CES: Sony, Microsoft, Cingular & Warner


  • As always, one of the most impressive aspects of Sony’s presence at CES was the stunning graphics that come off the Playstation 3.  Game demos were continuously running and really displayed a lot of the more impressive graphics that can be coaxed out of the console.


  • Sony also displayed their already available Mylo, a portable Internet communication device that connects to WiFi hotspots and allows for VOIP calling and instant messaging.  The lab recently acquired one of these and it’s a cool product, both from a form-factor and a usability standpoint. It also plays MP3s and video and has a bevy of other features.

      • The company also revealed several new camcorders with the lineup, including five straight-to-hard disk models that remove the necessity to keep any other storage media around.  The picture on these is great and the feature set is amazing.  The DCR-SR300, with a 40gb of storage, can record super slow-motion video at 240 frames per second that can then be replayed at 60 frames per second. Most of these cameras have nice Carl Zeiss lenses attached to them and a price point under $1,000.  Too bad that CES isn’t before Christmas.


      • Microsoft’s booth area was permanently packed this year and a large section of it was taken up with productivity demonstrations, but a couple of the software giant’s new features really stood out.  Vista, as has long been talked about, does indeed have a very polished Media Center-style experience built into it.


      • A small part of Microsoft booth featured a demo of the New York Times’ new Times Reader application.  Built on the new Windows Presentation Foundation technology, this little application (currently only available for Windows XP or Vista) presents a paginated reading experience very similar to reading an actual newspaper.  Imagine, if you will, being able to read all online content from the New York Times in a newspaper-like experience.  It works offline and online and, after seeing it, I promptly went out and downloaded the software.  It’s excellent.


      • As I mentioned previously, Microsoft’s PC gaming section was really amazing.  Crysis had near-realistic graphics and even the new Shadowrun multiplayer game, which received poor initial previews from some gaming websites, seems to have shaped up into a very enjoyable experience.  Time to buy new graphics cards for the lab.


      • During his keynote over the weekend (which we’ll be covering in more detail in a subsequent post), Bill Gates spoke a fair amount about the IPTV that will be coming to the Xbox 360.  It will be available to the 16 providers of current Microsoft IPTV and, potentially allows for a business model where IPTV providers to lease out Xbox 360s as set top boxes for customers.  There will be DVR and VOD services (even available to record while you’re playing a game).


      • They’re going to rebrand themselves as AT&T by the middle of the year?  It looks that way, based off of what was said at a press conference today.  Apparently, they’ll have all the branding done by the time they release their iPhone.


      • In a snazzy little press conference today, Warner revealed its TotalHD dual format high-definition discs that can be played in both HD-DVD and Bluray players.  At the very least, this adds a new facet to the format war that was brewing between the two technologies and is going to save a lot of shelf space for retailers unhappy about having to stock unique discs for each film released.  Very neat.