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CES continued: Slideshow, Hitachi, SlingMedia

by User Not Found | Jan 09, 2007

Vista is a big part of the show of course. One interesting aspect of the new OS is the Sideshow feature. This extends selected capabilities of the PC to a variety of connected devices by adding what Microsoft calls "gadgets" (add-in programs) to the PC. These programs update the relevant device with information and allow it to access the computer whether or not it is switched on. This concept raises the possibility that, as long as a PC user has access to the Internet, he can always access media or information stored on that PC. This is yet another example of the extension of the network to the individual - the connected consumer.

Hitachi gave some interesting perspectives on the ongoing plasma/LCD debate. The company claims to be independent of the debate, although in reality it has more invested in plasma than LCD. It sells both technologies, and positions plasma as preferable above 37" and LCD below. Even with the increase in LCD sizes Hitachi believes plasma will win the large screen battle because of the inherent benefits of the technology. One of the clearest of these, reduced blurring in high motion content, is being shown at Hitachi's booth in a side-by-side demonstration. LCD proponents of course will tell a different story...

Every major brand needs a world first at CES and Hitachi's was the 1TB (terabyte) hard drive. So expect to see these in PCs later this year.

Sling Media is the TiVo of the late 2000's. From a standing start in early 2005, the company's name has come to represent everything about the emerging connected entertainment world. It doesn't reveal sales numbers, but many international road warriers (shouldn't that be Sky Warriers?) confined to business hotel rooms are already familiar with the Slingbox's ability to banish the restriction to local television in unfamiliar languages to the history books. The size of the company's booth at the emerging technology exhibits at the Sands give testament to its growth and profitability.

Sling continues to shake up the media world with the launch of new devices. Highlight at CES is probably the SlingProjector, which mirrors whatever content is displayed on a PC screen on another display. This is Sling's answer to the problem of getting web content such as Youtube videos onto the TV; many other solutions are offered elsewhere at CES.

I'll be posting photos from the Show as soon as I can.
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