Our pal Robert Scoble was able to get an early look at the new Microsoft Songsmith software, and we were impressed enough that we wanted to give you guys a look at the video. Songsmith allows you to make music, that you sing to, by generating musical accompaniment to match a singer’s voice. You sing into your mic, and the software creates the backing music for you to make you sound good. It’s not just for novices either, as you can play instruments into Somgsmith for capturing, and it includes an intelligent scratchpad to allow it to work with new melodies. Kind of hard to explain, so really, check out the video. You can download a free trial at the Songsmith page as well.
Read More | Songsmith
During the kickoff Microsoft keynote that marks the start CES, Steve Ballmer announced that Windows 7 beta is available starting today for TechNet and MSDN subscribers. Nothing too exciting there for the average Joe, we know, which is why we were excited when he also mentioned that the beta would also be publicly available beginning this Friday, January 9th. You’ll be able to grab either the 32-bit version, or the 64-bit version of the Windows 7 beta software if you are one of the first 2.5 million people to hit the download button. You just need to head to the Windows 7 product page to do so. Just be aware that the beta software will expire on August 1, 2009.
As part of the release, Microsoft was also happy to note that Windows Live Essentials, “a free suite of communications and sharing applications that make it easy for people to communicate, share and keep their online lives in sync and in one place with one login,” is now also available on a worldwide scale.
VIZIO is launching a new platform that they’re calling “Conneced HDTV,” and with it comes confirmation of the second Netflix direct-to-TV partnership. VIZIO’s Connected HDTV platform is designed to compliment traditional television viewing. You just connect the television to your home network, and if there’s nothing good on, you can go into Netflix, and I am sure there will be other services (YouTube? Hulu?) that you’ll be able to pull up as well. This is a trend we are definitely liking, let’s eliminate set-top boxes while providing more viewing options for the consumer.
EDIT: Okay, we just got more details on this. Aside from Netflix, the VIZIO Connected HDTV platform also brings Amazon Video on Demand, Pandora, Flickr, Blockbuster OnDemand, Rhapsody, Adobe Flash content, games from Accedo Broadband, and the Yahoo! widget engine. Very, very interesting!
Read More | MarketWatch
Sharp is aiming to help eliminate at least one set-top box from your rack with their BD-series Aquos LCD HDTVs, which come with a Blu-ray player packed in to the television unit, announced today at CES 2009. If interested, you can pick one up later this month in 32-, 37-, or 42-inch flavors, or if you need something larger, next month the 46- and 52-inch models drop. These also bost the Superlucent ASV panel technology which means less glare in the end, and a brighter picture. It also does 24p through HDMI, in case you have an old HD DVD player you have lying around that you want to use (since the included Blu-ray technology doesn’t use up an HDMI port.) QAM and ATSC tuners along with RS-232C inputs round this one out. Full release after the break.
We are loving just how prevalent small HD cams are becoming, and the RCA EZ209HD looks to be an impressive unit when it comes to that category. This is the company’s slimmest and “sexiest” (their word, not mine) Small Wonder camcorder ever, and captures high definition video while sporting a 2-inch display. Even better, though, unlike some of the other handheld HD flash camcorders we’ve seen, the EZ209HD even has an HDMI port, so you can plug directly into a television to watch your home movies. The rechargeable battery lasts for two hours, which is also nice, and the camera even supports a 60fps Sports Mode for fast action. Once your recordings are done, you can easily upload them to YouTube and Box.net. You’ll be able to get your hands on an RCA EZ209HD by the end of this quarter, and it’ll sell for $119.99.
Full press release available after the break, which includes details on the EZ207 as well.
So, you know how VIZIO was working on switching from being a discount player to wanting to be seen more as a high end manufacturer? Well, looks like they are looking to merge those two together with their VBR100 Blu-ray deck, which they announced today at CES 2009. Here’s a look at the features of this 2-inch thick Blu-ray player:
- Video outputs: HDMI (1.3), component, and composite
- Audio outputs: 7.1 channel analog audio, coax and optical digital audio, and analog stereo (RCA)
- Dimensions: 17 X 11 X 2”
- Includes Remote Control (Oh rly??)
In addition, when watching a standard DVD, you can set the player to upconvert to 720p, 1080i, or 1080p, and it has on-board Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA decoders, and that can be output from the unit’s 7.1 analog outputs. You can pick this one up in April for $199.99.
We are big fans of BUG Labs, so we are naturally excited about the news this morning coming out of CES that they are set to release a total of five new BUGmodules. If you are unfamiliar with what BUG Labs and the BUGbase is all about, check out our video from last year’s CES after the break. Anyhow, here’s a list of the new BUGmodules:
- BUG3g: Gives you phone and/or data connectivity
- BUGwifi: Give you 802.11b/g Wi-Fi as well as Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR capabilities
- BUGbee: An 802.15.4 antenna to be used with ZigBee home automation setups
- BUGsound: Give you a 20mm speaker jack, four 3.5mm jacks, and an omnidirectional microphone
- BUGprojector: An integrated DLP Pico projector which outputs at 480x320 resolution
None of these have been priced, or have even been stamped with a specific release date, but you can expect them to ship before the end of the quarter.
Read More | PR Newswire
Hey, it’s CES time, and that means we are getting slammed with news from all ends. Toshiba, happy to get in on that party, has just announced that they’ll be integrating Media Center Extender technology directly into their REGZA line of HDTVs, and that they are even working on a standalone device that you can integrate into your home theater setup as well to get the same functionality. I guess this is the most we can expect from the company whose HD DVD technology lost out to Blu-ray in a major way. We’ve got the full release for you after the break.
MSI is sharing its Wind NetOns at CES. It is available in a 19-inch model AE1901 that will run on an Atom Dual Core CPU with 720p video support. The earth-friendly device consumes only about 20% of average PCs. The AE2203 is powered by a Core 2 Duo CPU. With advanced entertainment and AV features, the higher end NetOn has full HD video. Two other models, the AP1900 and the AP1902, will also be shown. No price or date of release has been given.
Read More | Akihabara News
One of Motorola’s offerings at the CES is its MOTOSURF A310. The smartphone features a touchscreen with the company’s new widget-based home screen which includes an auto-updating RSS reader. Running on Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional, it also has trackball navigation, Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP support, a microSD card slot and a 3 mp auto-focus camera. The A3100 will start out in Asia and China, while the rest of us will have to wait until it finds its way further.
Read More | Mobileburn