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CES 2011 wrap-up

It’s hard to believe that another year has gone by and we’re back on our annual trek to Las Vegas to pay homage to the consumer electronics industry. The Consumer Electronics Show is always a fun adventure, showcasing some of both the best and the most peculiar devices imaginable. Last year we were bombarded with 3D; this year it was all about connected TVs and tablets.

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CES 2011

It’s hard to believe that another year has gone by and we’re back on our annual trek to Las Vegas to pay homage to the consumer electronics industry.  The Consumer Electronics Show is always a fun adventure, showcasing some of both the best and the most peculiar devices imaginable.  Last year we were bombarded with 3D; this year it was all about connected TVs and tablets.

For pictures of everything we saw and did, check out the live blog Ara was updating as we walked the show:  http://www.htguys.com/ces2011

Some of our favorite stuff came from these companies:

Vivitek

Vivitek showed a projector capable of converting any 2D content to 3D.  Kinda neat, but we wouldn’t run out and buy one.  They also showed a tiny HD projector called the Qumi capable of 300 lumen output.  It will sell for under $500 and looks like a fun little device.  Here are the specs:

  • Native WXGA (1280×800) resolution
  • Up to 300 lumens of brightness and a 2500:1 contrast ratio
  • 3D-Ready (via DLP Link) and a DLP chipset from Texas Instruments
  • 1.6 pounds; Dimensions: 6.3”(w) x 1.2”(h) x 3.9”(d)
  • 30,000+ estimated LED hours of operation
  • Connectivity options include: Mini-HDMI, Universal I/O (24-pin connector for VGA/component input), 3.5mm video-in, 3.5mm mini-jack audio-out
  • USB and MicroSD slots for content and memory expansion
  • Built-in 1W speaker
  • Offered in a black or white finish
  • Available in May 2011; Estimated street price of $499.00(USD)

Optoma

In addition to the HD projectors Optoma is known for, they also showed a portable projector/iPhone dock combo unit that looks good.  It’s basically a pico projector with an iPhone/iPod dock and some built-in speakers.  Called the Neo-i, it should be available soon and sell for under $500.  And the specs:

  • Native Resolution: 854 X 480 (16:9) WVGA DLP
  • Brightness: 50 lumens Bright mode
  • Contrast Ratio: 2000:1
  • LED / Life: RGB LED, >20,000hrs
  • Dimensions: 12.8” x 8.9” x 3.1”
  • Weight: < 2.5 lbs
  • Image Size: 5”~120” (16:9 native)
  • Projection Lens: Fixed Focus Lens, F/1.8
  • Throw Ratio: 1.8

JVC

JVC had a great demo of a 3D camcorder displaying live on a big 3D LCD TV.  It was one of the more fun demos to participate in.  Reaching out at the camera actually came out of the TV.  One of the better uses of 3D at the show, but still active glasses, so be prepared to shell out $100-$200 per person to show your home movies to friends and family.

Panasonic

Panasonic showed their next generation plasma panels, the VT30 line, at the show.  They won’t be available until summer 2011, but they looked excellent.  No word on pricing, but still available in 55″ and 65″ models, nothing bigger on the horizon.  Specs:

  • 3D compatible
  • One pair of 3D glasses included
  • THX certification
  • Infinite Black Pro 2 panel
  • 1080p/24 playback mode
  • Short throw phosphors
  • 3D-compatible SD card slot
  • Viera Connect Internet suite

LG

LG had two concepts that really grabbed our attention.  First, they were showing a whole slew of connected TVs that are somehow based on the Plex media server.  Although LG didn’t say the software was based on Plex, they did say that any app written for Plex would work the the LG Smart TV technology.  You can draw your own conclusions.

LG also showed our favorite use of 3D at the show – passive glasses!  The 3D actually looked pretty good.  It wasn’t as good as the 3D on a Panasonic plasma, but let’s be fair, what is?  It was pretty good, pretty smooth and very cheap glasses.  They were giving them away like candy.  Now there’s a way to make 3D appealing to the masses.

LG showed a glasses-free 3D demo as well.  Standing in the right spot, it actually did pretty well.  But off angle viewing was rough.


Samsung

Samsung was on the connected TV bandwagon as well.  They showed a pretty cool integration of a lot of the existing apps out there.  The next generation of Samsung connected TVs and Blu-ray players will allow you to search for a movie and see every service where it’s available, and the price, across services like Netflix, Vudu, Blockbuster, Amazon, etc.  It lets you pick what you are willing to pay and what quality you’d like to see it in.  There’s also some social integration aspects that allow you to get recommendations from friends and the like.

Of course Samsung is also in the Android phone and tablet game, so that was on display as well.  Braden, being the Android fan boy that he is, thought the Galaxy Player puts the iPod touch to shame.  Of course, Ara doesn’t see it.  It’s available in Korea with no current plas to bring it to the US.

Motorola

Motorola has some really big Android announcements.  They announced two next generation android phones, both with dual 1Ghz processors.  One for AT&T and one for Verizon.  And of course everyone is still waiting for a real, honest iPad competitor, so Motorola is hoping they found that with their Xoom tablet.  It’s the first Android 3.0 device and boasts some pretty impressive specs.  Should be out this quarter on the Verizon network, but only on 3G;  4G comes later this year.  Specs:

  • Android 3.0
  • 10.1 inch display
  • Dual Core 1 Ghz CPU NVIDIA Tegra 2
  • 1GB RAM
  • 32 GB inbuilt memory with microSD Card slot
  • 1280×800 resolution display
  • 5 megapixel camera with 720p video recording
  • 2 megapixel webcam
  • 1080p HDMI output


Yahoo!

Yahoo! showed the next generation of their TV widget offerings, but these widgets are alive.  They can interact with the content on live TV to really meld the traditional broadcast TV format with the new, connected TV phenomenon.  This could be exciting, or it could be really annoying, we’ll have to wait and see.


Intel

Everyone is in the tablet game, and Microsoft and Intel had to get into it as well.  Check out a video of the tablet from the live blog.


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