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Wrapping Up CES: Blu-ray, Cameras And More

LAS VEGAS -- Another Consumer Electronics Show is in the books for me. As I head home, a few more thoughts on the things I've seen here this week:

* Blu-ray players didn't have as much of a presence as I'd thought, and they don't seem to be getting much cheaper. We're probably looking at $250 to $300 list prices for the next few months, and maybe longer.

We should, however, see a broader variety of Blu-ray hardware. Some manufacturers, such as Haier and Sharp, plan to ship HDTVs with built-in Blu-ray players. Samsung showed off a soundbar surround-sound speaker that incorporated a Blu-ray player. And Panasonic demonstrated a portable Blu-ray player and what may be the weirdest fusion of old and new technology I've seen in a while: a combination Blu-ray player and VCR.


Once again, Blu-ray recorders were nowhere to be found. That can't be because of technological difficulty: Hitachi was showing off a $1,099 Blu-ray camcorder at its booth.

* Many of the new digital cameras on display here can also record high-definition video (though it's unclear if the results will look better than the blurry, jittery footage I shot with two HD-capable cameras last spring). They're also getting better at thinking ahead of the photographer; for example, some Nikon and Sony cameras can automatically pick the right scene mode -- macro, portrait, nighttime, etc. -- based on what they detect in the frame.

WiFi is becoming more common as well, showing up in models from Casio, Nikon and Sony. But we may have to wait longer to see cameras with GPS; Samsung, for example, won't have any models with that feature until the second half of this year.

* The vast halls of the convention center here offered obvious evidence of the lousy economy, in the form of empty spaces that were filled with exhibitors in previous years. And these gaps weren't just at the edges of each hall, but right in the middle -- presumably, because the vendors involved opted not to show up after reserving their space. One major exhibitor from earlier CES conventions, Philips, is bailing out of the electronics industry and so abandoned its usual spot. If these trends continue -- let me phrase this as positively as possible -- next year's CES might be a good deal easier to cover.

By Rob Pegoraro  |  January 11, 2009; 9:00 AM ET
Categories:  CES 2009  
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Next: Gadget Scorecard: How I Covered Macworld And CES


What's up with no Blu Ray recorders?

Posted by: blooker681 | January 11, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

How I agree with blooker681! PBS has such great HD programs, especially Nature and Masterpiece Classic, and no machine to make an HD copy. What a disappointment that no machine for probably another year or more.

Enjoy all Rob Pegoraro articles, reports, and web chats. Learn much. Most things are at a level the average computer user can understand.

Posted by: jdev3611 | January 12, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

So, there is still no Blu Ray recorder with hard disk, burner and interactive cable card (or equivalent) to permit the use of menus to time shift programs? I thought the FCC was pushing to permit competition with the cable companies in use of recording devices. What is the status of that effort?

Posted by: Edgemoor | January 12, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Does every device require GPS? Why? This is a tad too close to this week's Onion comment – "I don't think I can make it through a whole year without a new appliance that has a radio unnecessarily jammed into it somewhere."

Posted by: FlownOver | January 13, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

What consumers want in this sour economy is a set top box that can stream videos from Hulu, Netflix, and the networks own sites, in SD and/or HD (if available). Hooks into YouTube wouldn't be bad either. No worries about having to record, or time shift...just get what you want when you want. Just for watching a few commercials. That would be a bargain. Are you listening Roku? I won't spend $99 for a box limited to just Netflix (as good as it is). How about audio from Lala too? Consumers want options, not limitations, and only want to deal with a limited number of set top boxes for those options.

Posted by: moonwatcher2001 | January 14, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Are they trying to kill BlueRay? The average consumer isn't going to spend $250 on a player when they can get an upconverting DVD player for $79 that looks almost as good to them. And the software prices have to come down more in line. DVDs are $12 to $20. People aren't going to spend $25 to $30 for a freakin' BlueRay movie (unless it is porm maybe). They need to get real.

Posted by: moonwatcher2001 | January 14, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

And in encouraging a "one box" set top box solution, how about a version that can wirelessly stream movies (in various codecs please)and my iTunes library from my PC's hard drive to my A/V system in the den. Roku could own the market on this type of device if only they would.

Posted by: moonwatcher2001 | January 14, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

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