We chat with the Sling Media crew and take a special look at the newly announced Slingbox PRO HD. The PRO HD allows you to beam HD to any device, and if you have the upload capacity, to do so with no down-conversion. The PRO HD will be available in Q3 and will retail for $399.99. Coupled with the SlingCatcher, you’ll be able to beam HD-anything to another TV in your house straight up.
Further, the SlingCatcher will function as a standalone device that will allow you to pull a screen or web video stream from a host computer to your TV. For now, you have to coordinate and control it from the host PC, and it still needs to play on the host PC, but the ability to push the video up to your TV without plugging anything additional in is pretty tempting. The Sling Catcher also features 2 USB ports, to allow it to play from external storage. The SlingCatcher will be available around the same time for $249.99 and can push out over HDMI or component. Check the video out for all the grisly details and some great close ups of the Slingers in action.
We visited Sharp at CES and checked out their TV specifically for gamers. It’s the GP3 Series of 1080p LCD TVs, with a 6 millisecond response time, which reduces lag time between your beloved console and the TV. It’s even available in 3 cool colors: Red, White or Black. Available for $1500. We also checked out their D64 Series of 1080p LCDs, 20% lighter and thinner than the previous D62 Series. Sizes range from 32” - 65” and are available now.
We loved AquosNet, an internet service in which up-to-the-minute, customizable information (weather, stocks, sports, traffic, Hollywood news and more) appears on the side of the TV screen at the push of a button. AquosNet is free with the SC94 and D74 Series.
Sony showed up in force for CES 2008 with a bevy of Blu-ray players in tow. Check the video above for a good run down of the Blu-ray technology. Some of the new interactive features are sure to impress, although many of the features have been available within HD DVD for some time.
Take note of the awkward cut that occurs when we ask them about the whole format war thing and the fact that studios are jumping over to Blu-ray left and right. That is when they stopped and told us they didn’t want to talk about that subject. We pushed the issue a bit, but they wouldn’t budge, so we just cut that portion out. Not sure what the big deal was though, I mean, it seems victory may be at hand for the Blu-ray side of things.
We talk to AMD‘s Marketing VP, Pat Moorhead about the Smart House “portal” they had set up at CES. In contrast to our last post, they were much more open this time and let me ask just about any questions I asked, including questions about their roadmap and some very cool details about their new “Black” edition, incredibly overclocker-friendly CPU. We also learn more about their mobile device chipset and hear that we’ll be able to output HD content from cell phones and other mobile devices running on ATI chips within the next year or so, straight to an HDTV. Cool stuff.
Have a small business? Got signs and televisions in your retail space? Westinghouse wants to give you the best of both worlds with their DSB - Digital Signage in a Box. The Linux-based system integrates digital signage with television, allowing small business owners to promote and entertain at the same time.
The 1080p display is optimized to show signage that is fully customizable using only a keyboard and mouse plugged into the unit - no computer required. The ads can be programmed on a timeline of the user’s choosing and can be placed anywhere on the screen to optimize their impact.
Westinghouse will be releasing the DSB in the second quarter of this year, at a price point that is yet to be determined.
In this episode, we open up the HP Pavilion HDX Dragon PC. This thing is a monster - a 20.1-inch notebook that specializes in home entertainment, sporting dual-lamp displays and weighing in at 15.5 pounds. Other stats of note on the HDX Dragon are the 64-bit Core 2 Duo processor and 2GB included memory (it supports up to 4GB), HP Imprint casing (looks very sleek), and fingerprint reader for security.
Since it’s a computer geared towards entertainment, the video card should also be mentioned. The HDX Dragon ships with a 512MB ATi Mobility Radeon HD2600 XT. That means that you get DirectX 10 support out of the box. Continuing on the whole entertainment meme, it also has a built-in HD DVD-ROM drive, allowing you to play back your HD DVD movies at 1080p.
Finally we have the connections, which are too many for us to go through - so we will let HP tell the story here:
The HDX comes with 4 USB 2.0 ports, an Express Card/54 slot (which also supports Express Card/34), an HDMI port, an S-Video, a VGA, an RJ-11, an RK-45, an IEEE 1394 FireWire, and a Consumer IR. A 5-in-1 digital media Card reader supports Secure Digital, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, MultiMediaCard, and xD-Picture Cards. You get an eSATA port for high-speed data transfer to external storage devices up to six times faster than existing solutions, which is perfect for high-def video content recording. There’s an integrated 802.11a/g/b/pre-N plus Bluetooth for highest-speed wireless connections. And the adjustable webcam with integrated microphones lets you capture still photos and short videos and for live video chat.
So yeah - they packed a lot into this machine. Now hit the video to actually see how it all came together.
Let us know what you think, or what you want us to unbox next!
Read More | HP Pavilion HDX Dragon Product Page
Along with today’s universal price cut on Xbox 360 consoles, Microsoft has added another nice little treat to the mix: a shiny HDMI port on all new premium systems. For many gamers, the promise of 1080p support made the Xbox 360 Elite a very tempting option for awhile, but now you don’t need to break the bank if you’re looking for the best video but don’t need an extra 100GB of hard disk space. These units should be showing up at retailers any day now, so keep your eyes peeled if you’re looking to grab a cheap(er) 360 with the best video you can possibly get…a bargain at $349.99. Systems with HDMI will now sport a nifty HDMI logo right on the box, so you shouldn’t have to tear open 10 boxes to find yourself one. No word yet on whether Microsoft has also been generous enough to include an HDMI cable with the new systems, but we’ll be sure to let you know as soon as we have more info.
Read More | GamePro
We were able to get a first-hand look at the new AMD LIVE! Digital Home Cinema concept while hanging out with the AMD crew. For those who may have missed it at CES, the AMD LIVE! Home Cinema is pretty much a specialized HTPC that aims to replace just about everything in your entertainment center, save for game consoles. It can run Linux or Windows Media Center, and is even a digital cable tuner that is CableCARD compatible. Powered by an AMD Athlon 64 X2 dual-core processor, it aims to provide an immersive theater-quality media experience with high-definition video, integrated 100 watt per channel surround sound audio and Internet capability, all in a device fit for your entertainment center. Check the video for a full walk-through.
VeriSign is throwing down the content delivery gauntlet with their Intelligent CDN technology. We are talking about full high definition video content streamed directly to your television at very high speeds. They show off a 200 MB file that is encoded at 5 mbps 1080p, which downloads completely in under 30 seconds. This is the kind of technology we hope to see on our set top boxes in the near future, and VeriSign is promising that it isn’t far away at all. Give it a view, and let us know what you think. Could both HD DVD and Blu-ray be dead in the water with tech like this soon to be available everywhere?
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