Thursday, January 15, 2009

What's new at CES (or...Thinner is Better!)

So, just back from visiting CES in Las Vegas. As a side note, it's always easier getting acclimated to the time change, but coming home is never easy! Still trying to catch up on my sleep! Anyway, a lot of cool items were shown at CES. Looks like the big item as 3-D. All of the major manufacturers showed off their new 3D televisions, or 3-D converters (converting standard videos into 3-D videos). This had to be one of the coolest things I've seen in a long time. So, televisions are getting another makeover.....they are all skinnier then ever. Sony has a new set that looked to be less than a 1/2" thick (see pic), as did Samsung, Toshiba and Panasonic. The resolution was amazing on these sets.

Interestingly enough, the show wasn't as busy has it has been in past years. Usually you are elbow to elbow with all of the others being pushed and shoved from booth to booth, but this year there was plenty of room to walk around and see all of the exciting new products.

So, in regards to automation, Control4 is introducing some very cool items, including the new HC-200 Home Controller, which is a scaled down version of the current HC-300. The HC-200 has all of the capabilities of the HC-300 but the remote control that is included with it has no display It's small enough that it you can mount it to the back of a television out of the way.

Control4 also showed their new 7" handheld touch screen which is very cool. The screen is large enough that the buttons are easy to use, but the unit is small enough that it doesn't look like your carrying a notebook computer to change channels.

Control4 had a separate area in their booth for about 20 of their strategic partners, companies that offer products that are able to integrate with the Control4 product line. Black & Decker boasted their new key-less door locks that are ZigBee enabled and are controllable via Control4. Need to unlock the door for a repairman, or someone needs to get into the house and forgot a key? No longer a problem as you can access the lock through Control4's 4Sight web portal and unlock and re-lock the doors.

Another really cool item in the booth was Vision Art. Vision Art gives you the ability to put an actual piece of art to cover the flat screen that is hanging on the wall. At the touch of a button, the artwork quietly lifts up and the TV screen appears! Another touch and the picture re-appears. Very cool stuff!

There was a lot more to see and a lot more the write about, but I think this post is long enough. On a final thought, I think that the show was very interesting. With all of the economic stress that is going on, technology is still moving forward at a feverish pace. It is very interesting to see that the major electronics manufacturers aren't showing any sweat with the lack of retail sales and the mass of major retailers having trouble keeping the doors open. Technology keeps moving forward.