Stopping by HP’s rather large booth in South Hall’s upstairs, we stumbled upon their SLC3760N 37” LCD HD TV. It’s quite a mouthful no matter how you try to say it, but the TV had some stellar features that looked to function brilliantly. The TV is a uPNP device that allows you to hop on your local wireless (802.11a/b/g) or wired (100-base) network and instantly start watching media from your home’s PCs. It’s able to playback MPEG-1, MPEG-2, DivX, XviD (or, at least, MPEG-4), MP3s, AOL Radio and Rhapsody, and whatever photo formats you can throw at it.
It also features a 176° viewing angle, which looks quite stunning, and a 6,000:1 contrast ratio on a 720p screen. Release date is set tentatively for “early Spring” with a price “to be announced.” After trying a bit harder to eek a price out of him, he mentioned that the LCD on its own, minus all the connectivity functions, is (of course) absolutely top of the line, so you can expect to pay what a similar-quality tv might cost. He mentioned that the connectivity stuff adds only about $300 to the cost, which is pretty reasonable for such a flexible device.
Another interesting aspect of the forthcoming Windows Vista is how closely integrated it will be with your gaming experience. Games are now installed and tracked as their own element, complete with metadata that allows them to be sorted and managed better. By going to the Games menu in Windows, you’ll be able to quickly jump to the manufacturer’s support page, see installation details and quickly launch into your games. It’s not terribly exciting or even all that different, but it allows Windows to maintain a firm grip on parental controls with games, restricting play to games installed and approved through the system. This sort of tight integration with the OS makes me wonder if its extensibility might allow for more severe DRM and copy-protection schemes. Microsoft says they have legacy metadata for more than 2,000 games, and most developers will be including the small amount of metadata that will let them take advantage of the system. (And for those of you wondering, the picture is a shot of the advanced, DirectX 9-based application switching animations in Vista. We’ll likely have more on the graphical improvements in a later post.)
Check after the jump for a quick look at Microsoft’s new method to measure system performance, and some of the enhancements we found in the System Properties console.
We thought this one might be interesting enough to tell you about - at first glance, the Tao Wireless Media Player is just like all off your standard run-of-the-mill MP3 players. However, this device has integrated 802.11b which allows it to stream content stored anywhere on your network (or any network it is allowed to access, for that matter.) Even better, it also has a 20 GB internal hard drive, so you can still store your tunes on it as well. When you want to stream music, you can even use the built-in WiFi hotspot finder, which will sniff out networks for you to jump on. Focusing on a “sharing” theme, the device also has an FM transmitter built-in, so you can send the streaming music or MP3 files to a radio. Not only that, it also has two headphone ports - great for listening to tunes with your honey.
We’re live at the Larry Page keynote for Google. We’ll do our best to make note of the cool stuff…
4:15 Very cool Google Earth demonstration video, featuring a bunch of National Geographic pictures overlayed, showing sheep and such. And the Grand Canyon.
4:20 Google’s Larry Page has come on stage
on Stanley, the winning DARPA entry.
4:22 Larry’s showing us the results of a collaborative effort with VW to develop Google Earth into a car dashboard… Perhaps this is the beginning of Google in embedded devices…
Now, he’s showing us Google Maps on a live cell phone… AJAX over cell? He’s showing scrolling on a satellite map. google.com/glm
4:27 I’m noticing Page sounds sort of like Ernie from Sesame Street…
(The rest, after the jump…)
Okay guys, we are sitting in the auditorium, primed and ready to take in the keynote of Google Larry Page. We just got a peek at the TelePrompter, which an employee shut off when he noticed me trying to grab an image. Anyway, we can confirm that Google will be announcing a paid video download service - the rumors are true. The service will offer a wide range of entertainment, sports and news programming. Users will need to download a Google video player to take advantage of the service. We will have more from the keynote when it starts.
The LaCie “Two Big” [sic] enclosure is pretty fun, and includes two SATA IIe drives in configurations of either 500 GB (total capacity) or 1 terabyte. It’s user-configurable with RAID 0, RAID 1, Big Disks or JBOD. (And, although the configuration is set by a dial in the back that requires a screwdriver to change, it’s not recommended you go shift from RAID 0 to 1 after you’ve put your most precious data on it.) Coming in at $470 and $950 for the 500GB and 1TB sizes, it also includes a PCI-X SATA IIe card that lets you plug in and get going right away. It’s hot-swappable (although I’m guessing only in a few configurations) and thus, easy to boost the capacity when larger drives come out, even if it does weigh the same as a cinder block. (...almost.)
Alright peeps, check it. We know that all of those who can’t be here want to see as much as they can of the event. That being the case, we just set up a CES 2006 Gallery/Moblog that you can all check out to see what we are seeing. We have just a few things in there now, but we will definitely be updating throughout the rest of the conference with product images, random Vegas musings, and anything else we might want to show (note to self - throw up an image of the “Foldaway Bed of Doom”) to y’all.
Read More | Gear Live Gallery
It’s true. LaCie announced yesterday a few new drive enclosure systems, including their Rugged Hard Drive (in stunning day-glo orange, above) and their LaCie Two Big SATA IIe RAID system. The Rugged can survive at least a three foot fall (when shut down) and has a nice rubber grip and a neat design. As my Jewish step-grandmother would say, “it’s a bit much,” coming in at $170 for the 80 GB 5,400 rpm, all the way up to $400 for the 100 GB 7,200 rpm drive. Now to get some gefilte in here to shut my step-grams up. (Another pic, of the rugged’s USB 2.0 and FireWire interfaces, after the jump.)
Another Showstopper hit, Netomat’s hub software really piqued our interest. It’s best to watch my interview (above, special thanks to Andru for starting on a frame that makes me look like a giant douche.) for the full scoop on this unique software that launched just last night, but here’s the basics: After creating a free netomat account, you are sent their software client to your phone. The phone software works on Java using WAP or GPRS data services, so you don’t pay per message. Once you accept the client, it’s time to invite some friends to your hub. After your friends join up, quite a few features come out of the woodwork. For one, you’re able to see if your friends are online, offline or on a call. Any time you take a picture with your camera phone, with one click, you can send it to everyone in your hub. Using something called WAP push, your friends running the netomat software will instantly receive a prompt asking if they want to see what you’re pushing.
Netomat also features some really fun desktop software, including a small system tray-based widget that notifies you on your computer when a post to the hub has been made. Even better, you can quickly and simply drag and drop any RSS feed from your browser to the netomat software and create a hub around it that your friends can subscribe to. You’ll receive every RSS clip that comes into the feed, straight to your phone, at your leisure. Additionally, their web site lets you send images from your PC to your hub and lets you see all the activity on the feed. Best of all, it’s all free.
Also, be sure to look for our feed to be featured on netomat through an exciting co-branding with them.
Check out the full interview in the video above to get a better feel for how simple and fun the software is.
Read More | Netomat Hub
At Showstoppers, an after-CES press-only event, we got some hands on experience with h20 audio’s waterproofing kit for the iPod. Offering models for the mini, nano, shuffle and standard iPod, the kit includes a locking mechanism to ensure that no water seeps in, and an innovative scroll wheel that allows you to twist and select even underwater. They say it’s perfect for snowboarding, skiing, hot tubbing or even those pleasant bubble baths that the Gear Live staff is so fond of. We interview Kristian from h20 who tells us more about the included waterproof headphones and the price points. (Around $70.00, depending on your pod’s size.)
Another still of their display unit submerged, after the jump.