NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang kicks off our official presence at the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas tonight.
We won’t spoil any of the surprises — but stay tuned, we’ll be live blogging throughout the event. Hit refresh on your browser for updates.
10:10 PM – That’s it. Show’s over. Applause and folks filing out, getting ready to enjoy the party that’s now taking place at this venue.
10:09 PM – Shield can also offer a different view on its own five-inch screen than the image that it’s streaming to the big screen.
Jen-Hsun’s now wrapping up. He’s talking about how the cloud can now, at long last, stream not just books. Not just music. Not just videos. But games.
Now you can enjoy PC games that take advantage of our GeForce GTX GPU streamed anywhere in the house.
We’ll be able to enjoy video games at any time, on any device. It will usher in the same type of experiences we’ve enjoyed on music and videos.”
10:05 PM – They show “Assassin’s Creed III” – a time travel game. It’s being streamed from the PC onto Shield, and then onto the big screen – with 4K clarity. The frame rate is impressive, with great clarity.
Now, Jason calls up the STEAM store and streams that. Everything’s now working. Jen-Hsun and Jason are happy. So is the audience.
“You saw Shield enjoy games from two of the most important game stores in the world,” he said. He’s referring to Google Play, where you can reach TegraZone, as well as STEAM, whose games can now be enjoyed anywhere in the home.
10:00 PM – Jen-Hsun plays for some time while the engineering guys work on getting the demo going..
“It’s the culmination of five years worth of work,” Jen-Hsun says,
Shield makes a connection to a gaming PC and is streaming “Need for Speed.” It’s going from the PC to Shield to the big screen. Tires are screeching. Cars are swerving. Flashes are popping. The latency is so short it’s like a gaming console.
9:57 PM – “So, this is Android the way it’s meant to be played,” Jen-Hsun says.
But it turns out, this also works with PC games. “The PC Untethered,” his slide says.
Valve’s STEAM service, with its 2,000 titles, is growing like crazy. And its Big Picture interface extends the PC to the big screen. But the question is, how does it get there?
Shield has a third tab that lets you play PC games. The PC demo is struggling a bit right now. It’s not coming up on the screen….
Ahhh, but now it works….
9:51 PM – Jen-Hsun brings on the CEO of the game company that created “Hawken” to play in a competition against NVIDIA’s Jason Paul, who runs the Shield business.
Jason sets him up and they’re going after each other, each on their own Shield device. Lots of explosion, fires and shooting. The crowd’s digging it.
9:49 PM – “4K video looks pretty darn good.”
By touching the device’s Shield button, gaming options come on screen. He’s driving a 4K display playing the game “Blood Sword.” Next up is a boxing game. “That’s enough of that,” Jen-Hsun said.
What else can it do, Jen-Hsun asks? Multiplayer games is one thing.
9:45 PM – He shows now the first time a 4K video comes off a mobile device onto a big screen. “No way,” shouts someone in the audience.
9:43 PM – All of your apps, all your content, all your games just show up on the device.
He sits down in a living room setting on stage, hooks it up to a 4K LG television. He shows how the controller lets you enjoy music – he plays Alicia Keys, singing “This Girl is on Fire.”
Now, he’s showing how it plays movies.
He shows it with Facebook, of course.
9:42 PM – Jen-Hsun holds Project Shield in his hand. Flash bulbs are bursting all over the room.
9:40 PM – So Shield is the first implementation of the Tegra 4 processor. It’s packed with batteries giving 5-10 hours of gameplay; if you’re watching video, it gives 24 hours of play. It has a great sound system that uses a bass reflex system that extends its low-end frequency capabilities – it has twice the capability of an HP laptop with Beats audio. It has a console-grade game controller, with great buttons, joysticks, bumpers and the rest.
9:38 PM – So Shield is the first implementation of the Tegra 4 processor. It’s packed with batteries giving 5-10 hours of gameplay; if you’re watching video, it gives 24 hours of play. It has a great sound system that uses a bass reflex system that extends its low-end frequency capabilities – it has twice the capability of an HP laptop with Beats audio. It has a console-grade game controller, with great buttons, joysticks, bumpers and the rest.
9:35 PM – He shows a very, very edgy video of a gaming portable being put together. There’s loud, pulsating music behind. The reveal is a device that draws lots of applause.
“Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to Project Shield.”
9:33 PM – Next-gen gamers play across genres, across platforms, wherever they want. Two huge platforms for games are PC and Android.
“Our feeling is that PC games and Android games will continue to flourish, but there’s a way for us to help gamers enjoy games even better. We’re the only company in the world with the technology and dedication to build devices that can allow us to enjoy games in a very different way.
“Our engineers are gamers, too. So I’d like to share with you something.,…”
9:31 PM – “Something New” appears on the screen. “I hope you’re surprised by this. If you’re not, I’m going to be surprised.”
9:30 PM – He wraps up Tegra 4. And is building up to a new announcement….
