Wednesday, January 10, 2007

CES 2007 Central Hall

We jumped on a bus to the central hall where all the buzz is. This is the splashiest hall where the biggest of the big boys display. Throw a rock and it will bounce off at least 12 flat panal displays before it hits the ground.

CES 2007 Central Hall
Microsoft, Intel, Sony, Toshiba, Samsung, LG, all the big players are here. Some of the displays you would swear are as big as a city block.

Before we get into the big boys, please forgive a little bit of a rant.
Like many people, I have Cable TV, multiple HD DVR's multple HDTV's in multiple rooms and it does cost a bit of money. But, I can't watch what I want, where I want, when I want without having to go to the room with the DVR that has that program on it unless I want to go into "on demand" which is a pita, and is not always even available, and sometimes has an extra charge even though I have the bloody program recorded on a different DVR. This has gone on too long for the sake of "content protection". When can I have a solution that will allow me to have happiness? Sure there are non HD solutions. Is that happiness? No, it is not. I don't want to record this content to DVD, or "steal" anything, I just want to time shift things, and have a complete, converged system with plenty of reasonably priced, easy to add storage to allow me to enjoy all the possible HD goodness available. Even normal people with a single HDTV and a single DVR should at least have easily upgraded storage options and a gui on their set top box that is not like windows 1.0. Vista could change this, but only if a lot of others get their act together. Pretty soon, we consumers will all just throw in the towel on the whole mediacenter thing, go to Apple TV or forget the whole thing and just spend all of our time on youtube. Um, ok, rant mode off.

Vista Does stuff
Microsoft is doing the big Vista push. It looks good, sounds good and it does great things. Thrilling and all, but XP works ok, and, well, see above.

Intel was very impressive. Their core2 Duo laptop video editing demo was great. Their core 2 Quad processor demos were equally great. The knowledgeable people manning their booths were great at showing off the capabilities of their great new processors. The Viiv booth was informative and even manned by sympathetic people who understood our general rantiness about the whole big multimedia splash that "seems" sans HD. In fact they gave us some hope. There will be (maybe already are D-link?) networked media "extenders" with HDMI output that will allow us to build a new DIY Media center with Vista that can transmit HD video to our HDTV's. We'll see.

DLP with LED? Yes, there was at least one displayed. This could be a great thing for DLP for more reasons than bulb life. Brightness, Color accuracy and gamut improvements would be nice added features.

LG Blu Ray/HD DVD Dual player - with the "Blues Brothers"
Blu Ray was all around as was HD DVD, but we are annoyed by the format war as much as anyone. Yes, LG did announce their dual format drive with the "Blues Brothers" which was entertaining. We certainly applaud LG for this.

Interesting too, was the blocked view of all connections on the back of the LG dual format drive. Is this product really real yet? We hope so. Might take a little while, but we love 'em for it.

Samsung people told us that snapping pictures of their new displays was not allowed, so we will not show any pictures. We might have said something good about their new displays, but with their attitude, we will not show any pictures of anything Samsung, just to be fair.

Toshiba had no problems with everybody shooting their new HD DVD players including their HD-XA2 player with Silicon Optix HQV processing. Sweet!

Enough for now, tomorrow, the International Hall at the Hilton, and hopefully a little High end audio at the Venetian.

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