Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Audio News for October 24, 2006

Japan Gets New Audio Products; Consumer Electronics Show for 2007 Expands; CEA Industry Forum Held in SF



Japan Gets New Audio Products - But not the rest of the world - at least not yet. The following items were introduced at the recent CEATEC show in Japan: A D-Dock HDD shelf system from Panasonic, which records CDs and transfers audio to a docked SD memory card. The card can be used in D-Snap MP3 portables as well as other similar portable devices. An earlier D-Dock unit lacked the internal hard drive but could transfer content to the SD card at 4x speed from its five-disc changer. (In the U.S. Philips offers an HDD-equipped shelf system, part of a wireless multiroom audio system.)

JVC showed two HDD shelf systems - a 40GB model with both a CD and a MiniDisc recorder and an 80GB microsystem without the MD - more likely to be offered in the U.S. eventually since MiniDisc is mainly popular just in Japan. This UX-HD9 has a CD player, USB capability, and can download protected music files directly from the Internet. Pricing was not mentioned.

Consumer Electronics Show for 2007 Expands - The world's largest annual consumer technology trade show (no doubt about it - it is LARGE!), the 2007 International CES, runs from January 8 to 11 in Las Vegas. It has grown so much that to accommodate all the displays and events the Las Vegas Convention Center is being augmented with Halls B, C & D at the Sands Expo and Convention Center and parts of the adjoining Venetian Hotel, as well as the Las Vegas Hilton. The entire show will cover 1.6 million square feet. Keynote speakers will be heard at the Palazzo Ballroom of the Sands/Venetian rather than at the former Convention Center. The Alexis Hotel is no longer the "specialty audio" venue, and over 200 audio and home theater exhibitors will be found at the Sands/Venetian. Early signups include Sumiko, Musical Surroundings, Thiel and MBL. The same location will be home to Innovations Plus, featuring more than 12 emerging technology-related TechZones, Innovations Honorees displays, conference sessions and select CES Partner Programs. Attendees will be able to use touch-screen voting kiosks to vote for their favorite Innovations product. More information, including registration, at: www.CESweb.org [It is interesting that in the three-page news release, the word "audio" appears only twice and only one sentence mentions the audio exhibits.]

CEA Industry Forum Held in SF - Last week's Industry Forum, held by the Consumer Electronics Association in San Francisco, focused on consumer purchase patterns, trends in the digital home, recruiting employees and international trade. One panel was on "Understanding How Consumers Use the Internet to Research and Shop for CE Products." Another was titled "Digital Home: Enabling the Next-Generation Multimedia Experience." It discussed the results of a survey of 10,000 global consumers to better understand consumer needs and wants regarding technology. Mark Cuban, chairman and president of HDNet, was featured speaker at the member meeting and luncheon. He spoke on the opportunities which HDTV is presenting to consumers and the industry: "People are fixated on the Internet - which is what the past ten years have been about - when a great deal of change and opportunity will be generated by the HDTV reality."

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