I was really hoping to start this show wrap-up with a look at the good and/or interesting things to come out of CES 2011. But as I was assembling my thoughts to work on it, I was assaulted anew by the continuation of a consumer-hostile trend which initially started--or at least which I first noticed--with the Canon HF R series launched last year. The trend: marketing camcorders that have an effective sensor resolution of less than 2.07 megapixels (1,920 x 1,080) as "Full HD" models. This is the equivalent of marketing your 3G network as 4G. … Read more
LAS VEGAS--It was a bit unfortunate for JVC that its "world's first consumer camcorder to offer 3D recording in Full HD" came the day after Sony's announcement of its consumer full HD 3D camcorder, the HDR-TD10; it's even similarly named to JVC's offering, the Everio GS-TD1.
Like Sony's offering, the JVC model has two of everything that counts: a pair of 3-megapixel BSI CMOS sensors and two f1.2 lenses (5x zoom in 3D, 10x in 2D). It only has a single processing engine--unattractively dubbed "Falconbrid"--but that's just marketing. … Read more
LAS VEGAS--A year ago, Facevision introduced the first Skype-certified HD Webcam, the FV TouchCam N1, that was capable of streaming high-definition video over the Internet, turning video chat into a much better experience. It was one of a few HD Webcams at the time.
For this reason, the FV TouchCam N1 was rather expensive, costing around $120 when first released (it now has a street price of about $100).
Today, the company announced and demonstrated at CES 2011 a new version of the Webcam that offers the same capability but at a significantly lower cost, the TouchCam V1 720p HD … Read more
LAS VEGAS--Officially, the Consumer Electronics show runs for four days. But the real action happens before the show, as the world's consumer electronics companies line up to tout their latest and greatest gadgets, products, and apps via a marathon of press conferences--every hour, on the hour.
This year was no exception: 2011's "day zero" yielded a data dump of unprecedented proportions from the industry's biggest names. We're still sorting through it all ourselves, but here's a photo overview--with relevant links to earlier stories--to help put it all into perspective. Among the recurring themes … Read more
LAS VEGAS--In one of the more interesting camcorder announcements at the show, Sony rolled out a line of prosumer AVCHD camcorder models with projectors built into the body. Coupled with an enhanced speaker system, the new Handycam HDR-PJ series sounds like it might offer some appealing capabilities for users who want a better way to share their videos without huddling around a smallish LCD. The projector can throw an image up to 60 inches.
With prices ranging from $700 to $1,000, they do seem a bit expensive for the potential audience, but that's unsurprising for a new technology. … Read more
LAS VEGAS--Sony rolled out three new prosumer/mainstream flash-based AVCHD camcorders here at the show. The top-of-the-line Handycam HDR-CX700V ($1,300) and midrange CX560V ($1,100) incorporate new 16:9 aspect Exmor R CMOS sensors--albeit at different resolutions--and increase the top recording bitrate to 24 megabits per second. As the "V" indicates, they also offer geotagging. Other shared features include a 3-inch LCD touch screen and a 10X zoom lens, plus 5.1-surround audio using the new enhanced mic and speaker system. And in a welcome design update, they have built-in USB cables in addition to mic and … Read more
LAS VEGAS--Panasonic's press conferences aren't known to be all that scintillating, but the good news this year is that the Japanese electronics giant kept things relatively short.
As expected, we got to hear about second-generation 3D TVs and, as usual, several new digital-imaging and home theater-products were announced, many of them featuring some 3D angle.
Perhaps most interesting was the company's decision to rename its Viera Cast streaming media platform Viera Connect. The rechristening was part of a concerted effort of the company to build out its smart TV platform. One of the demos included Gameloft CEO … Read more
Sony takes the Noah's Ark approach in its prosumer 3D camcorder, the Handycam HDR-TD10. There's two of everything: two lenses (naturally), two Exmor R sensors, and two image processors.
Though it lacks the ability to remove the dual lens (like Panasonic's approach), you can still opt to shoot in 2D, using only the left lens, and the unit can play back 3D content in 2D by using only the left-side video.
It can do this because Sony uses a proprietary approach called "frame packing." Rather than save a single file with side-by-side left/right frames--which … Read more
The SD Association announced a new interface for flash memory cards today that triples data transfer speeds.
The faster SD card specification was expected since the group started previewing it in September. But more unusually for the consortium, the SD Association also announced an e-book specification at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
"Our new e-Book application...opens broad consumer access to e-book content, and turns billions of existing SD mobile phones and devices into e-readers," Norm Frentz, chairman of the SD Association, said in a statement. "SD continues to evolve its capabilities to support voracious consumer demand for portable movies, television broadcasts, high-definition home videos, and now full-color books."
It's not yet clear who among e-book reader makers, publishers, or other companies are on board with the new specification, but two partners showing eBook support at CES are Toshiba and Sharp, the association said. Such partnerships will be important to its success, though, and there already are other e-book formats, such as ePub.
But eBook won't live in isolation. "The association plans to support popular external formats like ePublish, CPS, XMDF and ".book" formats in the near future," said SD Association communications director Kevin Schader. And to keep content publishers happy, it's free to use and supports copy protection. … Read more
LAS VEGAS--It looks like Samsung is creating a nice little family of minicamcorders. The HMX-P300 and HMX-P100 are pretty much higher- and lower-end versions of the same model, but the P100 isn't so crippled that it's not worth checking out.
The P100 has a backside-illuminated 5-megapixel CMOS sensor for better low-light recording, a fixed focal length f2.2 lens, and a 2.3-inch LCD with an 80-degree viewing angle so you have more shooting and viewing flexibility.
The P300 gets a backside-illuminated 8-megapixel CMOS sensor, a 3x f2.8 zoom lens, and a 3-inch touch screen.
Both can … Read more