Best Of CES 2005

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Samsung Shows Off 102-Inch Plasma Television

Samsung 102-Inch Plasma TV
Samsung 102-Inch Plasma TV. Robert Silva
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and Samsung seems to be taking that old saying literally, as it once again lays claim to the World's largest Plasma television at 102-inches in screen size, topping Samsung's previous world record plasma screen size from last year; which was 80-inches.

Don't hold your breath, however. It will be some time before this one starts rolling off the assembly line. For now, if you want to really want to impress your friends, you will just have to settle for the 80-inch version, which will begin shipping later this year; at a premium price.

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Palm-sized DLP Video Projectors Attract Attention

Mitsubishi Mini DLP Video Projector
Mitsubishi Mini DLP Video Projector. Robert Silva
In what may turn out to be a very interesting new consumer electronics product category, both the Texas Instruments and InFocus booths at CES displayed working prototypes of small palm-sized DLP video projectors. The projectors shown were powered by a TI DLP chip with an LED light source instead of a high wattage lamp, to reduce heat generation and power consumption. Although not as bright as their larger cousins, both units on display were capable of projecting a solid 27-inch image in a darkened room setting. Although specifications are still being finalized, the Mitsubishi and InFocus branded projectors are expected to hit store shelves by the end of 2005, with an expected price of about $600.

It remains to be seen how the market will respond, but it is expected that these new mini projectors will have both business and entertainment applications. The photo above shows the Mitsubishi mini-projector in relationship size to an actual DLP chip.

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LiteON Unveils Unique DVD Recorder

LiteON Cam-Duet DVD Recorder
LiteON Cam-Duet DVD Recorder. Robert Silva
LiteON is known for its inexpensive, but very flexible DVD recorders. It was the first manufacturer to feature multi-format DVD+R/+RW/-R/-RW recording into its DVD recorders. In addition, LiteON is still the only company that also incorporates CD-R/CD-RW audio and video recording in its DVD recorders. This year, however, LiteON has unveiled another new twist in DVD recording with its Cam-Duet LVW-5008 DVD recorder.

The LVW-5008 features a USB port on the front that allows a consumer to record still images from a digital camera onto DVD or CD. The unit is expected to be released in the second half of 2005.

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Philips Offers Mirror Television

Philips Mirror LCD Television
Philips Mirror LCD Television. Robert Silva
Originally designed for the hotel industry, inquiries about Philips' unique concept that combines a traditional mirror with an LCD television proved so numerous, that it is how offering it to the general public. Shown below is one of the current designs available that was displayed at this year's CES. You can even see the reflection of your intrepid home theater guide actually taking the photo.
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Here Comes The DVD Video Projector...

Cinego DVD Video Projector
Cinego DVD Video Projector. Robert Silva
In what may prove to be one of the hottest product concepts of the year, several manufacturers will be marketing DVD Player/DLP Video Projector combination units. It is hoped that this new product concept will bring the benefits of front video projection to more mainstream consumers. The units are designed with ease of setup and use in mind for both office and home.

Pictured below is the Cinego D-100, displayed at CES, which features an EDTV resolution of 852x480 pixels, 1500:1 contrast ratio, and a 2,000 hour lamp life. In addition, the DVD player section has both a built-in speaker system as well as all the outputs needed for connection to an external home theater system. There are also additional input options for the connection of a VCR, Camcorder, or video game. The unit will be sold through Radio Shack stores, beginning in late Spring, with an MSRP of $1,250 without a screen or $1,300 packaged with a 55-inch screen. Other DVD Player/DLP Video Projector combinations are also forthcoming from Optoma and HP.

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Sony DVD Camcorder With 5.1 Channel Audio

Sony DCR-DVD403 Camcorder
Sony DCR-DVD403 Camcorder with Dolby Digital 5.1 Audio Recording. Robert Silva
Sony was on hand at CES with its usual prolific product line, but one item that caught my eye was its new DCR-DVD403 Camcorder. This small unit really packs in some unique features, including DVD-R/-RW/+RW format video recording on 3-inch DVD discs, 3-megapixel still picture as well as being the first camcorder to boast Dolby Digital 5.1 audio recording direct to DVD. Perhaps Dolby Digital 5.1 recording will eventually be added to standalone DVD recorders as well. Here's hoping...
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LG Displays Thin CRT Television

LG Introduces Thinner CRT TVs
A standard 30-inch CRT television next to a new thinner picture tube version. Robert Silva
Although flat panel television is all the rage, most still agree that the CRT-based televisions still deliver the best images. The main drawback with this 50-plus year old technology is that CRTs are big, bulky, and heavy. Several manufacturers, including LG, have taken on the challenge to develop picture tubes that are thinner and lighter, without sacrificing image quality. The result of these efforts is displayed in the photo above which shows a standard 30-inch CRT television next to a new thinner picture tube version of the same screen size. Although still deeper than than a flat panel set, this technology may lengthen the CRT's place in the television market.
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Yamaha Introduces New Surround Sound Solution

Yamaha YSP-1 Digital Sound Projector
Yamaha YSP-1 Digital Sound Projector. Robert Silva
If you are looking for a way to experience 5.1 channel surround sound without a room full of loudspeakers and wires, then you might want to check out Yamaha's YSP-1 Digital Sound Projector. Utilizing an array of 42 small speaker drivers housed in a central unit, the YSP-1 literally projects sound with directional accuracy around the listening space to create a realistic 5.1 channel surround sound field. Not only is the YSP-1 innovative, but is also affordable, with an expected price of less than $1,500. Availability is expected to be later this Spring.
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HP Digital Entertainment Center

HP Digital Entertainment Center
HP Digital Entertainment Center. Robert Silva
In a display of technology convergence, HP displayed a product at CES that is sure to draw in some customers. The Digital Entertainment Center has all the functioning of both a PC and a home theater control center, and then some. Features such as multi-format DVD recording, digital audio outputs for surround sound, and dual NTSC tuners or ATSC-HD tuner. One additional feature is a removable hard drive slot to support extra storage space for video and audio content.
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Toshiba Shows Off HD-DVD

Toshiba HD-DVD Player
Toshiba HD-DVD Player. Robert Silva
The battle between Blu-RAY and HD-DVD was a major focus of this year's CES and, while most manufacturers were displaying prototype and pre-production Blu-RAY players and recorders, Toshiba was on hand with its HD-DVD format DVD recorders and players. Although, by the number of displays, it would seem like Blu-RAY has everything sown up, but with more major movie studio support, I wouldn't count out Toshiba's HD-DVD format quite yet. Pictured above is a pre-production HD-DVD Player.