For giving sneak peeks of what’s hot for the upcoming holidays, Pepcom’s 2011 Holiday Spectacular packed about 90 of the top consumer/pro technology companies into the compact quarters of New York City’s Manhattan Pavillion. Electronic gadgets overfloweth in the form of cutting edge smartphones, cameras, tablets, software, and downright practical items that will just make one’s life easier and for less money. Just a few of the exhibitors included 3M, Acer, Altec Lansing, Asus, Belkin, Canon, Channel Master, Corel, Energizer, Epson, GE Digital Cameras, HP, Lenovo, Mitsubishi, Motorola, Nikon, NVIDIA, Philips Lighting, RadioShack, Samsung, Toshiba, and more.
Philips Lighting was on hand with a generous offering of LED lighting components for the cost and environmentally conscious user, consumer, and gift giver. Of particular note is the company’s AmbientLED 60W, deemed to be the world’s first LED replacement for a 60W incandescent bulb (see fig. 1). As per Philips, with a lifespan of approximately 22 years, the AmbientLED 60W lives 25x longer than the incandescent ancestor it replaces and consumes 80% less energy. This translates into an approximate saving of $130 over its life. Retail price for the AmbientLED 60W is $39.97.
Belkin hopes to eliminate all the cords and cables encircling and entangling home theater/entertainment centers with its Belkin ScreenCast AV and Universal Wireless components. Streamlining home theater setups and delivering full-HD content without wires and cables, ScreenCast AV 4 AV-to-HDTV Adapters wirelessly connect up to four home theater devices to a HDTV at distances up to 100 feet away (see fig. 2.). Simultaneously, the Universal Wireless AV Adapter and Universal Wireless HDTV Adapter deliver enhanced Wi-Fi performance to Internet-ready smart TVs for wireless video streaming (see fig. 3).
ScreenCast AV 4 Wireless AV-to-HDTV Adapter (F7D4515) costs $249.99 and will be available in October. The Universal Wireless HDTV Adapter (F7D4555) that works with all Internet-ready HDTVs is available now for $79.99 and, also available now, the Universal Wireless AV Adapter (F7D4550) that works with all Internet-ready AV devices via 4 x 10/100 Ethernet ports costs $99.99
For professional, commercial, and consumer applications where user neither have the budget to purchase or time to master sophisticated, high-end photo/video software, Corel has the answer in its Photo & Video X4 Ultimate Bundle (see fig. 4). Designed for photographers and videographers, the bundle claims to be the perfect complement to any high-definition, digital single-reflex lens (HD-DSLR) camera. The bundle pairs PaintShop Pro X4 Ultimate and VideoStudio Pro X4 Ultimate into one cost-effective package.
In its latest version, PaintShop Pro X4 Ultimate adds more photo editing features, significant improvements in speed and performance, enhancements to the user interface, and easy methods for sharing photos through social media. Among the 75 new and enhanced features, the software includes more than 250 effects and styles from Nik Color Efex Pro 3.0, a choice of 21 free images from Fotolia via a seven-day subscription period), a selection of top rated Picture Tubes to embellish favorite photos, and a custom photo book* from Blurb.
VideoStudio Pro X4 Ultimate, the updated version of the company’s venerable VideoStudio offers feature one would expect to find in Hollywood. It expands the set of high-end tools and plug-ins with tools such as ProDAD Mercalli SE for extreme image correction and video stabilization and Boris Graffiti 5.3 for video effects creation.
Price for the Photo & Video X4 Ultimate Bundle is $149 for the full. A free, fully-functional trial version is also available at the company’s website.
One of the high points of the Pepcom show came from Channel Master. If any of you were around during the “dark ages” of technology – a little bit after the discovery of electricity and a little bit before the proliferation of pay TV – you may have memories of a rather odd device that sat on top of your black-and-white television set that has two telescoping rods coming out of it and it may or may not have had a rotary selector switch on it, right between where those two ominous rods emanated from. One or both of those long rods may also have had a sheet of aluminum foil wrapped around it and hanging off like a flag.
Most likely that ominous device, a.k.a., antenna, was made by Channel Master. The company, which has been designing and manufacturing reception components since 1949 is offering something that should give cable and satellite TV providers a bit of competition: Channel Master TV (see fig. 5).
As cash becomes ever harder to come by, more consumers no longer can or want to pay for TV. Also, since the mandating of digital TV by the FCC, local broadcasting has been offering more and better content via more channels, and all for free. Seeing the potential for growth in a legacy market, Channel Master TV embarks as the most advanced subscription free HDTV solution available.
The center of the solution is what looks like a regular set-top box (see fig.5) with three very unobtrusive antennas attached to the rear. This 10 in. x 7 in. x 1.75 in. component captures the free over-the-air HD broadcasts, and includes DVR functionality including the ability to pause, rewind and record live TV, store and manage media content, and access OTT web content such as On Demand Movies and TV shows, all of which is displayed on the user’s TV.
An integrated Vudu apps application provides access to a wide range of Internet services including streaming video, music-on-demand, photo browsing, social networking and more. Basic features include the ability to view and record digital TV and HDTV, HD movie streaming available (1080p) by Vudu, electronic programming guide and TV guide functions, advanced search features, scheduled recordings, and parental control settings, video resolutions of 480i/480p, 720p, and 1080p/1080i, Dolby Digital and Dolby Digital Plus, and a 320-GB hard-disk drive for up to 35 hours of HD recording and 150 hours of SD recording. For further information and pricing, visit the company’s website or call (877) 746-7261.