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Consumer Electronics Devices

IFA - Saturday, August 30

We wrapped up a very good CONNECTIONS Summit yesterday and were treated afterwards to a tour by the Fraunhofer Heinrich-Hertz-Institute. At their IFA display, they showed their audio and video developments, including 3D television, pointer control solutions (cameras sense hand motion and allow users a way to interact with presententations and other video without a mouse), video compression and coding, digital music metadata, and other developments. It was quite interesting.

I have walked most of the IFA displays today, and I am amazed at some of the displays. The giant consumer electronics companies go all out! Sony takes up an entire exhibit hall and had a live band on stage to entertain the visitors.

My focus was on connected products, including televisions. I saw connected TVs from smaller European players such as Vestel, Finlux, and Grundig. I did spy a couple of DLNA displays, the Samsung Series 7 (they also had a Media Center Extender) and Sony's GigaJuke. I saw at least a couple of televisions that incorporate Media Center functionality and others that reference "PC TV" functionality (Daewoo).

Smaller and multi-purpose personal computing systems were on wide display at IFA. One such product that caught my eye was the Shuttle Barebone D10, which uses Z-Wave networking technology to control household appliances and systems.

Wireless multimedia distribution is a hot topic, and I saw Funai referencing a product using Amimon's WHDI solution. Panasonic was demonstrating a product using SiBEAM's WirelessHD solution. Toshiba was also showing WirelessHD in a couple of flat-panel TVs.

Internet radios were also quite prevalent, spanning companies from Olympia, DNT, Epson, Grundig, Reciva, Tivoli, Logitech, and Sonos.

I did see the LG Electronics N4B1 network attached storage (NAS) device. This has a built-in Blu-ray drive, allowing users to share (if allowed) a disc among multiple users, regardless of the operating system that they use (Windows, Apple, or Linux). NAS can create and store an image of the disc which is then accessible by all of the users on the network.

All in all, IFA was a great show to walk. The consumer electronics giants put on a good show!

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