The 2012 International CES isn’t just an opportunity for the digital cognicente to look at new gadgets. It’s also a chance to brush up on the latest industry jargon. Don’t let it throw you. If you know the following words and concepts, then you should be able to easily hold your own in a conversation with someone returning from the annual consumer electronics spectacle in Las Vegas:
Ultrabooks: These are what you get when you cross a laptop computer with a tablet, and they’re grabbling the lion’s share of attention at the 2012 International CES. Ultrabooks are thin and light; most use solid state hard drives instead of the traditional storage drives built around a rotating disc. Intel is leading the cheerleading squad for ultrabooks, which it hopes will reenergize the laptop computer market.
4K: This video technology is still ahead of its time for consumers, but won’t be for long. The hype is that 4K images are spectacular because they have four times the digital information that you’d find in a good HD TV set – about 8.8M pixels vs 2.2M. Until 4K discs or channels arrive, the technology is being touted as the best way to watch Blu-ray discs, especially those offering 3D video. You’ll need a projector if you want 4K now, although some manufacturers including LG and Sharp say that they’ll soon sell TV screens that can display 4K. It won’t be long before there’s content available to take advantage of the extra pixels. Recent films including The Social Network and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo were shot in 4K.
MoCA-enabled: This isn’t about Starbucks. The term stands for Multimedia Over Coax – meaning the coaxial wires that your cable operator snakes through your house. MoCa-enabled devices including DVRs can use your existing coaxial lines to transmit video or audio signals to almost any room. While the concept isn’t brand new, it’s gaining in popularity.
FLAC: The acronym stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec, and it’s supposedly the island of digital audio purity in a world awash in lousy sounding MP3s. You probably won’t fill your iPod with FLAC files; they’re much larger than MP3 ones. Users typically download FLAC files to a thumb drive and plug it into an amplifier or Blu-ray player connected to an audiophile sound system. Not all Blu-ray players can handle FLAC files, which is why it has become a selling point for most new models.