Saturday, January 07, 2006

CES REPORT: DAY 1 - The Sands

After a free shuttle from my hotel to The Sands. I started my exploration of CES at the smaller of the two locations. The Sands opened up one hour earlier that the main convention center, so I got here at 9:00 to look around.

I've always wanted to come to CES and this is my first time here. It's 10:30 AM now, and after seeing half of the Sands floor, the show has been a lot of fun.

I've met some great people already.

The first interesting thing I saw was a dancing robot. $1,00 as a kit or $1,200 all set up. It's certainly the talk of the first five rows of the show.

Next up, as I looked for the Akimbo booth, I peered into a demo room full of stereos with exposed tubes. Wow! What a cool booth. These stereos go for $20,000 each.

The guy working the booth was very interesting and has a site at

Steve and Microphone
My next stop was at the Samson booth where I met Rob Garofala who had some USB direct connect microphones. He was introducing two new ones at the show, so we hooked one up to my Powerbook and recorded a podcast right from the show floor. I'd have uploaded it then, but there isn't any WiFi on the show floor. Really nice looking microphones that every podcaster will want if they are looking for a simple solution of hooking up a microphone to a Powerbook or desktop for a simple two part recording studio.

At he same booth I met Tim Bourquin who just ran the Podcast Expo in California. It was nice meeting him and he said he's also going to MacWorld next week...

Slingbox plays Video on the Phone
After that booth from the other isle there arose such a clatter teat I had to go see, what was the matter. It was a very entertaining demonstration of the SlingBox from Sling media.

Now they've got it so that you can watch your saved TiVo programs from your telephone! Really! The presenter is an actor who was hired to do the presentation. It was very entertaining. I spoke with him later...

Next up, I stopped at the Manfrotto booth and casually picked up a tripod. Whoa! It was SO light. It's their new modo tripod for smaller digital photo and video cameras. It has a level, easy to use swivel top and a quick release interface. Really nice, comes out in April for $79... All my vlogging friends should have one.

And my final stop before taking a break was the WowWee booth, where there were robots of all kinds and shapes dancing, bowling, and in the case of a gorilla head, growling.

A 10 oz Tree Top Cranberry Juice costs $3.25....

OK, now I'm off to see the rest of the Sands and then I'm off to the convention center to go find Amanda and Andrew at the TiVo booth.

After my short break it was back onto the floor. As I entered the hall I heard music coming from a booth labeled X2gen. Lots of flat screen TV's and a scaffolding behind. On top of the scaffolding was a live band. Video from the band was being broadcast onto the flat screens on the show floor. I got some video of that.

The next booth I encountered caught my eye with their signage: VIDEO EDITING IS DEAD.

It was muvee company. Their software automatically takes your raw footage of movies and photos and makes it into a movie set to music.

There are lots of styles to choose from. Mohamed gave me a short demo and then I asked him if I could have muvee make a movie for me with the footage I had already taken on my Canon S400. He brought out his laptop and we loaded up my pictures and video from the previous two hours. Video that I was going to have to edit anyway.

So we loaded in the footage and chose a quick edit style. The music we used is licensed by muvee for demo purposes. I then clicked a button that said make muvee and the software analyzed all the footage, looking at the where it would make the edits.

After that I previewed the movie and could make any changes that I wanted. there are a TON of options on how to save your movie, even to DVD. I chose Quicktime, 320x240, 15 fps and saved to a flash card. then I copied the movie onto my Mac for viewing with QuickTime player. Plays great.

Watch the movie: VIDEO: CES 2006 - The Sands.

After leaving that exciting video editing option, the next booth was StikAx which let you edit your video using a custom handheld game controller! I talked with Colm Barry. He's from Dublin and demonstrated how you can program each button on the controller to relate to an mp3 file or a movie file. Then, when you start pushing the buttons, the music or movie plays for as long as you hold the button down. It's a really great way for live performance artists to do live shows with music and video. You can also save your creation as a movie.

Next up were a table full of powerful LED flashlights. Really, really bright!

I also saw the best A/V platform for HD TV, FVD. 5 times higher clarity that DVD.

After that was a company that was recently featured in the Boston Globe. Cybertracker Their device looks like one of those plastic things you get when waiting for a table at a restaurant. For $30/month you sign up with Cingular ( I think ) and you get gps tracking via the device, plus NEXTEL push to talk technology. So for example, you you put the device in your kid's car and then you can see where they are al all times, talk to them via push to talk, and also set it up to get an email or SMS message when they go out of a specified range or drive too fast. The device also give you an internet connection that you can use to hook up your computer to get on the internet wirelessly.

Wiseframe had some very bright and shiny LED tube and pixel wall displays.

My final stop before lunch was a seat at the Golf Launchpad. This is a golf ball that when hit, send a virtual golf ball flying in a computer golf game. Nice!

Lunch at the bar at the Venitian was very good, then a quick walk past the gondola rides outside up to the Las Vegas Convention Center. I hear that the convention center is 28 football fields long. It's 3:00 and I'm heading over now...

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