If you notice fewer nerds in your neck of the woods this week, it’s because they’re all at the big Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Since we’re not swilling down free booze from publicity-seeking companies in person, we just thought we’d bring you the highlights:
Bill Gates kicked the show off with his last CES keynote, announcing that Microsoft’s Xbox Live Marketplace will offer content from ABC, the Disney Channel, MGM and Showtime Networks including Lost, Grey’s Anatomy, The Terminator and the James Bond franchises.
The Redmond giant is also partnering with NBC to webcast the Olympic games, offering almost all of the events as live streams or on demand.
Slingbox, hot on the heels of its HD and Blackberry support, announced trio of new products: the SlingCatcher, which lets you play web video on your TV, will be available in Q2 for $249.99; SlingPlayer 2.0, which will surely catch the ire of Hollywood since it allows users to grab clips of TV shows and share them online; and the SlingModem, which is a cable modem with a Slingbox baked right in.
Panasonic and Comcast are hooking up to create the AnyPlay portable DVR that can record 60 hours of video, play CDs and DVDs and sports an 8.5 inch display. The two companies also announced a new HDTV and set-top box based on the tru2way technology.
Samsung hooked up with USA Today to deliver headlines, weather, local stories (and pie charts, presumably) to your TV, while Sharp announced its Aquos Net, which will also deliver Internet information like traffic, stock quotes and weather to TV sets. The Aquos Net service goes one step further and allows Sharp technicians to perform diagnostics on your TV remotely (with your permission)(we hope). NBC said it will be putting content from its sites on the service (sites like NBC.com?)
Vudu is bumping up its HD offerings, making 70 high-def movies available to rent by the end of January. The company says its HD content will be instant to the consumer if they have a 4 Mbps connection or higher.
Speaking of Mbps, Sony announced TransferJet, a new technology that passes data between gizmos like cell phones, video cameras and more at 375 Mbps to 500 Mbps wirelessly.
Stay tuned here for updates throughout the show.