CNet Best of CES: Windows Media all over the place

CNet has posted their Best of CES award winners and Creative has done it again with the Zen Vision:M. I’ve been playing with a Zen Vision:M for a few weeks now and I love it. It has twice the video playback of the video iPod (4hrs vs. iPod’s 2hrs) and frankly, I’ll exhange a bit of thickness for being able to watch a full movie on a charge any day of the week. The UI is familiar and friendly. My only major complaint so far is the adapter needed for USB/charging and it has too many controls (4 discrete buttons + 2 rocker positions + touchpad.

So, this got me thinking about how Windows Media might have fared this year at CES. Here’s a rundown of my report card:

  • Best in Show: Creative Zen Vision:M – does WMV, WMA, and is PlaysforSure
  • People’s Voice: Pioneer Inno (aka Samsung Helix) – it does 50 hours of XM Radio recording, WMA and cool bookmarking feature for Napster so it’s going to be PlaysforSure. Not bad- not bad at all.
  • Cameras and Camcorders: Sanyo Xacti HD1 – a slick little HD (720p) camcorder/digital still camera that records to 1GB SD cards. Though no direct support for WMV, it records into MPEG-4 which Microsoft is a member of the patent pool.
  • Home Audio: Denon AVR-2807 – supports playback of multiple formats including HDCD owned by Microsoft, but what’s really stellar is the built-in WM Connect digital audio receiver in it’s older sibling product, also called out in the article.
  • Car tech: Pioneer AVIC-Z1 – This double-din unit is a multimedia powerhouse w/ 30 GB HDD, GPS, bluetooth built-in all atop Windows Automotive so it should be able to support WMA as well. iPod connector support coming too.
  • Home Video: Pioneer BDP-HD1 Blu-ray player – noted to be around $1800 vs. $499 HD DVD players, this is still a win because Blu-Ray requires the SMPTE-standard submitted Microsoft VC-1 codec.

So how did Microsoft do? Both of the grand prizes support PlaysforSure services and WMA and 6 out of 8 winning products (in eligible categories) for awards include Microsoft digital media technologies. Not a bad roundup at the end of the show and there’s still a ton of work to be done.

I also just learned that all 3 nominees in the Best of CES: MP3 and Digital Video category support PlaysforSure and WMA (or WMV), including Windows Media Player 11 :).

2 comments

  1. Lance says:

    Love that new Creative Zen Vision:M, hopefully there are no problems with the headphone jack like most of the past Creative players. How does the size and weight compare to the Zen Micro?

    FYI, WMP 11 has been getting some nice comments from a tough crowd over at dapreview.net

  2. John says:

    Any comment on the Microsoft/Directv announcement? If I’ll be able to record HD on a MCE PC, I’ll finally make the switch to MCE. That announcement got me more excited than any other.

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