Vizio is making news at CES 2007 with a $3,000 60-inch plasma TV, but Philips has a big-screen plasma model of its own that it's going to price very aggressively at $3,500 (MSRP) when it arrives in stores in June.
Philips has taken iPod integration to a slicker level with two upcoming portable DVD players, the DCP750 and DCP850. Both are widescreen models that feature 7- and 8.5-inch swiveling screens respectively. Philips says they'll also have a built-in SD/MMC card reader and both players will debut in the "first quarter" of 2007 with suggested retail price tags of $149 and $199.
Toshiba has expanded its lineup of HD-DVD players from two to three with the newly announced HD-A20. The new model sits between the already available second-generation players, the $500 HD-A2 and the $1,000 HD-XA2. In fact, except for the addition of 1080p output via HDMI and some minor cosmetic changes, the features of the A20 seem to be nearly identical to the A2. Moreover, unlike the stepped-up HD-XA2, the A20 will not feature the latest HDMI 1.3 technology. The Toshiba HD-A20 will retail for $600 when it ships in spring 2007.
Cingular (or is it AT&T?) announced a new video calling service, which makes it the first carrier in the U.S. to offer live mobile video calls. The video calls are one-way for now, however, meaning only one party can stream the video while the other party watches. The first phone to feature the service is the LG CU500v.
Kodak will offer four new frames, with a 10-inch and an 8-inch model that have wireless capabilities to allow streaming photos from your home PC or online Kodak gallery. The part that should worry Ceiva is Kodak doesn't charge for this service. All the frames not only display pictures but also play sound (MP3 playback) and video (MPEG-1 and -4, MOV, AVI) files and accept the main memory card formats (CF, SD, MMC, xD and MS). You can also directly plug in a camera or a thumbdrive via USB 2.0. Stereo speakers are built into the frames so you can add a soundtrack to your slide shows. Plus, a small remote is included, and optional frame faceplates will be sold so you can customize the frame's look.
The new SlingCatcher is a set-top box that will let users project Web content, such as YouTube videos to a TV screen. You can transfer videos via wires or wirelessly, and can navigate with either the included remote or through a PC. The SlingCatcher will be available for less than $200 sometime in the second quarter or as late as this summer.
Kodak's latest EasyShares, the V803 and V1003, are high-resolution, compact, and inexpensive shooters with some handy automatic features. The cameras focus on style, with slim, inch-thick metal bodies that come in a variety of colors, including black, silver, red, pink, and blue. If the solid colors don't offer enough variety, Kodak will offer an entire catalog of vinyl skins to further decorate your camera. With suggested price tags of $200 and $250 and resolutions of 8 and 10 megapixels, the V803 and V1003 join the growing ranks of budget-priced, high-resolution cameras.
Canon announced some upgrades to its ZR-line of miniDV camcorders. The Canon ZR800, 830, and 850 (with suggested price tags of $280, $300, and $353) will replace the ZR500, 600, and 700 as the company's budget video cameras. All are relatively low resolution, with 680,000-pixel sensors on the ZR800 and ZR830 and a 1-megapixel sensor on the ZR850. All three use the same 35X zoom lens, and feature electronic image stabilization to reduce shake.
TVs are always big news at CES--literally, with manufacturers competing to release the largest plasma TV (last year's was 103 inches). But this year LCD TVs are hot, and Sony has released a whopper. The $33,000 KDL-70XBR3 happens to be a 70-inch flat-panel LCD HDTV with a laundry list of cutting-edge specs: xvYCC technology, 1080p native resolution, a 120Hz refresh, 10-bit color, and an improved LED backlight.