Saturday, January 17, 2009

CES 2009 Coverage

CES 2009 had a lot of different items this year. There were more manufacturers coming out with Blu-ray players and more models of them. Cell phones are getting more personalized with more color and style options as well as colorful cases to match your personality. SanDisk is coming out with a new mp3 player called Slot Radio player aimed at making it easier to have music you like on your player. It comes preloaded with over a 1000 songs in 7 or 8 preset categories such as Jazz or Country. You will also be able to buy additional cards with over 1000 songs in just a one category microSD card, or buy a newly released album on microSD instead of CD. The same trend can be found for laptop cases. There were also a few 1sts at the show, such as a portable Blu-ray player from Panasonic, and a Dick Tracy type cell phone watch from LG with a touch screen and mp3 player built in. Laptops are also coming out with many smaller models thanks in part to Intel’s Atom processor.
There was also some big news coming out of the show. Just as the Blu-ray format is starting to really catch on, its days appear to be numbered. It will not be this year, and may not even be in five years, but Blu-ray’s days are numbered. The new thing may just be soon to come in the form of flash cards such as SD cards. Up until now, they have been very convenient due to their size and fairly durable since they cannot be scratched like a CD, DVD, or Blu-ray disk. But as the storage capacity has been increasing with SD cards having 32GB capacities are now available, they still do not have the capacity to be able to replace a Blu-ray disc. That will be changing in the near future with a new format called SDXC. Watch out Blu-ray. It is a new high capacity SD card that can hold up to 2TB of data. That is roughly the same capacity of 40 dual layer Blu-ray discs, and in just one small SD card! The specs are scheduled to be released here in the next few months. The new format is supposed to be backward compatible with your current SD cards, but unfortunately the new cards with not work in current SD drives found in computers, cell phones, mp3 players, and other devices currently on the market.

Video displays seemed to have the majority of the attention. Panasonic has an amazing front projector that has an internal lens setting so you can change from widescreen to cinemascope without the need of an expensive anamorphic lens attachment to the front of the projector. But most of the hype came from more traditional type displays. Flat screen TV’s using LED backlighting will soon be coming to market and with it an increase in energy savings and large increase in contrast to help make blacker blacks. Some TV’s are also getting very thin, as in around an inch thin, and some manufacturers such as Toshiba will be taking the bulk out by using a detached set-top box housing part of the circuitry previously found at the back of the TV. More are coming out with more advanced processing features, and Ethernet connections so widgets can be added. Some of you Vista users will already be familiar with using widgets. Now you will be able to check some items such as local weather and your stocks as if you were on your computer, but right from your TV instead.

3D TV was also getting a lot of attention at the show this year. There were varying degrees of success, but it looks better this year than in years past. But it appears there is no set format yet for it. Panasonic appears to be trying to change that. Their demo of 3DTV looked pretty good, but there was some content that appeared better than others. So it appears that content that was made for 3D and recorded in 3D had a much better presentation. They also showed off a Hollywood 3D video camera. It makes sense to have a set format for it, that way all the material as it comes out will be more standardized. I just hope it happens soon before too many manufacturers start creating their own. I would hate to have another format war.
This year’s show was very exciting. As you can see from the attached photos there was a lot to see. Look forward to seeing some of these products in upcoming reviews throughout the year. Some of them are already in the works. Thanks for reading.