You won't find a more institutionally conservative category in the consumer electronics space than home audio. More than any other industry segment, audio is one where technological advances tend to be lamented rather than celebrated, viewed with suspicion rather than embraced. And that's understandable: Subpar speakers are now passed off as good enough and used to listen to digital music, which is often highly compressed compared with CD or (even better) LP equivalents. And the music itself is coming from a dying recording industry, struggling to stay alive in the digital age, and often relegated to background music--fewer … Read more
What was arguably the biggest story of CES 2008 occurred three days before the show actually opened for business: Warner Home Video went Blu-ray exclusive, leaving just Paramount and Universal (and smaller DreamWorks) as exclusive HD DVD content partners. Indeed, in the days since, the issue of those studios following Warner's lead seems to be one of when, not if. Blu-ray seems on the verge of a complete victory in the HD disc format war to become the high-def successor to DVD. As a result, combo players--including a newly announced model from Samsung--were greeted more by yawns than … Read more
Some industrious programmers have found a way to hack the Archos 605 WiFi portable video player to run the Qtopia Linux platform. By the looks of it, the Qtopia hack doesn't add much in the way of extra media features (the Archos does pretty well as-is), but it opens the door to developing the Archos 605 WiFi as a more generally useful and configurable tablet PC. The Qtopia hack appears to work on older models of the Archos players as well, although the Archos fifth-generation players seem to be easier to configure.
Personally, I think the Archos 605 WiFi … Read more
With all the rumors surrounding Macworld, it's difficult to sift through those possibilities that could actually come true and those that are pure rubbish. And while I don't think I have all the answers, it seems more and more likely that some of the expectations some of us have for Steve next week may not come true.
As it stands, most people are saying that iTunes movie rentals will become a reality next week and an ultraportable Mac is in the works. Still others believe Jobs will revamp the Apple TV and some people believe he'll refresh the entire MacBook line. As for me? I'll tell you what he should (and shouldn't) do when he takes the stage next week.… Read more
Cowon America is now shipping its new iAudio U5 MP3 player. For a company with a reputation for packing gadgets to the gills, the iAudio U5 is a relatively basic MP3 player. The Cowon iAudio U5 includes a 1.8-inch TFT LCD, an FM radio with recording capability, a voice recorder, an alarm clock/sleep timer, Cowon's extensive JetEffect suite of custom EQ controls, and plays MP3, WMA, and WAV files (including DRM). While the Cowon iAudio U5 lacks video support or memory expansion, it might find a home with people who prefer a no-frills device with a sleek … Read more
According to an Apple statement sent out yesterday, Apple will equalize the price of music on its iTunes Stores across Europe within the next six months.
It seems the peeps at Which? weren't satisfied that us Brits were being charged more for music in iTunes than the rest of Europe, so they filed a formal complaint with the U.K.'s Office of Fair Trading, which then contacted the European Commission, which started antitrust proceedings. Apple's decision has satisfied the EC, which will take no further action.
At the moment you have to pay 79 pence (about $1.… Read more
UPDATE (1-22-08) at 2:25 p.m.: More than a week after this story was published, Trent Reznor accused CNET News.com of misquoting him about the issue of a music tax on ISPs. We have posted an audio excerpt of the Reznor interview here. For the sake of full disclosure, we have also updated this story to include the text of what he said following his remarks about the ISP tax.
Very early in a discussion with Trent Reznor, the front man for the band Nine Inch Nails, it's obvious how highly he prizes his collaboration with musician … Read more
Our second day at CES kept us plenty entertained. If there's any chance we were slipping into a gadget malaise, a few mobile manufacturers gave us a wakeup call, starting with LG. Remember those (kinda useless) PDA watches from a few years back? LG's revisiting the concept, but this time with a prototype phone watch--sounds much more useful this time.
For the third year in a row, the Consumer Electronics Association has asked the expert editors at CNET to pick the hottest new gadgets from the International Consumer Electronics Show. The 30 finalists for Best of CES 2008 have been announced, and you can vote your favorite for the People's Voice Award.
Winners will be announced live on CNET TV at 2 p.m. tomorrow, January 9, so check back then to see who the winners are, and which lucky gadget will earn the coveted Best in Show award.
Missed the first day of CES 2008 in Las Vegas? Let us bring the gadget goodness to you--enjoy these hand-picked links with your morning coffee and find much more coverage at CNET's CES special package.
Consumer electronics product managers worldwide and especially at CES are busy these days working on tech that women won't be embarrassed to be seen with. Will some extra fashion flair help? Who knows, but there was plenty of bling on the show floor. We saw the elusive Samsung Armani phone and Philips' Swarovski-crystal encrusted earbuds.
In more useful announcements, we got to try … Read more