2018: Year in Review
2018 has been a busy year for HiddenWires, from the announcement of budget OLED TVs, Sonos’ rollout of Google assistant support and an “eyesore” home cinema project at the centre of a £1 million lawsuit, we take a look back at the top ten most popular HiddenWires stories of 2018.
Dominating the news in 2018 was the announcement that Sonos had set a date for its rollout of Google Assistant support Sonos’ speaker line at the end of 2018.
Sadly for those itching to try it out, Sonos confirmed that a 2018 release is no longer possible, with Sonos saying in a statement that it will “look to lock down a date in 2019”.
There had been quite a buzz around Sonos products during the year, with reports on the Sonos one wireless speaker and Sonos beam soundbar suggesting that they could lose their support for Amazon Alexa, with only “limited access” available according to the filing sent to the US securities and exchange commission.
On the topic of integration, ears were pricked when Crestron announced that its control systems would integrate with Apple TV, Siri and Homekit as part of Crestron’s continued focus on embracing integration with third party companies.
It is speculated that Crestron’s integration rollout will be limited to the United States, as the home integrator’s integration with Alexa didn’t arrive in EMEA until 10 months after its initial launch.
UK TV provider Sky launched HDR content on its SqyQ platform alongside other significant service updates including dishless use of the service.
While the release took longer than originally anticipated, SkyQ users are now able to enjoy HDR content and more 4K programming and brought Netflix and Spotify to SkyQ later in the year as part of a package that includes SkyQ’s 4K programming.
Chinese manufacturer Hisense announced its desire to make “budget” OLED TVs a reality, making good on its promise in late November 2018 with a limited launch of its first OLED TV in Australia.
The Hisense 55-in OLED TV features 4K ultra support as well as wide colour gamut out, 200 smooth motion technology, VIDAA U 2.5 smart TV OS and Hisense RemoteNOW smart app compatibility. The 55-in model retails for $3,499 AUD ($2,518.88 USD) while the 66-in version retails for $4,999 AUD ($3,598.71 USD).
Not to be outdone, LG is introducing its second generation of TV processor in 2019, with the a9 2nd-gen providing high rate frames of up to 4K/120fp9, bringing a “four step” noise reduction process running from a specially developed algorithm, with announcements on LG’s new TV’s being announced at CES 2019.
In products, IKEA revealed that it is preparing for the launch of its own line of smart blinds, with the first peek of the smart blind being detected when filing for a control unit was passed by the FCC, indicating that a US launch could be coming soon in 2019.
The Ikea smart blinds are rumoured to start as low as €99.95 ($112) for the ‘Kadrilj’ roller blind model and €139 ($157) for the ‘Fyrtur’ blackout option, according to information spotted on the retailer’s website – a move that could undercut the pro market significantly.
Vodafone launched its V-Home smart home service IoT service in Spain in May, with its rollout of V-Home continuing into other countries through the year. Vodafone’s V Home starter kit ships with a hub, smart camera, multipurpose sensor and a siren.
Bang and Olufsen announced in October announced that UK based installer Smart Homeworks had been appointed as its exclusive installation partner for the UK, taking effect from October 2018. Smart Homeworks said its goal is to improve more than 1,500 homes and businesses through the integration of infrastructure, automation and control solutions to deliver “convenience, security and cost savings” by 2020.
And finally, in a story that made a splash in UK headlines, a senior UK financier is suing for damages of £1 million in the high court for a floating home cinema project that allegedly went badly wrong.
The financier, Philip Freeborn, claims he was “inspired” by the architect’s vision of a “sleek, modernist cube” to house a home cinema, billed as being an “architectural jewel” built in the roof space of his pool room.
The cinema, described as “ugly” and an “expensive white elephant”, was designed and built by architect Daniel Marcal, who argued that every stage of the project was approved by the financier from design to creation to creation, while working on an “ad-hoc" basis.
Mr Freeborn accused Mr Marcal of creating an “eyesore”, with the steel supports used in construction allegedly created an “industrial feel” that only demolition and a complete rebuild could fix.
Judge Martin Bowdery QC will rule on the case at a later date.