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Hot off the Press - News & Commentary
Thursday January 8, 2004, by Keith Benicek, Editor

CES Day One product news, PR and a LG Oops!

First off. Let me say that CES is a lot more interesting and fun than Macworld Expo San Francisco, which is where I just flew in from.

Lets start out with an embarrassing moment at CES that will probably have a head or two rolling. Seems that LG Electronics (Korea) took out a lot of advertising blocks and put up a huge banner in their booth claiming the “Worlds Largest Plasma TV”, unfortunately not far away competitor Samsung has been showing off their new 80” Plasma TV which is two inches bigger.

Gateway has already clinched the 2003 No. 2 spot in the United States of unit sales of plasma televisions, showing that consumers are willing to accept a new brand name in their living rooms. This was a very smart move by Gateway that a lot of “experts” had poo-pooed. Gateway is also now selling a line of notebook through the OfficeMax supply chain stores

Sharp debuted an LCD TVs with PC-card slots that enable the addition of digital video recording functionality or a wireless connection to a home computer network.

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates Keynote address kicked off the Consumer Electronics Show on Wednesday by announcing his company's plans to dominate home entertainment systems, just as it has with PCs. (Well Duh!). As Gates has professed many times before to anyone that will stop and listen his usual pontificating, everything will connect together under some sort of Windows scheme.

Oh great! Now we can look forward to the Blue Screen of Death on our TV’s, Refrigerators, Washer/Dryers and anything else electronic that MS and Intel can get their crap into.

Speaking of the evil chip maker, No. 1 processor chipmaker Intel, known for PC processors with questionably stated clock speeds, is expected to announce plans to make chips for digital TVs.

Printer maker Epson launched projection TVs, I wonder if the electrons will clog up as quickly as they do with ink cartridges in their printers???

Speaking of Apple Macworld (boring) every body and their mother has a new digital music player. Getting crowed for the popular iPod, well you ain’t heard nothing yet. Apple’s apparently competing with themselves. Read on . . . .

Hewlett-Packard announced they would be selling a digital music player based on Apple Computer Inc.'s wildly popular iPod player, and it announced plans for a home "entertainment hub." HP said will be available starting in the June and July time frame, it will also make Apple's popular and easy-to-use iTunes digital music jukebox and online music store available to HP customers starting in the March and April time frame.

Sony unveiled a revamped mini-disc Walkman that doubles the recording capacity of current discs and a new 1-gigabyte mini disc that records up to 45 hours of music, up from the current 80 minutes.

Taiwanese computer maker Elitegroup Computer System Co. Ltd. said it is shipping low-cost $699 notebook computer to the United State that run LindowsOS Laptop Edition, a desktop version of the Linux operating system.

The Linux notebook will use a AMD 4, 1400+ processor and consist of 128MB of on-board memory that can be upgraded to 640MB. They are equipped with a 80GB 2.5-inch hard disk drive. It looked pretty damn nice!

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On the subject of hard drives, Toshiba introduces world's smallest hard disk drive, delivering Multi-Gigabyte capacities to mobile digital devices. The development of the 0.85-inch hard disk drive, is the first drive to deliver multi-gigabyte storage in a sub-one-inch form factor. Expected to be available in 2GB and 4GB capacities, Toshiba will start sampling the new drive in summer 2004, with mass production to begin in late 2004. Will this mean an mini-mini-iPod that you just stick right in your ears?

My favorite toys at CES is always the DV camcorders and Digital Cameras - Sony has redesigned three of its MiniDV models, the DCR-HC20, DCR-HC30 and DCR-HC40, averaging 25 percent less in volume over last years' models.

The Sony DCR-HC20 model has a 2.5-inch SwivelScreen* hybrid LCD display with a start/stop record button on the LCD frame in addition to Carl Zeiss® optics. The DCR-HC30 camcorder is next in line and adds a Memory Stick DUO* slot for still image and MPEG1 capture up to the capacity of the media, plus an active 3D-menu system that uses bit-map technology for animation and special effects. The DCR-HC40 model incorporates a one-megapixel imager to yield video and digital still images with crisp definition. And for those looking for more of a view, the DCR-HC65 unit sports a 3.5-inch SwivelScreen* hybrid LCD display.

I took some great video of them with my Canon Elura 50MC palm sized mini-DVcorder.

Sure you got great hardware, now what are you going to do with the wonderful 100GB of the family picnic? Ulead announced DVD MovieFactory 3 Disc Creator, a major upgrade of its consumer-level DVD creation software. Ulead also announced an agreement to bundle a suite of its top consumer-level digital media software, including DVD MovieFactory 3, with Pioneer’s new multiple format “8x8” DVD/CD internal writer.

DVD MovieFactory 3 Disc Creator will be available in mid-January for an estimated SRP of $99.95. DVD MovieFactory 3, a basic version of DVD MovieFactory, will be available as an electronic download at ulead.com for an estimated SRP of $49.95.

OTC Wireless, announced the WiJET.Video today, the first high-speed, 802.11g wireless projector and display adapter. By connecting the WiJET.Video to a video projector, LCD, plasma screen or other display unit, users can now wirelessly transmit full motion video, animated rich media and wide bandwidth presentations from their laptop, desktop or mobile computing device.

D-Link displayed a new networked wireless media center that includes a DVD player, a multi-format card reader and advanced content services such as AOL's Radio@AOL Web-based music service. D-Link’s digital home concept is completely distributed throughout your home, so no single device or PC controls everything. D-Link also displayed a 5GHz wireless speaker adapters for streaming crystal-clear audio from a home entertainment system to speakers placed anywhere in a house.

On the pure Wi-Fi front, D-Link announced that in close cooperation with Atheros (802.11 chip manufacturer) that D-Link is the first in the industry to introduce deliverable product in extending the wireless range with new firmware, that can be downloaded free of charge, as an enhancement to the award-winning 802.11g Xtreme G Wireless Networking family. They claim that Xtreme G wireless network range will be extended by 100%, while remaining completely compatible with 802.11g and 802.11b wireless networks.

Now where's that free seafood buffet?



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