FOR THE WEEK OF JAN. 11, 2010
Electronics event unveils next-gen TVs, games, phones, ear buds, other tech updates
Check the lifestyle, business and entertainment sections for reports from this show or other news about electronic and technology items.
Discuss how newspapers let consumers separate hype from helpful tips about new items of any type. What's the difference between information from manufacturers and from journalists?
Look for electronic product reviews of by technology writers or users. Are they informative? Do they seem reliable? Can readers add comments or a review?
Grab the 3-D glasses and get ready for a new kind of home entertainment. TV manufacturers are joining Hollywood's mania for 3-D films, such as the fantasy adventure "Avatar," by bringing that technology in the living room. Those next-generation sets were a highlight of the four-day Consumer Electronics Show last week in Las Vegas, a yearly showcase of the latest gear for communication, learning, gaming and other amusements. More than 2,700 companies displayed products or services.
Attention-grabbing developments also included "smart TVs" that connect to the Internet, fancier smart phones, touch-screen cameras, 3-D gaming, in-car wireless Internet and tablet-size computers that present books, magazines and newspapers in print-style formats. For laptop users, a handy advance comes in a tiny shape -- thumbnail-size flash drives that are called "plug and stay" because they don't prevent computers from slipping into a carrying case.
The biggest buzz was about TVs that make high-definition sets seem so last decade. Nearly every manufacturer will have an Internet-enabled model with WiFi wireless networking to let entertainment to flow from the home computer or laptop to the TV. Walt Disney Studios and others offer technologies that let consumers pay once for a movie or show and then watch it on multiple devices, such as smart phones or wireless players. "I really see it as almost like the plasma that flows through the devices, from one to another," said Bob Chapek, a Disney executive. "Any device that's not connected is at risk of becoming obsolete."
Studio head says: "The [3-D] technology is here, and there's a very big surge in content coming. . . .And with the arrival of 'Avatar,' it's pushed it to a frenzy level." -- Jeffrey Katzenberg, chief executive of DreamWorks Animation
Blogger says: "3-D for the home is clearly coming. . . . But I think that the hype is far exceeding the reality. It's still a few years or more from being the norm that the hype is suggesting is on the doorstep." -- Robert J. Elisberg, Huffington Post
Lady Gaga earbuds: The flamboyant singer was at Monster Cable's booth to promote in-ear Heartbeats headphones that she is said to have designed. They come in three models, various colors and cost $100 to $150.
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