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CES 2006 Picks and Pans

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Last week I attended the 2006 Consumer Electronic Show (CES), which since the demise of Comdex has become the largest and most important trade show in the nation - not only for electronics, but for all technology. This year's show saw record attendance, which added to the energy and overall excitement of the event, but also jammed hotels, city streets and aisles on the show floor.

Overall Show Theme - Video dominated the show. Booths had entire walls covered with plasma screens -- from 7-inch minis to 70-inch giants. Some booths placed screens vertically on stands, and had them playing high definition videos on a stage, which fooled your eyes and made you think it was a live performance. There were cars with video players built into every headrest, and some were mounted to the underside of the hood, which would flip up and create a drive-in movie experience. There were even tiny stick-of-gum-sized video players with screens no bigger than your thumbnail.

To play video on all these screens you need delivery and storage systems, of which there was plenty. There were in-home systems, which store video and make it accessible from every room (DigitalDeck, TeraTelly, Aeon-Digital), systems to download content from online sources (Akimbo, DaveTV, KiSS), and clever systems that make your TV able to access any PC or (coming soon) phone (Slingbox).

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