9:28 PM – Jen-Hsun is now talking about Icera, a soft-modem company, which NVIDIA bought 18 months ago. We’re soon going to be sampling our first modem, the i500, which runs 3G, 4g, helped by eight processors that deliver 1.2 trillion operations per second. The math it does is specific to mobile communications. This months, we’re going to start sampling it. The benefits of its technology are evident in comparing it to a state of the art existing modem. But the i500 is only 40 percent of its size.
9:23 PM – Tegra 4, he said, also has huge benefits for video games. NVIDIA’s TegraZone, which serves up games that are optimized for Tegra, has now been downloaded six million times.
9:22 – Tegra 4, he said, also has huge benefits for video games. NVIDIA’s TegraZone, which serves up games that are optimized for Tegra, has now been downloaded six million times.
9:21 PM – Tegra 4, he said, also has huge benefits for video games. NVIDIA’s TegraZone, which serves up games that are optimized for Tegra, has now been downloaded six million times.
9:18 PM – Jen-Hsun says that with Tegra 4’s Always On HDR Camera, you can take HDR video, flash pictures or in burst mode. That wasn’t available before.
“The future of computational photography is really promising. It will turn your camera into a device that can take pictures far beyond what DSLR cameras can.” It will be able to do HDR Panorama shots, strobe motion, 3d reconstruction shots and object tracking (so that it always stays in focus).
9:16 PM – Jen-Hsun now talking about how HDR – high-dynamic range—photography works. It involves a lot of math. It takes 2 seconds on an iPhone 5. But Tegra 4 takes the pics simultaneously, and then all processors are deployed to do the alignment in real time. Thus, with whatever photo you can take with one-exposure, you can take in HDR.
9:15 PM – Jen-Hsun’s now talking about how HDR – high-dynamic range—photography works. It involves a lot of math. It takes 2 seconds on an iPhone 5. But Tegra 4 takes the pics simultaneously, and then all processors are deployed to do the alignment in real time. Thus, with whatever photo you can take with one-exposure, you can take in HDR.
So, he does a demo. He moves to a scene that evokes Tahiti. There’s a woman on stage named Holly, in an exotic Tahitian dress, with a matching flower in her hair. Her name is Holly and she likes Star Wars games!
9:10 PM – NVIDIA’s Tegra 4 architecture does HDR in a different way. We put our processors closer to the imaging pipeline. We take two shots at once – one with high exposure, one with light exposure. Then we dump it into a computational engine which takes advantage of all the chip’s processors to do the necessary math so quickly that, at the end of the hsot, you have HDR.
9:05 PM – He shows a picture of NVIDIA’s Bea Longworth standing before a window. She’s in focus, but the background’s washed out. There’s another that shows Bea very dark with the background looking good. He shows how with iPhone 5, even though there’s HDR technology, the resulting image has extraneous artifacts.
9:04 PM – Okay, so loading web pages is fast – it’s 3.5x faster — but it’s only one application, he says.
Now, he talks about his European vacation over the summer and the frustrations of taking high-dynamic range photos. “In life, you only get one shot. There are so many experiences where we only get one shot….Our cameras today on phones really need to be improved.”
9:02 PM – He shows on screen a footrace between the two loading pages. The Tegra 4 tablet takes 24 seconds to load 25 unique web pages. It takes the Nexus 10 twice as long.
“All this means is that if you’re loading a web page with Tegra 4, it comes up just like that.” Tegra 4, he said, is the fastest application processor in the world.
9:01 PM – Jen_Hsun asks, how much performance do you need in a mobile chip? Plenty is the answer. But he notes that for all its power, it’s super efficient.
So, how fast does fast have to be? Why aren’t we fast enough at this point?
To answer that, he brings out the fastest Android tablet. He compares Samsung Next 10 to a Tegra 4 tablet and puts them in a footrace to load web pages.
Today, we’re announcing, Tegra 4 – it has 72 GPUs cores, and four ARM A15 CPU cores. It also comes with an optional chipset that enables 4G LTE.
8:57 PM – GRID required architecting a new GPU, all the system software, and the client software, Jen-Hsun said. He thanks the engineers who have been working for years to make this possible.
8:54 PM – NVIDIA GRID is our first integrated system product, which we’re selling to partners who sell their service to telcos. There are six partner companies – Agawai, Cloud Union, Cyber Cloud, G-cluster, Playcast, Ubitus – from a number of different countries.
Cloud gaming, Jen-Hsun said, is an industry that’s about to take off.
8:53 PM – Andrew shows how he can play the game on his notebook, picking up the game he was playing from the smart TV. He says it’s just like Kindle books and picking up a chapter you left earlier.
8:50 PM – The GRID system looks like an office tower with a row of vertical stack of green, glowing rectangles.
Up to the stage comes NVIDIAn Andrew Fear, who works on GRID. He takes a controller, with a hard-line connection to a smart LG TV. Andrew’s playing a fantasy game on stage, involving a guy with a magic wand. It’s a beautifully rendered image of a fantasy world. This complex game is being streamed from the cloud.
Andrew says he likes this because he could take it on the road with him. He could launch GRID from an Android tablet that has a GRID app.
