CES 2012

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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Jan 17, 2012 0 comments
Netgear showed off the new Smart Network Cloud Application Platform on its 2012 routers, network attached storage (NAS) drives, and media players, where users can access a number of useful home networking apps through a dashboard called the AppManager. These third-party-developed apps include home lighting and power control, media search capabilities, and internet usage meters.

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 17, 2012 2 comments
Somebody at Newer Technology finally got fed up with all the USB wall wart chargers taking up all the available outlets - not to mention looking like a charger jigsaw puzzle. The company's Power2U AC/USB wall outlet combines two AC wall outlets with a pair of powered USB ports that'll charge and power up to four iOS/Android/etc devices - including being able to charge the amperage-hungry iPad. Unlike traditional wall-wart power supplies, the USB charging ports in the Power2U utilize a "Smart Power" design that is supposed to reduce your energy consumption costs by providing only the charging amount necessary for the connected devices, as well as turn off power to the USB ports when the connecting cable is removed. Safety shutters over the USB ports slide closed when not in use.

The UL-Listed Power2U installs into a standard single-gang outlet box (16 cubic inches or larger) with a 15A circuit and comes with detailed instructions for the intrepid do-it-yourselfer. In fact, Newer Technology says it can be installed in as little as 20 minutes. At the moment, the wall outlets are only available in an off-white finish. The wall plate itself has small caps to cover the wall plate's screws. The Power2U AC/USB wall outlets are available now for $39.95/each But if my house is any kind of a guide, you'll need more than just one to satisfy all your voracious portable devices.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jan 17, 2012 0 comments
As one of only three major manufacturers of plasma TVs, Samsung continues its tradition of excellence with the E8000 flagship line, which offers screen sizes of 60 and 64 inches. A dual-core chipset is said to provide enhanced performance, with excellent 2D and 3D picture quality and deep blacks thanks to the company's Real Black filter. Its Smart TV functionality includes Samsung's Smart Content and Smart Interaction technology that lets you control the TV by motion and voice, and Smart Evolution lets you upgrade the hardware as new features become available.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 17, 2012 1 comments
At CES, legendary audio company McIntosh introduced a special 50th Anniversary Limited Edition McIntosh MC275 tube power amplifier. According to McIntosh, the 75-watt x 2 MC275 was designed and engineered in 1961 by McIntosh co-founder Sidney Corderman and the McIntosh Engineering Team, and it's been an object of desire for McIntosh aficionados ever since. Adding to the excitement of the introduction, McIntosh handed out what has to be one of the best press kit flash drives in the history of CES: a miniature version of the MC275 with 4 GB of flash memory hidden inside one of the output transformers. McIntosh says they are only building 275 of the 50th Anniversary Limited Edition MC275 (hmmm, I wonder where they came up with that number?), so it's destined to be a highly sought after piece of gear. I'm not sure how many mini-MC275 flash drives McIntosh has to give out, but I know it's going to be quite a collector's item, too. Now, if I could just figure out where to connect the speaker wires...
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jan 17, 2012 0 comments
Samsung's booth was dominated by flying video cubes overhead, making it easy to find from just about anywhere in Central Hall.
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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Jan 17, 2012 1 comments
Dolby announced that movies and TV shows from HBO Go will include Dolby Digital Plus. Dolby Digital Plus supports up to 7.1 channel surround sound so you can experience a movie, or TV show, the way the director intended. This means that viewers can have a high definition movie experience with full surround sound similar to that of watching a Blu-ray Disc.

Dolby previously announced that Dolby Digital Plus is available Netflix and Vudu streaming services. Initially, the multichannel surround sound format could only be played through a Playstation 3 or XBox 360 video console.

With the CES announcement, Dolby Digital Plus will be available on TVs and Blu-ray Players with these video on demand apps.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jan 17, 2012 1 comments
I learned more about the flagship of Samsung's 2012 LED-LCD TV lineup since the press conference last Monday. For example, it will be available in screen sizes of 55, 60, and 75 inches. Like all Samsung LED-LCDs, this one is edgelit along the sides, and a new Micro Dimming Ultimate algorithm provides pseudo local dimming with more zones than previous versions. Also, Smart Evolution lets you upgrade the TV's hardware as well as firmware, making it essentially futureproof.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 17, 2012 0 comments
One of the surprise finds I stumbled upon on the last day of CES was a company called iOmounts. They make a very clever magnetic mounting system for iPhones and iPads (or any flat tablet or touchscreen device, really) that’s easy to use, very stable, and is designed for quick release. The mount uses a stainless ball with a round magnet that’s sculpted on one end to fit the ball. The other end is flat. A thin circle of metal gets attached to the back of your iOS device, and this is what is held in place by the flat end of the magnet that’s attached to the ball. While the magnet is holding the device, you can slide it around the surface of the ball in order to position the iOS device at almost any angle. When you’re done, you simply pull the device away from the magnet and go on your way. It’s a great idea for someone who wants to use his/her iPad as a second monitor - or especially for anyone who uses an iPad/iPhone as a temporary remote control in a home theater. The iOmounts come in two sizes. The shorter version starts at $69, while the taller version starts at $89. A wall mount will be available for $49. Everything (except the magnets) is made in Colorado, and they’re expected to begin shipping in March.
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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Jan 16, 2012 1 comments
To offer an alternative to cable, Boxee offers hundreds of channels of online content, a web browser and now live TV. Better than connecting an antenna directly to your TV where you simply surf through channels, connect an HD antenna to the Boxee Live TV USB dongle and browse cover art for TV shows on broadcast TV channels you receive.

Boxee believes that by adding live TV, more people will be able to “cut the cord,” that is quit their cable service. Premium content from Netflix and a variety of other online streaming sources along with your local ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox channels are combined in the Boxee experience.

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