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CES 2009: My Hit List

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The doors have closed on this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, so now the fun part begins: Waiting for all of the cool new gadgets shown off in Las Vegas to make their way to consumers. Here’s the rundown on a few of the products I’m anxious to see.

922_duodvrViP 922 SlingLoaded DuoDVR from DISH Networks: There’s a lot to like about this DVR: It records in HD, it has a dual tuner, sports built-in Wi-Fi, and comes with a built-in Slingbox, so you can view its contents wherever you have an Internet connection. So what’s not to like? It’s only available to DISH Network subscribers. Pricing hasn’t been announced, but the ViP 922 is slated for release this spring.

AT&T CruiseCast: I used to scoff at people who paid big bucks for in-car entertainment systems. But this weekend, I’m facing an eight-hour drive with two small kids. I’d give a lot to have the 22 TV channels offered by AT&T’s (s T) in-car satellite TV system to keep them entertained. And I would have to give a lot: The CruiseCast installation kit (antenna, receiver, remote, cables) will cost $1,299, and the service will run $27.95 a month when it’s launched this spring.

zx1_frontKodak Zx1: My colleagues over at jkOnTheRun were impressed with the Kodak Zx6 — a pocket-sized HD camcorder that competes with devices like the Flip Mino. That’s just one reason I’m looking forward to Kodak’s Zx1. The latest iteration features rubberized grips for people (like me) who tend to drop things and is built to withstand rain and snow. It loses the flip-out USB connector in favor of a USB cable; some reviewers have complained about that move, but I’ve always found the flip-out connectors a bit awkward to connect. Kodak says the Zx1 will be available in April for $150.

LG BD390 Blu-ray player: Sure, it plays Blu-ray discs. And it also streams online videos from Netflix (s nflx), YouTube, and CinemaNow. But my favorite thing about this player is that it includes built-in Wi-Fi, so you don’t have to rely on long (and unsightly) Ethernet cables to connect it to your home network. Add in a few more features, and the BD390 could be the perfect set-top box I’ve been dreaming about. CNET says it will be available in June for $400.


Yahoo Connected TV: This service, which lets you add “TV Widgets” — small Web applications — to an Internet-connected TV, could be a disaster. It could clutter up your TV screen, providing useless links to irrelevant Web content and interfering with your TV viewing. But I’m holding out hope that Yahoo’s (s yhoo) Connected TV will deliver on its promise to provide easy access to Internet-based content that really does complement your TV viewing.

Now, CES wouldn’t be CES without a few oddball gagdets.  Here’s one that failed to wow me:

LG’s GD910 Wristwatch Phone: I already use my cell phone as a watch, but I certainly don’t wear it on my wrist. The odd design is just one of the things I don’t like about the GD910, a watch/phone that supports high-speed 3G data networks. It comes with a built-in, front-facing camera for making video calls, but whether you’ll be able to see anyone on the tiny screen remains to be seen.

These are just a few of the products announced at CES that grabbed my attention. What grabbed yours?

5 Responses to “CES 2009: My Hit List”

  1. Yahoo Internet TV was the most impressive debut for me. If they can pull it off, it could be huge. Must blog it soon. :)

    The Sling+DISH DVR hardware looks good OTHER than the remote. You ever see a mainstream device remote WITHOUT number keys? Bad, bad idea.