The Consumer Electronics Show is sort of the Super Bowl of our industry, as manufacturers of just about everything that accepts AC, DC, or batteries descend upon Las Vegas each winter to parade what's new and what's coming soon. Given the presence of all the wonderful new products that blur the lines between consumer electronics and computers at this year's show, it looks like I've got my work cut out for me as convergence editor. Here's a quick look at some of the most interesting arrivals.
BenQ Think of it as a portable CD player with benefits: BenQ's Joybee610 will not only play your tunes on the go (including MP3s on CD), but it also plays DVDs and can read CD-ROMs with JPEGs. For anything visual, however, you'll need to hook up the Joybee to an external monitor through its composite-, component-, or S-video output.
Toshiba When it comes to recording TV shows, Toshiba's RD-XS32 gives you plenty of options: you can store them on the 80-gigabyte (GB) hard disk for a short stay, give them a permanent home on a write-once DVD-R, or burn them onto an erasable DVD-RW or DVD-RAM disc.
IntegraWith Dolby Digital EX and DTS-ES decoding and seven 110-watt amplifier channels, Integra's THX Select-certified DTR-8.4 receiver has all you need to power and control a full 6.1-channel home theater system with two back surround speakers. Plus it converts all composite- and S-video signals to component video for easy switching between sources. Still not satisfied?
Teac Mixing modern style with classic technology, the Teac SR-L50 table radio was made to stand out. The striking minisystem combines an AM/FM radio, CD player, and stereo speakers in one sleek package measuring 15 1/2 x 8 1/8 x 8 3/8 inches.
Samsung Joining forces, Samsung, DirecTV, and TiVo have created the SIR-S4120R video hard-disk recorder. Not only does it have a supersized 120-gigabyte (GB) hard drive that can hold up to 100 hours of shows but also dual DirecTV satellite tuners so you can record two shows at once or watch one while recording another.
Gateway Your plasma-TV dreams have a little room to grow now that Gateway's 50-inch GTW-P50M203 flat-panel HDTV monitor is on the scene. Not only can the 1,366 x 768-pixel screen bring you true high-def images, but the widescreen set is only $7,000.
Marantz When you've got the Marantz DV8400 DVD player, you can stop worrying about format incompatibility. This THX Select player attains "universal" status by playing DVD-Audio discs and Super Audio CDs and is said to provide full bass management for both formats.
PanasonicIt's a tough call: do you want a hard-drive video recorder so you can save TV shows without disc clutter, or a DVD recorder so you can keep your recordings forever? Panasonic's DMR-E80H gives you both options in a single package.
Zenith Want a taste of DVD-Audio? Hey, at this price, why not? Zenith's affordable DVB252 five-disc DVD changer can handle the format, feeding high-res audio to your receiver or preamp through its multichannel analog audio output. And if you're sometimes in the mood for compressed audio, the player also reads MP3 and Windows Media Audio (WMA) files on CD-Rs and CD-RWs.
Fujitsu It's a whole new look for Fujitsu's Plasmavision. The 42-inch P42VHA20 has a lighter silver finish than previous models and front-panel controls discreetly located in the bottom righthand corner. It's also just 3 inches thick.
Go-Video To get all your computer's digital pictures and media clips over to your A/V system you'll need some kind of complicated newfangled interface contraption, right? Nope-all you need is Go-Video's D2730 DVD player, which can connect to your PC either through its PC Card Ethernet adapter or wirelessly with an optional Wi-Fi PC Card.
JVC No room for one more component in your rack? How about half of one? At 2 1/4 inches thick, JVC's XV-N5SL DVD player won't crowd anyone. It still does everything a chubbier player can do, including deliver progressive-scan images through its component-video output and perform 2:3 pulldown to compensate for frame-rate differences between video and film.