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Catching Up on Your CES Queries

LOS ANGELES--After the hype and hubbub of CES, I needed to spend a little downtime someplace quiet, where nobody's rushing around and nobody's obsessed with their marketing or image. And here I am!

(In case you were wondering why, I'm staying in L.A. with friends for a few days before heading up to San Francisco on Sunday to get ready for Macworld Expo.)

Now that I've had some free time for the first time since Saturday, I've had a chance to read my e-mail and all the comments people have left on my blog this week. Here are my answers to some of the questions I've seen in these places:

Any word on that HDTVs might cost later on in 2008?

Prices have already crashed through the floor--as I mentioned in my Web chat yesterday, the 40-inch LCD that cost $3,000 two years ago now goes for $1,000. They will probably continue to decline for a while, but I would expect the rate of decrease to slow down; there just isn't that much left to trim.

Any news about green computing or electronics?

A lot of companies talked about their environmental commitments, but I didn't see a great deal of specifics about the designs of new TVs or other electronic devices. For example, it would have been nice to see a figure for the average power consumption of a new flat-panel HDTV, but the spec sheets posted under each demo set almost never mentioned that. We'll have to see what these companies do over this year.

What's the most affordable device you've seen that will actually be for sale this year?

This isn't so much a device as a type of technology, but take a look at how prices for flash memory have nose-dived. Already, you can buy a four-gigabyte USB thumb drive for $30 or so, a price that once would have purchased only a 512 MB model. That means that entire categories of products--MP3 players, HD camcorders, laptops--will get both more capable and cheaper in a hurry.

After all this coverage of the digital-TV transition, I'm worried that my five-year-old set isn't ready. How do I know if it is?

If you can't tune into a channel like 9-1 or 9.1 with an over-the-air antenna, it's not digital. See the second item in this Help File from last winter for more details.

This digital-TV transition is a crock! Nobody's selling any digital converter boxes at an affordable price!

Don't panic. Manufacturers are just starting to ship these things--which nobody will actually need for another year anyway. You should have a good selection of $50-and-under boxes by this summer or early fall; look for a review in my column when they arrive.

Are there any portable HD Radios available yet?

No, but iBiquity Digital showed off some new, much smaller and just-released chipsets designed for use in such handheld devices as cell phones and MP3 players. Maybe next year?

What's the real name of this show--CES or the Consumer Electronics Show?

Formally, it's the "2008 International CES." But either "CES" or "Consumer Electronics Show" will suffice in daily use.

Hope that helps! Tune in next week, as my tech trek takes me to the San Francisco Bay Area, where I'll be paying a visit to Google on Monday and covering Macworld Expo on Tuesday.

By Rob Pegoraro  |  January 11, 2008; 1:38 PM ET
Categories:  CES 2008  
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Next: Up Next, Macworld

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