For wired connections where we once had the solid reliability of a 3.5mm analog connector working with any jack shaped to receive it, there’s now a divergence of digital alternatives:Lightning, USB-C, and Sony’s 4.4mm Pentaconn connector.

Voice, connectivity and AI took center stage at the Consumer Electronics Show. Alexa Skills and the Voice Experience is really getting off. With over 15 million Amazon Echo devices shipped and 244 million projected by 2022 it is expected to take lead with Google Home Assistant and Apple Homepod with Siri following. Also Google Assistant was mentioned a lot in CES. Google Sold 6.75 Million ‘Google Home’ Devices In the Last 80 Days. ‘Language assistants  were a big topic at this year’s CES. More and more manufacturers like JBL and Creative are integrating smart helpers into their WLAN speakers. Alexa support comes to 2018 TVs from Sony, Hisense and LG. Google launches smart displays with JBL, Lenovo, LG and Sony. There will be also other competitors aiming to this market, for exampleChina’s Google,” shouted out most loudly for voice. Microsoft’s Cortana had a crappy CES so it seems that Amazon Alexa will soon arrive on Windows PCs (HP, ASUS, Acer and others). Introducing Single-Chip Solutions for Building Alexa-Enabled Products.Sony launches a bunch of new headphones and adds Google Assistant functionality to the line.

Binaural, ambisonic, spatial, surround, 3D will be talked about. The most accessible exhibitions of this technology are in Youtube VR and Facebook 360, where users can interact with 360º videos that contain spatial audio. AR/VR was hot topic at CES 2018.

Sound bars are popular for compact home theater setups. Traditional home cinema systems with AV receivers and large speaker arsenals are only used by film and sound enthusiasts who sacrifice space in the living room for this purpose.

People listen to four hours of audio content every day. Streaming platforms like Spotify take a big bit of that. Streaming accounts for 41% of music consumption was the 2017’s most jaw dropping statistic. People will also listen a lot of music from YouTube.

Acoustics-based NFC is being pushed to market as it requires only a microphone and speaker, eliminating tags and chips. Chirp and LISNR are two emerging companies facilitating soundwave communication.

Wireless headphones and speakers become more common. Portable loudspeakers without cables are more popular than ever with music listeners. Most popular connection technology is Bluetooth.More and more manufacturers are breaking away from the cable and are showing new models and updates of completely wireless in-ear headphones at the CES 2018.

There is a bit of nostalgia involved: Several traditional technology tries to make come-back in 2018. The traditionalists among the music lovers continue to use records, so new record players keep coming. Cassette tapes making a comeback thanks to young, independent artists. Artists like Justin Bieber, Eminem and Metallica have all put out material on tape recently as a recent blockbuster film “Guardians of the Galaxy” put a hero center stage with a Sony Walkman. Tube amplifiers are back for traditionalist audiophiles that think that tubes can make your music to sound better.

4K video resolution is hot and 8K going to be pushed to market. TV has progressed to the 4K ultra-high-definition stage with its 3,840 × 2,160 pixel resolution. LG Display has made a 65-inch rollable 4K OLED TV. LG displayed 8K OLED TV at CES. Samsung has technology scales the image resolution to a 8K with AI. LG, Panasonic, and TCL put the spotlight on the chips that do the video processing: For the foreseeable future, any advances in image quality will be coming from these chips, not from the displays themselves.

Welcome ATSC 3.0 in USA: In November, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued new rules that will let TV broadcasters adopt the next-generation wireless TV standard designated ATSC 3.0. This new standard defines the specifications for ultra-high-definition (UHD) or 4K over-the-air (OTA) digital TV. But over-the-air is minority in USA as roughly 75% of households pay for their TV reception for cable or satellite distribution.

Home theater headsets have come a long way. AR/VR is hot. Oculus partners with Xiaomi to launch the Oculus Go and Mi VR Standalone.

Wired peripherals and electronics are still a major part of the market. Cabling for AV systems will have new features:  a new HDMI standard and how active cables will provide both power and video to consumer devices.

3D cameras are hot. HP’s Z 3D Camera puts Sprout’s scanning power on your PC. Intel’s new cameras add human-like 3D vision to any machine.

When almost all AV products are pushing more and more features, it seems that almost Everything is too complicated for an average Joe.




  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Teardown finds HomePod has great build quality, but a saw is needed to open the device; some parts, including the fabric mesh, can be easily removed — Tools Featured in this Teardown — Introduction — Apple’s beloved voice assistant is back again, this time in more of a Mac Pro wearing a jacket.

