This year still has several weeks left on the calendar, but it's not too early to look back at the past 10 months and evaluate how we've progressed on the consumer tech front. Rather than look at the best products of the year, however, I decided to focus on the ones that were the most cutting-edge. As such, I've looked back at everything we've covered this year, and I've done my best to winnow down the list and come up with 10 products I think are at the cusp of... something. They may not be fully baked, and they may be overpriced, but they're at the forefront of their respective categories. Of course, I've surely missed some worthy products, so feel free to agree or disagree and add your own selections in the comments section below. … Read more
Sharp will make the first LCD TV with a Blu-ray Disc recorder built in.
The high-definition disc recorder will be wedged into the side of Aquos DX-series TVs. It will have dual digital tuners, allowing users to watch and record simultaneously on different channels. It will record using the encoding format MPEG4 H.264/AVC.
The TVs will be available in sizes ranging between 26 inches and 52 inches for the equivalent of $4,923 to $1,674.
The catch? They're only available in Japan for now, but Sharp is planning to sell it in the U.S. by … Read more
Sales in a couple of key gadget categories will rise despite the economic downturn, the Consumer Electronics Association predicted Tuesday--and no, CEA wasn't talking about calculators and sawed-off shotguns.
During an industry Webcast titled "Economy in crisis: How we got here, where do we go from here and what does it mean for consumer electronics and your business," the CEA said flat-panel TVs and gaming hardware should do well during the upcoming holiday season even as consumers rein in their dollars amid the current financial uncertainty.
Maybe a shiny new monitor could help take our worried minds … Read more
TOKYO--The Ceatec 2008 circus is packing up the tent, but it won't be long until we see many of these same gadgets again. As the Japanese consumer tech showcase winds down, let's take a look at the major themes of this year's show and look forward to what will make it to the Consumer Electronics Show in January.
Although the show was a bit smaller this year, it's still the place to see highly imaginative prototypes, as well as get a glimpse of what will actually be on U.S. stores shelves in the coming year.
The most prevalent theme among the electronics giants: thin TVs. Just like at CES in Las Vegas, IFA in Berlin, and CEDIA Expo this year, they're jostling with each other in a race to see who can make the largest screen on the skinniest panel.
Sony continued to push its current 11-inch OLED TV model, the XEL-1, and showed the prototype 27-inch version. But the company also showed an even thinner prototype, whose display is a mere .3 millimeters thin.
But those are small. In larger TVs, Hitachi showed off a 15-millimeter LCD and a 35-millimeter plasma set (see picture), as did Sharp, which announced its new 23-millimeter thin Aquos XS (for "extra slim") model. Toshiba also lined up to show off a concept Regza that looks and leans like an oversize piece of mirrored glass.
Many companies also showed new types of interfaces, such as gesture-based technology. Panasonic showed its connected-home concept, which included an impressive video wall. Users could theoretically call up an exercise program onto the wall, and a video of an instructor would appear and respond to users' movements. Hitachi showed digital signage technology that used human gestures to play games and create interactive advertisements. … Read more
CHIBA, Japan--Sony has an entire wall of its 11-inch XEL-1 OLED TVs set up here at Ceatec 2008, but in contrast with past gadget shows, it's not the only company showing off OLED prototypes.
Panasonic may have said earlier this week that OLED is still far from becoming a mass-produced mainstream technology for use in big-screen TVs, but other electronics makers are plowing ahead with their own research on the organic, thin film technology: NEC, Sony, and KDDI showed off what they've been doing with OLED in their research labs.
Sony, of course, continues to press ahead its … Read more
CHIBA, Japan--Already skeptical about the ability of OLED to uproot the TV technology dominance of plasma and LCD in the next few years, Panasonic cast even more doubt on the opening day of Ceatec 2008.
Speaking to a group of reporters, Panasonic AVC Networks President Toshihiro Sakamoto reiterated that OLED (organic light-emitting diode) TVs will not be made in sizes of 30 inches or greater for now, and it's still not suitable for mass manufacturing. Currently, Panasonic does not have an OLED product on the market, but Sony does: it makes and 11-inch OLED TV, and is working on a 27-inch model. … Read more
CHIBA, Japan--It won't be ready for at least three or five years, but Panasonic's Total Living Space Solution is a cool, elegant combination of all your home gadgets and appliances in one.
The display is the size of an actual living room and kitchen, set down in the middle of Panasonic's booth here at Ceatec. Since Ceatec is an opportunity for companies to show off some of their more forward-looking products, Panasonic took advantage.
The roughly two-month shopping period before school starts is typically fruitful for consumer electronics retailers. Not this year.
All categories combined showed minimal growth. Although notebook sales increased 10 percent over the same period the year before, desktops were down 3 percent. And products that have been guaranteed big sellers in past years continue to lose momentum: digital-camera sales were down 1 percent, printer sales were even, and MP3 player sales were up 7 percent.
This is especially concerning to electronics retailers, since the all-important holiday shopping season is approaching, a time when they typically can expect to play catch-up … Read more
Plasma TV purveyor Pioneer is bringing its LCD TVs to North America and Japan early next year, according to reports.
A Pioneer representative in the U.S. didn't have an immediate comment on the report in the Japan Corporate News Network citing unnamed Pioneer officials as saying at a recent company product showcase that it will bring 32-inch and 37-inch LCD TVs to Asia and North America "in the first half of 2009." The report also says Sharp will be supplying the panels, but doesn't give any model names.
But it makes sense. Pioneer is already … Read more
A year after being surprised by upstart budget brands like Vizio and Olevia, the big names in TV have fought back. Samsung showed it too could play their game, and developed its own line of budget model TVs, which have helped it return to dominance in the mid-size LCD market in North America. But what's next for Vizio? CNET home theater expert John Falcone joins us to talk TVs and holiday shopping prices.
Also in Friday's podcast, Apple releases the much needed software update for the iPhone, hackers find their way into one of the computers at CERN … Read more