CES 2006: Chief Gizmateer’s CES Day 2 Report

Day two proved to be a fruitful day for the Geeks! We visited some gadgety manufacturers, went through the home automation and control as well as the whole home audio and some home theater manufacturers not to mention getting inbetween ATI and Nvidia! Finally, we were able to conduct an in-depth interview with Joe Dada, President and CEO of Smarthome and key proponent of the INSTEON home automation and control networking technology featuring dual-band and a peer-to-peer mesh network.

We were introduced to some new Kensington products that are not out yet (or even announced!). D-link showed off their new products including a total home network security device called the SecureSpot, a hotspot router (including an adapter for a car… I see gaming sessions in limos!), and their MediaLounge Server. We were able to see a highly priced but either poorly setup demo or just an underperforming Benq PE8720 projector, the first HD DVD laptop and the 4 GPU Quad SLI Dell machine.

Finally, we will post the interview with Joe Dada probably early next week. One quick note, this CEO knows his stuff technically, and despite being an engineer at heart knows business.

CES 2006: PowerPlay 5.1 Media Chair, Iqua products and more

Powerplay 5.1 Chair One of the cool gadgets that we did not know about but ran into along the way was a “media” chair made by Empower Technologies. The Powerplay 5.1 Pro Media Chair is an ergonomic, comfy gaming/multimedia chair that has 5 speakers embedded into it, 2 around the headrest, 2 to the sides of the seat and one embedded right in the top-middle of the seat. There is also a subwoofer underneath the seat and the sound system is THX-certified. Added to that, there is a tactile transducer a.k.a. a “bass shaker” that picks up low frequencies and vibrates the chair. We sat in the seat and watched (and felt) a piece of the podracer scence from Star Wars: the Phantom Menace. It really was a great experience – you were surrounded by sound and felt more embedded in the movie, and the vibration and deeper bass completed the effect. Even though the speakers are relatively close on the chair, there was still really good stereo separation. You can get your Powerplay Media chair directly from Empower for US $999.

Slingbox Questions Answered

Everyone knows the hottest new technology and product in Consumer Electronics is Sling Media’s Slingbox. In fact, we’ve featured the Slingbox as a Gizmo of the Day back on September 21st, 2005 as well as several news articles on our site. Without first hand knowledge (YET!), there were a couple questions about the device the Geeks had.

With a trip to China planned this year, I have been concerned about my Internet activities abroad and if the “Great Firewall of China” would block viewing my television through Slingbox from hotels in Beijing and Ghuangzou. While designing around firewalls, Sling Media decided to make the network port configurable so people worried about a firewall not allowing their content to flow through could set the network port on the Slingbox to port 80 (the main web port) or 443 (the main secure web port). I’m still not sure if content inspecting firewalls will cause a problem though, but we were happy that at least Sling Media did not to lock the network port.

Read on to learn about the other questions that were answered.

CES 2006: Chief Gadgeteer’s CES Day 1 Report

Wow, yet another huge Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas – 2,500 exhibitors, 130,000 attendees, 1.5 million net square feet of exhibit space and 4,500 of us media types. Day 1 was hectic and we were left wondering why this monster isn’t more like a week long instead of just 4 days. Notable things today included CNET’s Next Big Thing announcement, a panel sponsored by Popular Science on where certain technologies were headed, some cool gadgets at the “CES Innovations Design & Engineering Showcase Honors” along with a few other interesting gadgets and gizmos along the way.

OLED Ready for Primetime? Samsung says Yes!

Are OLED (organic light-emitting diode) TVs ready for US consumers? According to our interview with Samsung SDI today the answer is “yes”.

While viewing the various displays, we have to agree OLED creates some incredible images compared to even LCD screens, the lifespan of the Samsung SDI AM OLED (Active Matrix-based OLEDs) is about half of typical screens at about 10,000-20,000 hours. Besides being a rather huge possible difference in lifetime, the lifespan is still roughly half that of LCD screens.

One of the problems with OLED has always been the lifespan of OLEDs (the blue OLEDs). Typically, blue OLEDs would only last 9,400 hours at a luminance level of 400 cd/m2. Compared to LCD panels at the same brightness, LCDs average lifespan is 60,000 hours

CES 2006: Chief Gizmateer’s CES Day 1 Report

Overwhelmed and not enough time are the first impressions the Geeks have about CES 2006. CES takes up all of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) as well as the Sands Exposition Center and several suites have been rented at various hotels for even more product demos. We’ll be lucky to see 5% of the show!

We did attend several sessions including a “look into the future”session and a very informative session featuring a panel including Dlink, Zigbee, Insteon, Homeplug and HomePNA.

As far as exhibits, we were impressed with the clarity and brightness of the OLEDs soon to be offered by Samsung SDI and were quite impressed with a closer look at the Slingbox and excited by the answers to our concerns with the product. Moving on to home automation (my favorite consumer electronics), HAI had some impressive newly or released products and about to be released products while Smarthome and friends were showing of the growth of manufacturers and products using Insteon.

We will be posting many more articles tomorrow morning and throughout the day, but for now… the Geeks must rest.

Geeks go to CES

The Geeks have been busy getting ready for the 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, NV this week. Unfortunately our schedules did not allow us to make the official press events today but we will be writing updates throughout the course of the show while we check up on various products from home automation to portable media devices (like the Gamepark GP2X).

Our list of vendors that we plan to visit has reached five pages and we’re excited to check out this year’s NextGen “Digital Lifestyles” Home and the various TechZones showcasing the future of consumer electronics.

Check back daily or even a couple a time a day to see what’s happening at CES!

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