Greetings from Las Vegas: CES 2008

Sunday, January 6th… I arrived in Las Vegas this morning for the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show.   I’ll be posting every night with news and commentary, so be sure to stop back.


After checking in to my hotel I went over to the convention center to get my badge holder and the free press bag Toshiba gives out every year.   Usually it is a backpack, though I have received laptop bags before.


As you can see, every press bag has the HD DVD logo proudly emblazoned across the back.   When you combine that with hundreds, if not thousands of international press walking around Las Vegas, the end result is  you see HD DVD logos EVERYWHERE.   And I mean EVERYWHERE!   There were HD DVD banners hanging all over in the airport baggage claim and Toshiba/HD DVD ads stuck to the top of taxicabs.   Ouch!   I can’t imagine how badly Toshiba must be  feeling right now, after Friday’s events and Warner’s defection.   Clearly it was unexpected and this  CES is not what they had planned it to be!  


This evening was “The Digital Experience.”   It’s an invitation-only event hosted by Pepcom, a kind of mini CES in itself with free food and booze and a chance for participating companies to meet a little more personally with journalists.


The event had a tailgate party theme.   The cheerleaders are a variation of “booth babe”, the highly attractive young women they hire to man the booths and answer questions.   Most of them speak the tech language very well, or at least memorize their spiel perfectly… I don’t know where they find them!


Show floor, in the Augustus Ballroom at Caesar’s Palace

Truthfully I didn’t see much that was new or interesting at the event this year.   Most of it was existing product and a lot of it was computer accessories like mice and USB hubs, with a smattering of software.   I did see a few things worthy of note, as shown below.


Anything Hannah Montana is hot these days, and the folks who make Plug & Play TV Games  are attempting to cash in with  a game where your tweener daughter can play Hannah.   They started to demo it but I stopped them at the place where they go into Miley’s closet and you pick her wardrobe… I’m not into Hannah Montana, LOL and I saw enough to tell me the product will sell.   It comes in wired and wireless versions.


Olympus’ new E-3 pro camera, supporting their Four-Thirds format.   A very nice piece and sure to please Olympus owners.   I had a great experience with their E-510 this year and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a smallish, full-featured digital SLR.


Mustek had an HDTV converter box, a digital antenna to go with it, and surprisingly, a Blu-ray player.   The booth guy (no booth babe here) told me “this is one of the new Chinese-made Blu-ray players.   It is one of the few that can stream content  from the internet.” I replied, “Oh, it is profile 2.0, BD-Live?   Does it have ethernet?” He answered, “I don’t know” and we flipped it around.. no ethernet port.   That means it either uses wireless or he was clearly mistaken.   Perhaps they have a different model and they brought the wrong prototype out.   He said it would be likely be out by the end of the first quarter and be priced under $300.   If it is at least a profile 1.1, that would be great!   But based on the apparent lack of internet connectivity and the lack of knowledge about it, I wouldn’t count on it.


A miniature DLP projector from Samsung was shown at the Texas Instruments DLP booth.   It supports 720p resolution and picture quality was absolutely top notch.   The price was an amazing $699 and  I was told  it can project  a nice large image in dark rooms.   Given the price it would make a great toy, as  well as a  great deal for a quality projector!


This is the projector itself.   Business card provided  for scale.  


Strawberries covered in dark and white chocolate… some of the great food they had for us.   The service at Caesar’s Palace was exceptional… I’ve stayed at The Four Seasons before and the Caesar’s staff definitely knows how to do the kind of things  that set themselves apart from the rest with very attentive service.   Hats off to them.   That’s it for today… I’m going to go play my annual $20 worth of slots just to see if I get lucky, see you all tomorrow!

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