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CES Roundup

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Apparently, there was some sort of event going on in Las Vegas this past week called the Consumer Electronics Show (aka CES). At the show, the major and minor electronics companies duke it out with press confrences to announce that they have developed similar products to each other that while new and exciting are not really that new or exciting. Plus, most of these products are just being announced and are not really available yet but instead, sometime in "mid to late third quarter 2006".

If you want every bit of CES news in all of its glorious detail, point your browsers to the big tech blogs engadget and gizmodo. They are doing in-depth coverage of what's hot, what's not and what really stinks (including the backed-up toilets at the convention center). For our money, the more interesting announcements should come next week at Mac World Expo. Perhaps on Tuesday of next week to be exact.

However, if i we must pick some things from CES that look interesting, here they are:

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Tivo offers up a new box. The series 3. Will this be the end all be all and finally replace all of our other boxes? Mmm, doesn't seem like it. In fact, it looks like anyone using Directv is going to be left out in the cold with this one. Cable card slots only from the look of it and no provision for satellite? Bummer.

Hopefully, that's just because we don't have more info at the moment. Fingers crossed as we really, really want to keep using a Tivo device and not have to switch over to some bastard child designed by the room of monkeys at Directv. Tivo knows something about simple and useable interface design. Directv not so much.

Google announces a video store. Gee, what a great idea. They will be selling content from CBS and other sources as well as letting you download stuff for free. No prices yet but more content available online (legally online that is. yes, we've heard of bittorrent thanks) should be a good thing.

Sony announced its first Blu-Ray HD DVD player. Its got all the big time features and looks like a monster as well. Not to be left out, Toshiba announced it's HD-DVD players which look pretty good too.

Now, if all the kids could just get together and agree on one format, that would be great. If this keeps up, what it will come down to will be the programming. As in, what movies will be available on each format. In fact, here's a list of release titles for blu-ray and hd-dvd (at least for now). This should help decide which format will get our hard earned dollars and in the long run, which format will survive. Beta vs. VHS anyone?

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Sony also announced a few other things including bigger memory stick pro duo cards (finally) as well as new phones and the sony reader for reading ebooks.

Verizon offers up their new v cast wireless music downloads. You can download songs to your verizon cell phone for two bucks each and listen to it on your phone. You can also transfer it to your computer via usb. Could be interesting. Sprint also has a similar offering only theirs includes video. Wireless content delivery might be the new black this year.

And this would be a great gaming rig (or allow you to keep yourself warm in winter) That is, if you are a person who uses a Windows PC. Not that there's anything wrong with that. We have a few around here somewhere too.

Oh, one more thing. There was also another event going on in Vegas this week at the same time as CES. It gets less publicity but it is no less important, especially to those of you living in or near the Van Nuys area. It is, of course, the Adult Entertainment Expo which goes on for several days at the same time as CES and climaxes (sorry, had to do it) with the AVN Awards that took place Saturday night. Who won? We don't know yet as the head is still a little fuzzy. But really, do you actually care?

That's it for CES. Tune in next week for even more important announcements from one of our favorite companies, Apple. Predictions? Mmmm, ok. Well, we might see one or two new laptops with brand new Intel chips. And maybe a Mac mini or iMac with Intel as well. Perhaps some new iPod variation and hopefully, a Mac-mini like device that can be put in the living room to record television content and play it back to the new HD TV we got for Christmas. Too much to ask? Perhaps. But if anyone can do it, Steve J. and Apple can.