3-D started its comeback at CES about two years ago when Samsung first showed capable rear projection TVs. At the time, 3D was just for video games, with only the vague promise that movies would be coming. On Wednesday in Vegas, Panasonic announced plans to push for technical standards that could show up in TVs and Blu-ray discs and players in less than two years.
OQO has been pushing the bounds of what you can fit into your palm for a few years. Long before netbooks were even a twinkle in Intel's eye, the company was making tiny, full-service computers. But with the explosion of said netbooks, plus ever-smarter smartphones, is there still a place for this Lilliputian, high-power, high-priced computer? Hard to say, but the company isn't just sitting back to see what happens.
We at PopSci love Sonos, the wireless music streaming system that has won two Best of What’s New awards over the years. And since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the Linksys division of Cisco seems to love Sonos too. They’ve come out with their own version of the product--with a few features that may be better.
Two days before the Consumer Electronics Show officially starts, the first products debuted at CES Unveiled on Tuesday evening. Many of the tables at the Venetian conference center in Vegas looked best-suited to an obscure trade fair, with information about USB and HDMI specifications, for example. But a few innovative--or just plain quirky -- products emerged. Click to see the highlights.
At long last -- and after we jealously watched Sharp's debut in Japan last year -- wireless high-def TVs have come to the States. LG's 55-inch LHX LCD television features a separate "media box" that sources like cable boxes and Blu-ray players plug into. (Other products from Sony and Geffen are add-on units.) The box beams digital video and audio to the one-inch-thick TV using 60-gigahertz technology from SiBeam called WirelessHD.
Like perfect cellphone reception, wireless HDMI is a radio technology that’s long been promised and has shown little sign of materializing. But finally, it’s here. Gefen’s HDMI UWB Extender is not the first high-def A/V streamer to hit the US. (Sony’s Bravia Wireless Link has that distinction). But it’s the first that can fully replace an HDMI cable by offering up to 1080 progressive HD video.
Hewlett-Packard's Firebird looks like any high-powered desktop computer. But it whispers at less than 30 decibels, while rivals are twice as loud. It gets its muscle from a high-power desktop CPU with four processors, but laptop-style components, including three graphics cards and a pair of hard drives, keep the Firebird cool, quiet and efficient.
1. Video on Demand
Flat-panels were supposed to eliminate the hulking television cabinet. But they are tethered to boxes -- cable tuners, disc players, A/V receivers -- that fill a big piece of furniture. A wireless connection lets you at least stash those peripherals out of the way. We tried out the first two cable-free HD technologies: one that uses radio waves and another that piggybacks on your home's electrical wiring.
Last week Netflix quietly introduced HD to its streaming Internet service. Netflix didn't make a big stir about flipping the HD switch, though, and it's easy to understand why. (As company spokesman Steve Swasey said, "For now, the HD offering is more of a stake in the ground.")