CES 2007: It's Not Just Tech Folks Anymore - InformationWeek

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Infrastructure // PC & Servers
Commentary
1/8/2007
05:07 PM
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CES 2007: It's Not Just Tech Folks Anymore

For somebody who has spent most of her professional life writing about computers and associated technologies, the crowds at the Consumer Electronics Show are a revelation. Not just the vast number of companies shouting for the attention of the buyers and media -- even though classifying some of the products here as "consumer" can be a stretch -- but the attention it's getting in the popular media. It's been front-page news in the

For somebody who has spent most of her professional life writing about computers and associated technologies, the crowds at the Consumer Electronics Show are a revelation. Not just the vast number of companies shouting for the attention of the buyers and media -- even though classifying some of the products here as "consumer" can be a stretch -- but the attention it's getting in the popular media. It's been front-page news in the New York Times, and I'm told that CES was the focus of attention on a recent Today Show.


First day crowds at the Las Vegas Convention Center's South Hall
It's also reflected in the number of nontech media representatives who attend. I'm certainly not surprised to see representatives from, say, NBC or Consumer Reports; I was temporarily knocked for a loop when the guy from the SciFi Channel showed up, until I remembered the gaming segment of the CES audience (which, I'm sorry to say, is off my current radar). It reminds me a bit of the days before the tech bubble burst -- but in those days, the majority of the journalists were from tech-related media; today, even if you include the tech bloggers (and I do -- well, some of them, anyway), a good proportion of those here are writing for people to whom words like "router" and "server" are anathema and to be avoided if possible.

But enough of that. As long as we're talking about entertainment:



Creative's Zen V Plus MP3 player and separate speaker
There are, of course, a number of MP3 and media players being introduced during CES. Creative, for example, is touting its small Zen V Plus MP3 player, a nicely designed player that offers from 1 Gbyte of storage (for $100) to 8 Gbytes (for $300). It also has an FM tuner, audio recorder, and accepts data file, handy for those of us who don't feel comfortable without our data somewhere within reach.

SanDisk also has a couple of entries, including the Sansa Express, about the size of a USB drive and also included an FM tuner and voice recorder. It's one of those handy MP3 devices that directly plugs into your USB port, a configuration that always made sense to me, especially in the small media players. The Sansa Connect is a Wi-Fi MP3 player that is due to ship in March; it includes an image viewer and lets you download music using monthly subscription services (the services have not yet been announced).

Incidentally, I was interested to see Netgear's Digital Entertainer HD, its new set-top receiver that streams video and other Internet content on your TV. This is at least the second such product that's been announced in as many days; Sony also announced its Bravia Internet Video Link for streaming Internet media directly to one of its TVs. Sony's is less intrusive -- it attaches to the back of a display, out of sight and mind -- but according to Sony reps, it will only work with their new displays, while Netgear's will work, they say, with most TVs, even those that don't handle high definition.

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