    HomePod Teardown

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    HDMI accelerates to 10K video

    Just a year ago at the Las Vegas CES Fair, the HDMI Forum said it was preparing the next version of the bus standard. At the end of the year, HDMI 2.1 was released and the bus speed grew to 48 gigabits per second. That’s enough to transfer 10K video.

    The data rate was a big jump when switching from version 2.0 to version 2.1, as raw data grew from 18 gigabytes to 48 gigabits per second.

    Currently, the HDMI bus transfers at least 5.98 gigabytes per channel. When connecting three channels together, the maximum speed of 18 gigabytes is reached.

    The resulting 2.1 specification allows virtually the transfer of data required by 8K-level 60 Hz video. In the 4K signal, the picture can be updated 120 times per second. At best, image resolution can be increased to 10K levels.

    Almost 900 million units sold last year with HDMI-equipped devices.
    In total, there are almost seven billion HDMI devices in the world.

    USBC bus can also be used to transfer HDMI signals


  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    WOW: Panasonic Develops Industry’s-First 8K High-Resolution Global Shutter organic sensor!

    Panasonic had a major announcement today. The world’s first 8K Global Shutter sensor! This kind of sensor can be expected to be used by the future GH6. Check out the stunning details in this press text:

    Panasonic Develops Industry’s-First*1 8K High-Resolution, High-Performance Global Shutter Technology using Organic-Photoconductive-Film CMOS Image Sensor
    The new technology enables 8K high resolution and high picture quality imaging without motion distortion, even in extremely bright scenes.

    With the technology, it is possible to capture images at 8K resolution, even in high contrast scenes, such as a field under strong sunlight and shaded spectator seats under a stadium roof. Moreover, by utilizing the global shutter function that enables simultaneous image capture by all pixels, it is expected to be able to capture moving objects instantaneously without distortion, be utilized for multi viewpoint cameras (performing multi-view synchronized imaging using plural cameras) and used in fields requiring high-speed and high-resolution, such as machine vision and ITS monitoring.

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    VideoLAN VLC releases version 3.0 with HDR and 360-degree video

    The popular cross-platform, open-source video player VLC has received a significant update in 3.0, the first in what will be called the Vetinari branch. It adds support for HDR, including both 10-bit and 12-bit color and 360-degree video.

    The update is available on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and soon, Linux.

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Murata – Small RF noise filter for audio lines in portable devices

    Murata has released the NFZ03SG_SN series, an RF filter in 0201 size for audio lines in portable devices including tablets and smartphones. The series is claimed to be the smallest chip filter on the market offering high attenuation at communication frequencies while giving very low distortion to audio signals. Parts within the range can be chosen for typical attenuation impedances between 330Ohms and 1600Ohms at 900MHz and between 400Ohms and 1200Ohms at 1.7GHz. DC resistances range between 0.6Ohms and 1.7Ohms and rated current between 305mA and 180mA.

    At 0201 chip size

    Murata introduces 0201 inch audio line noise filter for smart phones

    Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd. has introduced the NFZ03SG_SN series of audio line noise filters at a size of 0201 inch size (0.6×0.3mm), which is the smallest size in the industry. Mass production of these products began in January 2018.

    330 to 1600 ohm at 900 MHz
    Designed to have an impedance peak at communication frequencies
    0.6 x 0.3 mm size

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    From the Nokia era, Tampere is known as one of the world’s best camera center of technology for the cameras. Now, US-based Axon launches a product development unit in the city that focuses on improving the imaging capabilities of future technology.

    Tampere’s strong mobile technology expertise has emerged from Nokia’s and University’s research work in signal processing and imaging. The area has developed around the camera expertise and signal processing an imaging ecosystem coordinated by Business Tampere, which includes active companies and researchers.

    In addition to Axon’s security technology company, Axo’s imaging ecosystem will benefit other companies already operating in Tampere, such as Huawei, Intel and Nokia.


  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    A coveted image sensor reduces the size of camera

    The French CEA-Leti Research Center has developed a promising image sensor technology that will significantly reduce the size of camera modules in the future. A coveted image sensor means that the optics required by the camera can be clearly lower than before.

    There are many ways of disruptive technology. The technology can be used to implement a concave CMOS or CCD cell phone, cameras, telescopes, medical imaging equipment and various industrial surveillance equipment.

    According to Let, the same technology can be used, for example, in astronomy infra-red sensors, flyers and automotive microns, not to mention the added industrial and artificial reality applications.

