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 :).