|Hit or Miss: Video Trends of CES 2010|
|Home Theater Feature Articles Video Related Articles|
|Written by Dick Ward|
|Thursday, 14 January 2010|
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HITNoise Reduction for Streaming Content – No one’s come up with a nice short name for it yet. Sony calls it IP Content Noise Reduction, and Toshiba calls it Web Video Noise Reduction. Whatever they call it, I call it a great idea.
There wasn’t much, if anything on display to show the difference between the cleaned up web video that the two companies are offering and the original grainy picture, but the promise is enough to intrigue me. Essentially, content will stream from the internet to your TV and get a little bit of a clean-up first.
Even in HD, Netflix doesn’t always look great when blown up over forty inches, and YouTube videos look bad enough already when full screen on my 24” computer monitor. These are videos that we can watch on TV even though that was never the original intent. Any increase in quality from the noise reduction, especially with all the streaming options now available, will be a welcome one.
MISSVideo Phone in a TV – I asked, I don’t know a single person who wants this. I talked to other press members, to my friends, and even to my parents, and no one seems to like the idea. My sister has a baby that she can’t stop taking pictures and videos of, and even she thinks video conversations on TV are overkill.
Whether they utilize Skype or another piece of proprietary software, many of the largest television manufacturers are of the idea that we want to view our loved ones in high definition on a 60” screen while talking to them. If actors and news anchors can’t stand up to the perfection expected on a high def screen, imagine how your uncle might look, calling you up after a long day.
Were this marketed solely as an application for businesses, I could see the point of it. Videophones, though, haven’t taken off in the countless years that they’ve been around. There’s something about having to get dressed up to make a phone call that just puts people off.
HITSet-top Streaming – If the crowds around D-Link’s booth mean anything, it’s that the Boxee Box is popular. It’s so popular in fact, that many of the people I spoke to about streaming video and audio felt the need to mention it in their pitches. “With this Blu-ray player, you really won’t need the Boxee Box.”
While most Blu-ray players and televisions offer options to stream content, there were also a lot of standalone set-top boxes made only for streaming. Like most new products, a majority of them were redundant, or already out of date, but a few stood out as viable options.
Among the leaders in the streaming market is the Popbox from Sybas Technology. It’s the evolution of Popcorn Hour, and it does everything you’d expect a streamer to do. It’s small, it’s got a simple interface, and unlike the strangely shaped Boxee Box, the Popbox is a rectangle. It handles, in addition to Netflix, applications such as Twitter, Facebook and Blip.tv as well as almost any video or audio format you can throw at it.
MISSDecorative TVs and HTPC – This isn’t unique to the Consumer Electronics Show, but there was just so much of it present that it can’t be ignored. Attaching a television to the outside of a purse is a silly and pointless idea. The same can be said about the TVs mounted inside of cute plush polar bears.
Decorating a TV up to look like something else seems strange, since you’ll be looking at the screen most of the time anyway, but it’s the gold encrusted HTPC from Moneual that really caught my ire. It’s an HTPC with average specs that costs a whopping $45,000.
There are a lot of ways to make a PC worth the forty-five grand. You could load it up with functionality, storage space, processing power, and add some intuitive software and the ability to stream video across an entire house. Or you could take Moneual’s approach of taking an HTPC with Windows Vista Home Premium – sure, you don’t need Windows 7 Ultimate, but at $45k, it seems like you may as well go for it – and cover it with gold.
So who's ready for CES 2011?