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Portable Media (Video) Players at CES 2006

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Portable Media (Video) Players at CES 2006

Toshiba gigabeat S Series

Photo Credit: ©Microsoft
One product on everybody’s mind at the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show held in January in Las Vegas was portable video players, also known as portable media players. A growing number of companies seemed to be embracing this type of device over digital audio only MP3 players, perhaps because of the successes seen at retail by Apple’s fifth generation iPod with video playback capabilities.

Toshiba:
Consumer electronics giant Toshiba, who first debuted their gigabeat portable audio players at CES last year, was back this time around with their new S Series with expanded video playback. Two hard drive based models – the 30GB MES30V ($299.99 – available in March) and the 60GB MES60V ($399.99 – available in March) – will run off of the Microsoft Windows Mobile-based Portable Media Center platform to provide users the ability to use audio, video and photo digital media files. Video can come from sources as diverse as recorded television shows from a TiVo or a PC running Windows XP Media Center Edition or online video rentals and downloads from subscription services like CinemaNow and MLB.com.

Other features of Toshiba’s 2006 gigabeats will include synchronization with media content on a PC through Windows Media Player 10, a 2.4-inch QVGA LCD screen that offers 320 x 240 resolution, compatibility with PlaysForSure (Windows Media DRM 10) online music and video subscription content, integration with a Xbox 360 for playback control, direct USB connection to digital cameras for backup and display of digital photos and a FM tuner.

LG Electronics:
LG Electronics, known more for their display devices, was in force at CES 2006 with multiple announcements related to new portable media players. The first of these is the PM70 Portable Media Center. Planned for a second quarter release, the PM70, like the Toshiba gigabeat S Series, runs off of the Microsoft Windows Mobile-based Portable Media Platform. Features of this 30GB hard drive player include the ability to store up to 7,500 songs, 3,000 music videos 50 hours of television/movies or up to 45,000 photos, a 4.3-inch widescreen color display, built-in stereo speakers, personal information management technology for syncing with Microsoft Outlook, direct composite A/V line-in recording from a television and support for PlaysForSure (Windows Media DRM 10) online music and video subscription content.

Joining the PM70 in a second quarter release are the JM53 and FM30 Portable Digital Players. The JM53 has a 8GB hard drive, playback time of up to 30 hours, support of MP3, WMA, OGG and ASF audio files as well as MPEG4 video and JPEG digital images, a 1.7-inch color screen and a small size at 3.9 x 1.9 x 0.55 inches. The FM30 is even smaller – around the size of a matchbook – and offers up features such as up to 60 hours of playback on its rechargeable battery, a storage capacity of 1GB (up to 250 songs, 100 music videos or 1,500 photos), support for the same media files as the JM53, a 1.77-inch color screen and an attachment which allows the player to be worn around the neck like a piece of jewelry.

SanDisk:
At the SanDisk booth at CES 2006, the company was busy showing off their new Sansa e200 portable media player series. Three flash based memory models – 2GB ($199.99), 4GB ($249.99), 6GB ($299.99) – make up this series which will be available in March. Items of note in this product include a 1.8-inch color screen, support for Windows Media DRM 10 based online music and video subscription content, long rechargeable battery life, a scratch resistant body, dimensions of 1.7 x 3.5 x 0.5 inches and a built-in FM tuner.

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