Going into CES this year I didn't really know what to expect. Last year's CES was what CES had always been, a Consumer Electronics Show with a few motherboard manufacturers scattered throughout the show. But also remember that last year saw the nail in the coffin for Comdex and most of the companies in the tech industry said that they would instead be at CES, showing off their "convergence" devices as well as some of their conventional PC technology products.

Well, walking the show floor I get the feeling that while some companies do get a clear impression of where we're headed, the vast majority are simply in a confused state of mind. For example, historically I've never found Microsoft's booths at any tradeshow interesting, but for the first time ever at this year's CES, I'd say that the Microsoft booth was by far one of the most interesting. Then I look at other more consumer electronics based companies and I see that they're here at CES promoting the same unintelligent CE devices that they have been for the past several years, maybe with the addition of "HD" to their name.

For years Intel and Microsoft have been talking about this "convergence" between PC technology and consumer electronics and for the first time ever you can actually truly see it happening on a much larger scale than just being able to play your MP3s over your home stereo. At the same time, despite the huge movements forward in this idea of convergence, walking the halls of CES tells me plain and simple that the road to convergence is still a very long one. There are far too many companies that still don't get it and there's still a lot of network infrastructure that needs to be in place before companies can really begin to offer some cooler convergence products.

So this year's CES ends up being far from a smoothly integrated show featuring consumer electronics, PC technology and the futures of both. Very few showcases and demos actually presented the convergence of all three, with far more displaying segregated products falling into each individual category. Not that this is a bad thing, it's just more of a wake up call that there's still a lot of work to be done.

That being said, the CES show itself this year is absolutely massive. Transportation to and from the show and meetings is basically impossible unless you have a car or are close to a monorail station. The upwards of 120,000 CES attendees have put a full strain on the Las Vegas taxicab system, making waiting for a cab during CES show hours a 1.5 - 2 hour ordeal. The organizers of CES will make things even more difficult next year as they revisit the Comdex legacy and add a third location to CES - the Sands Expo Center connected to the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas (which always proved to make scheduling meetings and covering the show fun).

With the show over and the AnandTech team out of Vegas, we can finally bring you coverage of the highlights of this year's Consumer Electronics Show.

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  • quanta - Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - link

    Isn't DLP design rather unreliable? After all, it involves mechanically moving millions of microscopic mirrors to create brightness, and there is no easy way to oil these tiny joints when the chip gets old. Since each mirror is moving thousand of times a second, dead pixels can develop rather quickly. As a side effect of moving all these mirror, won't the chips get noisy as well? Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - link

    Heh, as soon as I read the bit about mobo manufacturers confirming what most of us already know; that nVidia has abandoned SoundStorm and it will not be returning in anything like its original form (DD encoding) in the forseeable future.

    Just because the Inq reports on something doesn't make it gospel truth, much of what they post is rumours and they have been known to be wrong in the past ;) As for the nVidia chairman saying SS is returning in a surprising form, that could mean just about anything except what some people here are hoping for. A return of the original SS or an updated version of it would be totally unsurprising so he is effectively ruling that out.

    Could one of the SS zealots who believes it will make a return with PCIe please explain to me why it needs more bandwidth than what PCI can provide? Surely if the card is doing all the encoding, all that needs to be sent to it is the raw audio data which is minimal. Even the very highest quality 8-channel 32-bit 192khz sampling-rate uncompressed audio needs under 6MB/s of bandwidth which is easily handled by PCI, so I fail to understand why PCIe would make a difference. If there were sufficient consumer demand for a DD encoder, somebody would have already made one for PCI, so you're deluding yourself if you think the only reason they aren't available is that it needs the increased bandwidth offered by PCIe. Unless of course you have evidence which suggests otherwise and I'd be interested in reading it.

    Rather than waiting for the return of SS, I suggest you buy a few decent cables and hook up your soundcard to your amplifier the normal way. Provided the soundcard has decent DACs, you'll enjoy higher quality sound than anything SoundStorm's dolby-digital output could provide.
    Reply
  • linuxOwnzIfUrLeet - Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - link

    #44,45...

    It's at sam's club:

    It's made by infocus.

    The web shows "InFocus® ScreenPlay 4805" but I'm not sure the 4805 was the one. Their web is not the same stuff as what you have in the store.
    Reply
  • bob661 - Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - link

    #44
    I was going to ask the same thing.

    #39
    SS is dead. Move on, nothing to see here.
    Reply
  • OrSin - Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - link

    14# Where can I get a 76 DLP for 1400.
    Shit where can I get decent 76" HD of any kind of for $1400. I live in the USA. I really want to know. My 42in Toshiba HD is not cutting it and it cost me $1000.
    Reply
  • xxeper - Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - link

    I love how you talk about how "bulky" the Windows Mobile [PocketPC, MPx] are while at the same time basically petting and licking the Windows Mobile smartphone [C500]. Did you even bother to pick up the BENq or iMat Jam phones? or were you too busy whispering sweet nothings to your P.O.S. Audiovox? Reply
  • Live - Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - link

    #13

    The X800 you are linking to costs 450$ when its supposed to sell for 250$. and only that brand is available.
    Reply
  • Zebo - Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - link

    AMD was curiously quiet throughout the show,
    ----------------
    Speak Softly and carry a big stick.:)
    Reply
  • RyanVM - Tuesday, January 11, 2005 - link

    #9, I read the exact same thing in Maximum PC three months ago. Reply
  • shinotenshi - Monday, January 10, 2005 - link

    The design team was disbanded, however many sources have already reported that the team was reconstitued. The design won't be finished by luck would have it, at the time the sony ps3 is done. As i said before, i don't this is a coincidence. the interest of sony(ps3,blu-ray) and nvidia(pushing pci-e, other markets, consumer, pci-e sound cards), are converging. If they can build a chip that can encode either DD++ or DTS+++ it would be an econnomic windfall. Reply

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