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CES: Is It Really Worth It?Permit me to vent a little
The Consumer Electronics Show or CES - you have to wonder whether navigating Las Vegas with 200,000 people in town for the show is worth it. Permit me to vent a little it took two and a half hours to arrive on the show floor from my hotel parking lot with parking and the badge ordeal. On departure, it took me one hour and forty minutes to drive from the Las Vegas Convention Center to the airport (about 4 miles). Honest. Yes, I will have some cheese with my whine.
This years event marked the second year since the demise of COMDEX, the giant computer expo. That means Microsoft, Apple, HP and Intel, to name a few, use CES as a major launching point for new products along side non-computer manufacturers of home electronics.
Speaking of Microsoft - the next operating system replacing XP, Vista, had its first mass public unveiling. Five years in the making, named Longhorn while in development, Vista boasts many new video and TV-related features. Vista Media Center, which succeeds Media Player 2005, is a great looking software package that will support scrambled digital signals and DIRECTV, thus replaces set top boxes. Many long awaited security features promise to be incorporated in Vista especially in Internet Explorer 7. Digital Imaging Gallery is a very impressive new digital photo tool for Vista ($129 less $30 rebate) watch out PhotoShop Elements. Vista is to be shipping by mid-year.
Internet Explorer 7 will have such features as tab browsing, inline search and shrink-to-fit printing. They say you will just open a web browser to check the weather, open an application to view your calendar, and open a calculator program to do arithmetic.
In other Microsoft news, the new Windows Mobile package for the all new Treo 700 was unveiled Verizon has a lock on it for now and it looks very good.
The CES announcement from Intel was that of the Core Duo Processor. This powerful number-crunching component will sport 1.6-2.1Gig dual 667 Mhz processor with 2Gig cache. The gaming industry is driving this sort of power, and the full motion video market, including editing manufacturers and digital signage providers, will accept these new high-speed processors with open arms.
This year, Panasonic surpassed last years 102 plasma from Samsung at the last CES, and upped the ante by one inch. Panasonic showed off a 103 unit, and the image quality of this piece was nothing short of astonishing. No price or delivery date was quoted by a Panasonic spokesperson. Panasonic also introduced a new proprietary, control-over-HDMI connectivity. Called HDMI-AV, this will support digital video, audio and control between source and display within the Panasonic product line.
ViewSonic launched their new Integrated Network Display series 42 and 50 plasmas. These network-based displays have dual RJ45 connection for daisy chaining and onboard USB 2.0 connectivity. Perfect for digital signage, these plasmas allow MPEG 1, 2 or 4 to be streamed via Cat 5/6. Tivella software package is utilized and allows custom configuration. The new XX60 series LCD TVs from ViewSonic offer ATSC-ready, improved refresh rates (6-8ms) and better contrast ratios.
The Blu-ray vs. HD-DVD war raged on at this years CES as more industry pundits call for a truce. These two DVD formats are vying to be the home/commercial archival delivery standard for HD. Gary Shapiro, President of CE Vision Magazine in Resolutions for the New Year calls for manufacturers to ?swallow pride and do what is right for the customer. This modern-day VHS vs. Betamax war has major manufacturers lining up on separate sides of the compatibility isle. A Phillips person produced a document showing more Hollywood studios aligned with HD-DVD. A Toshiba spokesperson claims Blu-ray disks have more capacity. However, both are claiming 50G which is plenty for the longest feature film with directors cut and more.
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