The Rodney Awards: I don\'t get no respect!

CES 2007 -- The Rodney Awards!

We found so many new technologies that deserved mention, but could not say they had a significant "Buzz" at the show. So, we created a new category in honor of the master of "no -respect" Rodney Dangerfield. This is new technology the world has ignored or has yet to discover.

Neurok Optics IZ3D
The iZ3D from Neurok is a 22" widescreen 3D LCD monitor with an advanced 3D visualization system. We found it hidden away in the recesses of CES, but it offers very compelling 3D performance.

The approach features the use of two LCD's one behind the other and represents the ultimate 3D Monitor designed for gamers. In 3D mode, viewers can see clear, bright and sharp 3D images by wearing passive, lightweight glasses, thus eliminating shutter glasses, goggle, or helmets. This supports long -term viewing without causing fatigue or eyestrain, spatial disorientation or headaches.

The display uses commercial -grade LCD panels.

LG Electronics' Pocket Projector
If you saw the new LG Electronics LED -based pocket projector (called the HS101) in the LG booth at CERS, you would have been disappointed with the performance and dismissed as another under power pocket projector. Even though it is advertised as a 100 lumen model, it did not appear to be close to that in the LG booth.

However, when we saw it in the Luminus suite in the Venetian, we were much more impressed. Here, Luminus claimed the projector was outputting about 80 lumens, which seemed reasonable to us. In a simple demo with a laptop and unity gain screen, Luminus showed off the projector producing about a 45 -inch image with normal room lighting. This image was definitely bright enough for viewing with decent contrast and color gamut.

The good news is that we think this level of light output, coupled with a $700 -$900 price tag, is now a very useable and sellable product for traveling presentations. Look for this segment to finally gain some traction, once this light level threshold is surpassed.

Westinghouse 4K LCD
Westinghouse actually showed a very impressive display in its booth that garnered little attention. It was a 56 -inch LCD TV with Quad HDTV resolution (3840 x 2160). That's 8.3 megapixels or four times the pixels in a 1080p display. The company promised "never -before seen picture reproduction." And, indeed, this unit's combination of high resolution and large size produced very impressive images.

The unit targets high -end industrial applications such as medical imaging, video conferencing, and scientific visualization, and the company is taking orders now. You can have one for, around $50,000. Don't expect this to be a consumer item anytime soon.

Philips 63 -inch with SelfCalibration
One of the more interesting demos at CES was in the Philips booth where the company showed the 63PFP7422D, a re -branded 1080p Samsung model but with an OSD set -up tool Philips calls the Settings Assistant. Philips has launched a "Simplicity" ad campaign and this nifty feature fits the bill.

In this sub -menu, a series of six different still images are presented with a split -screen dividing line in the middle. The image settings are different for the left and right sides, and the viewer is prompted to highlight and select the settings he or she prefers. As each selection is made, the image parameters (contrast, black levels, color saturation, sharpness, and white balance) are recorded into memory.

If Philips employs its Settings Assistant on all of their HDTVs, it could turn out to be a real winner - as viewers can accurately set up their plasma or LCD HDTV and be very happy with the results without having to shell out a few hundred dollars to a third -party calibrator.

Compolite's LED Backlight
In a small meeting room at CES, we discovered a Singapore company called Compolite. What surprised us was the demo they showed - a 32' LCD with a new LED backlight unit that required only 60W of wall plug power for the entire TV! This is way down for the power needs of the CCFL backlight and a lot lower than power consumption we have seen on other LED backlight solutions for this size.

What the secret? Compolite will only say it is in the drive circuitry, which was hidden in black shrink wrap. The LEDs are sourced as chips and mounted on simple FR4 PCB with minimal cooling needs. These are fed into a new edge -lit light guide to light up the LCD panel.

The prospects of cutting power usage with LCD -TVs is not yet a big concern in the US, but with millions of new HDTV sets consuming much more electricity that previous TVs, we think this will become an issue soon. Implications go well beyond the CE industry to touch world economies, energy planners, and even environmentalists.

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