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CES 2007

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For many of us the best part of being back from CES is that it is now the longest amount of time until we have to go back to Las Vegas for another CES. That’s not to say that the show isn’t enjoyable, but as with any trade show it means a lot of work, too much walking and too many things to see – many of which will likely never come out. Here are a few thoughts on CES 2007, which actually happened to be the 40th anniversary of the event.

Bigger is Better?

Every year for as long as can be remember the various TV companies start the usual one-upmanship when it comes to sizes of their television displays. In recent years that has meant larger and larger plasmas, and last Panasonic actually delivered on their 103-inch HDTV set, but of course it costs a mere $70,000, which is why only hip hop artists and dotcom superstars can afford one.

This year the focus was on the largest LCD flat panel sets, and LG/Philips were proud to show off “the largest 100-inch LCD,” which isn’t the same we guess as “the smallest 100-inch LCD.” It was a moot point as whether this was in fact that largest 100-inch set anyway. Sharp stole the thunder and introduced a 108-inch LCD set, which is not only the largest 108-inch set, but also the largest set period. Better luck next year LG and Philips.

Format Wars Heat Up

Sharp also announced that it will ship its first Blu-ray disc player in the second quarter for about $1,200… but LG must have felt the sting of being one-upped with TVs. It announced their own hybrid Blu-ray/HD-DVD player, which should hit store shelves (at least if LG can be believed) this fall for about $1,200. Take that Sharp!

And if you’re looking to save a few dollars and feel safe betting on the HD-DVD movie format, than the Toshiba HD-A20 player might be worth a look. It will support 1080p output and will be available this spring for $599, which interesting is $100 more than last year’s first generation of HD-DVD players. But those lacked 1080p output, so maybe this isn’t such a deal after all.

Of course if all this wasn’t confusing enough, Warner Brothers showed off their Total Hi Def Discs during CES. These discs offer the same movie but in both Blu-ray and HD-DVD, so maybe that Toshiba player at $599 doesn’t look so bad after all.

Smaller TV

One other fact in recent years is that while TV sets keep getting bigger, every year promises other ways to actually view TV content, and much of this is on smaller displays. This week Verizon unveiled their new V CAST Mobile TV service, which will bring streaming, live television to mobile handsets. The service will launch later this year, and will include seven or eight channels of live TV, will work on two new phones from LG and Samsung.

Biggest news of the week… from San Francisco

While most of the technology and consumer electronics world happily (or otherwise) in Las Vegas, the biggest news actually came from MacWorld several hundred miles away. As everyone has heard by now, Apple announced the iPhone and Apple TV. This stole the headlines, while Apple stock shot up again. Those of us who should have guessed this was coming can only kick ourselves for not buying Apple stock yet again.

Meanwhile on the other side of the country the Detroit International Auto Show kicked off, and things aren’t looking so good for Ford. Those of us who should have seen this coming can only kick ourselves for not selling that Ford stock a long time ago.

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