Other than integrating the Rhapsody music service into the Escient Vision media center, the company had little news for CES. However, they said they were awaiting Sony's announcement of a Blu-ray changer with the capacity of 400 discs. The Escient system will be capable of integrating four changers, for access to 1,600 Blu-rays. At present, there probably aren't that many BD discs on the market, so the system can grow along with your library.
HP was demonstrating the MediaSmart Server that will come out at the end of the month. Designed to store and stream your media, the unit comes with a 750GB drive for $599 and for $749 you get a 1.4TB drive. It provides automatic backups and allows for automatic collection of data and files from other computers on the network. It won Best in Show at the recent MacWorld (that overlaps CES). I figure if the Mac and PC world are finally learning to co-exist, there is still hope for peace in the Middle East.
After years in development, Gefen has finally released their wireless HDMI solution and it's not cheap at $999. The range is 30 feet, effectively doubling the maximum distance you can run an HDMI cable without a booster. The cost doesn't seem to be a problem, since the product is already backordered.
Why is that man wearing sun glasses indoors? They aren't sunglasses, those are 3D goggles. While none of the companies demonstrating 3D-capable TVs were prepared to make any projections as to when product might actually hit the retail shelves, it was a common attraction at a good number of exhibits.
Panasonic's TCP54Z1 is a only 1-inch thick and weights 67 pounds, However, that is only the beginning of it's impressive attributes. It is also wireless, receiving its signal from a separate receiver, where you plug in your video components. It also integrates Viera Cast, providing access via the TVs menu to Internet sites with icons for YouTube, Picassa photo sharing, plus other widgets.
LG's wireless TV system includes the 55LH85 Full HD 1080p LCD HDTV and an AV media box. The only cable to the TV is the power cord. All components are plugged into the media box which connect to the TV wirelessly, and transfers uncompressed 1080p signals up to 30 feet away, at a bit rate of 3Gbps.
This personal digital video recorder is also a media center with a 500GB hard drive that is upgradable to 1TB. The device allows you to record a video or TV program in real-time and supports time-shift functionality. There are editing tools that allow you to cut, splice and merge the home videos you store on the drive. There is a built in iPod dock for playback of your video media through a TV. It's compatible with about every file you can imagine and retails for $349.
One of the fun things about CES is you get to see some of the technologies that manufacturer's are working on. It doesn't mean they plan on releasing it to the public any time soon but it gives you some insight of what's on the drawing board. Hitachi showed a TV that could be controlled by a serious of gestures with your hand and arms. It's not SciFi anymore.
While only designed for entertainment purposes at the show, this tabletop using Microsoft Surface, allows multiple windows to be open (like a browser). Windows can be moved around with one finger. Place them where ever you like, then pinch or expand them to change the window size. Video can be played on each window individually or all at once, just touch the play/pause key. The forward thinking technology of the movies (remember Minority Report?) may be a reality soon.