Friday, January 09, 2009

CES 2009 Day 2 the South Hall

CES 2009 Day 2
South Hall
South Hall is a favorite, since I see so many of our current favorite vendors and get a lot of chances to find new products. It's big, really big, so it's tiring, but there are also chances to see the latest technologies as well as fun, weird stuff.
Getting Internet provided TV content onto your TV is another new rather universal theme, but their are issues with all the implementations other than a full fledged HTPC solution, and anyone doing that knows that there are plenty of issues even with that. This is a fledgling market that is only now finding its way and trying hard to monetize their offerings. Buying into one proprietary solution is fraught with possible future issues. Anything that can't be easily updated, as well as anything that has no easy way to input information (such as URL's) in characters as well as numbers is likely to be unusable at some point. Buyer beware!

Optoma had a great demo of their HD8200 Projector.

Da-Lite had a great 3D Projector Screen Demo which was lots of fun. 3D was all over the place this year. You have to wear glasses of course, but they are getting way better at it. I'm sorry I missed the Panasonic 3D demo, but there were extremely long wait times.

Thermaltake and Moneual had some stunning looking HTPC cases with VFD screens and touch screens.

Gefen is shipping their Wireless HDMI solution, and has tons of new great products.
The Gefen product line always seems to grow exponentially, and as a Gefen distributer on the East Coast we try to make all their popular products available quickly to east coast installers and consumers. They have a lot of new "problem solvers" as usual, for HDMI Audio and Video, extension, digital signage, switching and distribution.

B&W always manages to bring their high end stylish models but none of their other various lines that we can afford. Tons of room in the booth for more, but mostly wasted space.

Supra Cables from Sweden had a large booth. They are a longtime manufacturer trying to break into the North American market. Looked like good stuff, but where were the beautiful Swedish models? Come on, that's CES marketing 101!

Powerbridge had a nice little booth with all their latest rather ingenious in wall Flat panel power and A/V connection products for installers and DIYers.

DataComm has a similar line of in wall AV and power solutions for the installer market. We are hoping to add their product line very soon.

Calrad had the usual plethora of connectivity products. They had a nice litttle 4-channel headphone Amp perfect for schools, a nice PC HD to HDMI scaler for up to 1080p, a single Cat5e HDMI extension solution and all of the usual HDMI and AV Wall plate solutions they should rightfully be famous for. They also have the xLobby Media Management and Automation control line popular with installers. We've been a very happy Calrad distributer for a long time and love their determination to provide installers with the widest selection of installer products at great prices. Unfortunately they had no models in skimpy clothes, just knowledeable human beings.

Asus had a huge booth. One thing I didn't get was a lot of there laptops had "sparkles" look which unfortunately extended all over the keyboard which could make visibility of keyboard letters in common overhead lighting situations rather bad. HP had some similar models, so apparantly bad ideas are contagious. Their much maligned HD audio card was there, but not labeled. Hopefully they'll get those problems sorted out soon. Their "Bamboo" series notebooks I had to say looked fantastically desireable. I just hope they hold up to the road. Their Eee touchscreen all-in-one computers seemed fun, although HP had a more spectacular version which we'll get to. These used the Intel Atom N270 and should hit a very good price point. Touch screens are indeed very fun and natural to use, although they still have some weak spots.

Netgear is working hard to get your Internet Video onto your TV with a selection of products. They looked very worthy of further investigation.

iDapt, from Spain had a really cool little power solution for charging up to three varied devices at once with one little box using modular replaceble connectors. They come with a variety of interchangeable "tips" - connector modules. So you could have an iPod/iPhone, cell phone and GPS all charging at once. They even had modules for AAA and AA rechargeable batteries. Green is in baby! It seems like a brilliantly done system, and we are hoping to offer them.

Finally, HP had some of their usual great stuff, although they also thought sparkly finishes on the keyboards of some of their laptops was cool. They had some awesome 25.5" displays with any feature you could want. My favorite was their all-in-one Touch screen Display/Computer. Seemed like the same 25.5" display size, but I could be wrong. The touch screen functionality needs some work. I could not "minimize" a window using my fingers, and some things worked a bit like they didn't quite have it all nailed down yet, but fun was undeniable. The connectivity looked great, the overall look was nice and if it all comes together it's a real "Grandmas" computer at very Apple competitive prices. These things could be very hot! And Screen cleaning
cloths and sprays will also be a huge seller!

Again no time for pictures yet. I'll have to fill them in after I get home. For what is considered a rather "dead" CES, this one has lot's of good stuff going on.

Tomorrow, the Sands "Innovation Hall" which is generally very good, and then the Venetian for High End Audio.

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