    Leti calls his technology as Pixcurve. The proto will be presented at the Photonics West 2018 fair in San Francisco.

    According to Let, a concave cell provides a higher quality image with a device that is smaller, simpler, and cheaper to manufacture.


  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Earbuds Go Beyond Entertainment

    Earbuds are not widely esteemed as a hotbed for new technology development. But while few people were watching, these little audio gadgets have gone remarkable evolution, as demonstrated at the Consumer Electronics Show last month.

    Launching a new era for earbuds is a team of engineers at Qualcomm — formerly at Cambridge Silicon Radio (CSR) — known for their technical chops in wireless connectivity and audio technology. Qualcomm acquired CSR in 2015.

    Until recently, the biggest advance in earbuds was when they went totally wireless, as seen in Apple’s Airpods. While Apple got a lot of flack for their decision to forgo a headphone jack on their iPhones, this started a trend to cut the cord between a music source and earbuds, or between earbuds.

    Audio processors go inside earbuds
    However, with its new Bluetooth SoC, dubbed QCC5100, Qualcomm isn’t just proposing low-power Bluetooth wireless connectivity between handsets and earbuds. Qualcomm is putting a whole new audio and application subsystem inside earbuds. In other words, now that earbuds have their own batteries, designers can put an SoC inside.

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Google Clips camera uses machine learning to capture spontaneous moments in everyday life

    Google has announced the release of Google Clips, a small, hands-free camera that uses a machine learning algorithm to look for good moments to capture in everyday life.

    An image sensor size or model is not named—though The Verge is reporting that a 12 MPixel sensor is being used—but the camera features a 1.55 µm pixel size, auto focus adjustment, a 130° field of view, a frame rate of 15 fps, auto low lux and night mode, 16 GB storage, as well as motion photos (JPEGS with embedded MP4s), MP4, GIF, and JPEG, with no audio. Additionally, the camera has Gorilla Glass 3 for durability, as well as USB-C, Wi-Fi Direct, and Bluetooth LE for connectivity.

    Google Clips is a tiny camera that uses AI to automatically photograph family moments

  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Machine vision software: Growing and evolving with the market

    “Vision is getting into many more markets and applications at the moment and people are realizing what you can do with machine vision technologies,” she said. “To a greater extent manufacturers and end-users are embracing it and learning about it, meaning vision is permeating more and more into mainstream applications.”

  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Sahil Patel / Digiday:
    Wojcicki sees YouTube Red as a music service, has no plans to compete with video streaming services; media execs say subscriptions make creators little revenue — What, exactly, is YouTube Red? That’s a question creators and YouTube network executives might want to ask more than two years …

    Neither Hulu nor Netflix nor Spotify, YouTube Red is having an identity crisis

    What, exactly, is YouTube Red? That’s a question creators and YouTube network executives might want to ask more than two years after YouTube launched its subscription streaming offering.

    Launched in October 2015, YouTube Red has always been positioned by YouTube as three services in one: It offers ad-free access to all of YouTube; it’s a music streaming service that also gives access to Google Play Music; and it’s consistently releasing original movies and TV shows, starring Hollywood talent and homegrown stars that users already subscribe to.

    Two years later, this has created somewhat of an identity crisis for the streaming service.

    One thing’s for sure: Subscriptions aren’t a meaningful moneymaker on Red just yet.

    Subscriptions are driving scant revenue
    According to five media executives that oversee multiple high-performing channels on YouTube, YouTube Red subscription revenues are scant compared to the money they can make from advertising. One executive at a network that gets more than a billion views per month on YouTube said YouTube Red subscription revenue accounted for about 7 percent of the network’s “YouTube-monetized” revenue in 2017.

    The four other media executives shared similar findings.

    YouTube has never publicly released numbers on the number of subscribers for YouTube Red. A year after launch, YouTube Red reportedly had 1.5 million subscribers, with another million subscribers trying the service for free.

    One big caveat is that YouTube Red has only been available since its inception in five countries: the U.S., Mexico, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

    YouTube divvies up subscription revenue differently than how it shares revenue from advertising. With YouTube’s ad products, YouTube takes 45 cents of every dollar generated from its ad products. With YouTube Red subscriptions, YouTube takes 45 percent of all subscription revenue and then divvies up the remaining 55 percent based on total watch time per channel. Essentially, the longer a YouTube channel owner can convince a Red subscriber to watch its videos, the more it will earn.


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