CES Day 1…PracticalJanuary 6, 2011 - 12:24 PM | by: Adam Housley
Finding cool stuff here at CES is like…as the old saying goes…shooting fish in a barrel. The problem is finding gadgets and technology that makes sense, is affordable and can be easily found. So for the last couple of days we have waded through thousands of e-mails and seemingly walked thousands of miles through the Las Vegas Convention Center dodging forklifts, to try and find the stuff that will make your life better and stuff that wont break the bank.
Throughout the next two days I will feature some of the products and technologies that fit that mold. Many of my friends, colleagues and family members over the course of the last year have expressed the stuff they are looking for….so here it goes.
We start with finding a wireless keyboard that is thin, durable and can connect to a multitude of devices and Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard is one of the several that have caught our eye. It is completely wireless, charges using ambient light in the room, and stays charged for at least 3 moths even in total darkness. It retails for about $99 and can be found at a number of retailers around the country. The picture is below this article.
Here also is an exclusive video report just for foxnews.com on Philips and two of their award-winning products at this years show. WATCH ADAM’S REPORT WITH PHILIPS HERE
Now to the tech I wish I would have waited for. How many of you have a home that is not wired for surround sound? I would guess most, so in the last few years we have shown you wireless surround sound speaker, but this is the year they have finally become affordable. There are expensive sets still out there, but you can still find good sound and not have to rip open your ceiling/walls, or run cables across the floor. We found the Phase Technology Wireless Surround Speakers for example which have 150 watts of amplified power and can easily be set up around the room without hiring a technician to figure it all out.
Camera’s are everywhere and have been for some time. While finding low cost/high quality point and shoots is pretty easy, some companies are finding neat additions to try and separate themselves. KODAK has a $99 point and shoot called ‘Easyshare Mini’ with a little mirror on the front so it’s beyond simple to take a picture of yourself and be smack dab in the middle of the frame. KODAK also has the ‘Playfull’ Video Camera– small handheld unit with 1080 quality and as they say….”can fit in your skinny jeans”. It is simple to use and upload/share and retails for about $149.95.
We switch gears a bit with our next item, which costs about $1,000, but how much is life worth? By some reports %50 of all people don’t properly take their medication and thousands die from the mistake. There are a number of high tech companies trying to solve this deadly problem and many insurance providers and medicare cover part of the cost. We spoke with Dr. Stephen Axelrod from TabSafe Medical Services. The company sells the TabSafe Medication Dispenser–an automated, computerized medication dispenser and home health care aide that stores and dispenses all the medication you need to take, at the times you need to take it. The unit has an alarm to alert you to take your pills and is Web-accessible so family and medical personnel have access to a patient’s activities through a regularly updated website….you can even follow it on your smartphone. Again it retails for about $1000, but Medicare subsidized in certain states.
As the day moved along we got into TV’s and the rage for connected and 3D versions. First…3D TV’s are expensive and fit a certain demographic right now and candidly, I would rather stick with the connected ones…so let’s focus there. In general connected TV’s and even 3D’s are about a 3rd more in price than the same model of HDTV without the bells and whistles. While 3D are all about visual, connected TV means you can basically stream straight to the TV over the internet without an outside source helping. So ‘Hulu’, ‘Netflix’ and many other sources can be watched and accessed right on your TV, along with sites like ‘facebook’ or twitter.
We went over to ‘Coby’ because they are a large company trying to break into the market with the real big guys like Sony and Panasonic. ‘Coby’ believes its move is offering a more affordable television for the market. Now if you are like me and already own an HDTV, or if you don’t want to shell out the extra cash for a connected TV version, I have some options that you can pair with a TV like ‘Coby’, or one that you already own and make it work just like the fancy ones…and do it without ripping open your pocketbook. Of course if you are in the market and can afford it, buy connected built in and enjoy the options it has to offer.
Next to the wall of ‘Coby’ TV’s we set up the Roku streaming player, which retails for about $59. It seems very, very simple to connect to your TV (one cable) and right away connects you to Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Video On Demand and much more in HD, no PC or MAC required. The company claims anyone can have it ready to go in 5 minutes and the unit is also very small. The company is continually adding services and I am told soon you’ll be able to add a hard drive to it via USB port. Also with ‘Roku’, there’s no extra monthly bills and you can use your existing subscriptions, or enjoy free and on-demand content.
Next to the ‘Roku’ is the latest version of ‘Slingbox’, which also can transform your regular, but totally capable HDTV. I actually found this company a few years back at CES and bought a unit which I still use. In fact on the way home from Chile while covering the miners rescue, I watched the Giants playoff game against the Phillies on my iPhone by using ‘Slingbox’. It is a bit different than ‘Roku’ because ‘Slingbox’ basically takes your entire home theater with you wherever you go. You can plug in multiple devices and stream it to your computer, iPhone, iPad, laptop or other mobile phone. I am thinking about upgrading (they have a program that allows this for all consumers) my old ‘Slingbox’ to the HD version. Setting it up is also pretty easy and prices range from the $150 range for the non HD version, to the $250 range for the best model.
So this is what I have found so far. There are other companies that also provide similar devices and TV’s that are great and we are going to do our best to show you more of what’s practical, affordable and wont clutter-up your life. More coming tomorrow…any questions or comments?? Let me know. I have purchased some, but not all of these gadgets and of course I have other stuff I bought in the past as well.