8:47 PM – He shows a glossy pick of an NVIDIA GRID server, packed full of GPUs. Initially, each computing node will support 24 users, not just one like today. That’s with a computer the size of a desktop.
A GRID rack has 20 GRID servers, with 240 GPUs, with 200 Tflops. That’s equivalent to 700 Xbox 360 systems. But those would consume five times more powerful and take up far, far more space.
8:45 PM – There are four problems we had to solve:
- how to make it possible for a GPU to render directly into the cloud, with low latency
- create a server-system that was dedicated and optimized for high-density video-game streaming
- create a software stack that allows a single computer to support and connect to thousands, even millions of users, so each has a unique experience
- create software that receives streamed data in a low-latency way
Creating these took us five year!
I’m delighted to introduce you today to NVIDIA’s first integrated product: NVIDIA GRID.
8:44 PM – Why has cloud computing left video games behind? The reason is that it’s a unique medium. Each and every single frame of a 3D graphics application was computed right then and there. It’s not like a pre-recorded movie. The application of 3D graphics involves synthesizing the world with every single frame. The game play, the AI, the physics – it’s all computed in real time for every single frame, at 30-plus frames a second.
8:41 PM – Jen-Hsun shifts gears to talk about the cloud, and the rise of cloud computing. Jen-Hsun says his first exposure to cloud computing was Hotmail in mid-1990s, but it’s been growing like crazy ever since. We can now deliver services far more cost effectively as the cost of storage and broadband have plummeted. There’s no question, this is the best way to use a computer. Generally, you don’t have to even install software anymore
8:40 PM – So, this gives the simplicity of a game console with the performance of a PC. “This has never been done before and we’re incredibly proud of it.”
8:38 PM – Now, Jen-Hsun shows a video of Call of Duty, showing it with the standard out-of-the-box settings. It looks pretty fun and incredibly playable. Now, he shows a video of clicking “optimize” and it looks dramatically better. Textures are higher res, rendering is higher res.
8:37 PM – Here’s how it works: We understand the settings and know the performance characteristics of every GPU, CPU combo in the world. We have great gamers who determine the best settings for every game. As a result, GeForce Experience will automatically put the best settings in for every game.
8:35 PM – PC game settings are a blessing, but they’re also a curse. Technologies are so confusing. How can a game player understand how to play at their best? It’s nearly impossible to find the best setting. Fact of the matter is, it’s very unlikely for game players to figure out the best configurations. So, we went off and tried to characterize every setting in the world, and every game. Through lots of work, we came up with a technology that makes it possible to determine the settings in your game. Seven years later, after hundreds of man-years of work, we have GeForce Experience.
8:30 PM – Free to play games now represent the fastest growing sector. League of Legends is a phenomenon like no other. Gamers are creating their own content, bringing great innovation. But as wonderful as the PC industry is, it’s chaotic. A high-end PC is 15x more powerful than a game console. There are hundreds, thousands of configurations that a PC can have.
8:28 PM – PC gaming is thriving. Call of Duty Black Ops 2 made a half billion dollars in 24 hours. No movie has ever rivaled that. Two weeks later, it did a billion dollars. One single genre of video games – MMO – does $13B in revenue. NFL, by comparison, does $9B.
8:26 PM – In 10 years, everything has changed. Your digital device can enjoy movies, books, music. Everything has changed. Ironically, this change hasn’t included the single largest entertainment industry, video games, which aren’t yet untethered. So, the question is, what technologies need to be invented to make this possible. Today, we’re going to talk about making this giant step forward.
8:25 PM – Let’s get started, he says. So much has changed. It started with the iPod, which made it possible to take music everywhere. Several years later, Amazon introduced the Kindle in a convenient way. After that, we started streaming video to anything with a processor inside.
8:23 PM – Now we’ve got some action. Music’s pumping hard. Jen-Hsun Huang assumes the stage. He’s got his trademark black jacket on, with some black-leather patches. More cheering than you hear at most press conferences. It’s coming from a group of gamers who won an NVIDIA competition and are evidently pretty delighted to be here.
8:20 PM – Okay, at this point it’s SRO, a bit of tussling for prime seats. Lots of seven-inch tablets in the crowd, interestingly….In any event, the music’s picking up. The beginning is near.
8:12 PM – And the doors have opened… Fairly orderly scramble for chairs. Seating’s on three, tiered levels, looking out on a black stage about half the size of a tennis court. This is a Vegas nightclub but the attendees are a bit more caz, a bit less slickly groomed, a bit less decked out than the nightlife here.
8 PM – We’re in a cavernous nightclub called Rain, at the Palms Hotel. Walls are black, as you’d expect, but the lights are NVIDIA lime green. There’s a massive screen with falling, 3D geometric shapes, looking like shattered icicles and windscreens.
7:58 PM – If you don’t want to read along, you can watch our event live. Check out this link.
7:55 PM – Less than 10 minutes and there are a good 300-plus folks waiting to get inside. Doors should be opening imminently.
Catch our live video feed of the event here.