Televisions, cameras among best of CES

February 12, 2012 12:00 am
  • The 10-megapixel Ricoh CX6 camera uses two separate focusing systems that work together to deliver lightning-fast response.
    The 10-megapixel Ricoh CX6 camera uses two separate focusing systems that work together to deliver lightning-fast response.
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Question: I know you were at the Consumer Electronics Show recently. Did anything stand out to you this year?

BOB B.
Milwaukee

Answer: There were quite a few things that stood out, and I will write about them throughout the year as questions come up. For now, here are a few interesting products that caught my eye.

Element Electronics had a 70-inch LED-LCD television with an integrated soundbar, the latter developed with speaker manufacturer JBL. A wireless subwoofer is included. The TV does not support 3-D, but it does provide a huge, good-looking picture and great sound. It will launch a few months from now at a suggested price of $1,999, which strikes me as a good value for such a nice package. Once you have had a 70-inch TV, you will never go smaller! I was told the new television will likely be produced in Element's new Detroit factory.

I am often asked if there is a compact, digital camera with SLR-like responsiveness. Many people miss "the moment" when photographing children because of a compact camera's shutter and focus lag, and they do not want the size, weight or expense of a digital SLR.

When I tried the CX6 at the Ricoh booth at the show, I was most impressed, thinking, "This is just what a lot of readers have been asking for!" The CX6 has a 10.6x zoom; a clean, intuitive user interface; image stabilization; and a screen with a whopping 1.23 million pixels, about three times as sharp as most small camera screens.

No pricing as of yet, but the CX6 is likely to command a premium given the quality and performance. If its capabilities solve your problem, it could be money well spent, and I hope to test the CX6 when it launches.

Olympus had a very nice superzoom camera, the $199 Olympus SZ-12. It has 14 megapixels, a 24x zoom, a high capacity rechargeable battery and a solid, compact body that is easy to hold. If the image quality is up to par, it will be a standout buy, and I hope to test this camera as well.

Dish Network (now known as just Dish) had a great show featuring its new whole-house DVR system, called Hopper and Joey. If the names Hopper and Joey remind you of kangaroos, you are right on the money, as a kangaroo is the new Dish mascot. (It even had quite a few baby kangaroos in attendance for media pictures). The Hopper is the most advanced DVR announced to date, and if the system works as well as advertised, it should prove to be very popular.

Sharp had the Aquos Freestyle TV line with built-in rechargeable batteries that can be used anywhere in the home, as well as the Aquos Board, which is an 80-inch merging of a tablet and a television.

On the high-end front, both LG and Samsung displayed 55-inch OLED HDTVs with spectacular picture quality. Long considered the holy grail of TV technology, OLED has had engineering challenges that have made large sizes impractical. I will be writing more about the pros and cons of OLED in a future column.


First Published 2012-02-11 23:10:43
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