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CES Roundup

Cool Tech

January 14, 2008 05:11 PM PST

Ok, before we get into the heavy Macworld product announcements tomorrow, I'd like to list the three cool things I saw from coverage of the CES last week.

Canon Vixia HF10

I've been waiting for Canon to jump on the flash memory based HD bandwagon. And finally they have. They've seemingly fixed the issues I had with their previous tape based recorders, and I continue to avoid Sony because of their insistence on proprietary media formats. Now Canon supports an external microphone and light, something annoyingly missing before. Instead of M-Jpeg, they record in AVCHD (MPEG-4), which provides true 1080 resolution as opposed to the cropped HDV format. At full resolution, the camera can store a bit over 2 hours of video on a 16 GB flash card. With optical image stabilization, no moving parts and a price starting at $900, this is a huge step forward for prosumer HD cams. Now if someone would just make an underwater case for this camera, you guys will see me posting some really cool stuff.

Shuttle KPC Linux Cube

Shuttle quietly announced small Linux PCs starting at $99. Fully functional at $199 and upgradeable from Celeron to Core 2 Duo, these computers fit a niche that I've been looking for for a while, and that is a cheap, always-on, network storage machine for automated backups, media center file serving, and recording HDTV.

Sony Distributes DivX

Although everyone is encoding to Mpeg4 now, it's great to see Divx get some love, and from Sony no less. Sony is making all of it's TV shows available online in this format, which represents quite a move for a content producer (cutting out the network studios as middlemen). I probably will not be downloading any of these shows if they have DRM, but it's good to see some big names get behind DivX.

Comments (3)

Ian, January 14, 2008 07:00 PM:

I don't really understand Sony's support for DivX. It's just a branded MPEG 4 ASP codec, and not a particulary good one either.

Why not just use the AVC codec they encode their trailers with? Maybe they are counting on the large number of DivX certified devices.

J, January 14, 2008 10:12 PM:

Good point. I think you're right that it's primarily because of device support. It's basically a specific MPEG4 profile, but is pretty easy to process in hardware now. It's also probably a response to some DVDs coming with iTunes versions of the movies on them.

J, January 15, 2008 11:50 AM:

I saw a 16GB SDHC card for $75. Flash based HD camera is the way to go!

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