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This is the second of 5 daily articles we will be distributing over the course of the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which runs from Jan. 5th - Jan. 8th. The information below is very brief and will likely be elaborated upon in a future article, or set of articles.

The Sony Blu-Ray products, when they do finally reach the market, will be fully backward-compatible (DVD, CD, etc ... all read/write formats supported). There will be 20 titles available initially and will be available for ordering in March.

The Sony Playstation 3, when it arrives, will also contain Blu-Ray hardware and be fully backward compatible to previous Playstation products.

In addition to the Blu-Ray and Media PC additions, Sony is also bringing to market two new consumer HD camcorders:

The HDR-HD1 is currently available for approximately $2000.

The HDR-FX1 is currently available for approximately $3700 and target for the "prosumer".

And there is additional programming to be in HD this year: Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune.

Dish announced that it is adding 5 new Voom channels to its HD lineup (Family Room HD, Gameplay HD, Treasure HD, World Cinema HD, and WorldSport HD) as well as 2 additional HD channels: ESPN2 and Universal HD. So as of February 1st, there will be 25 HD channels available on Dish Network with an expected price point of $20 per month.

They also announced that be the end of this year they will be providing local HD channels in "up to" 50 markets beginning with Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and Boston ... Including Subchannels.

To top it off, all of these HD Locals, and the additional stations above, will all be MPEG4. They have further committed to make all future additions to their HD lineup in MPEG4 only. There will be no further additions of HD channels in MPEG2. This means that if you want to receive these additional channels, it will require a hardware (STB) upgrade.

To support his, they have released a new series of MPEG4 STB's: the ViP Series. This series of tuners does not yet have support for 1080p (more on that in a later article), but will support it in the future with a "easy" upgrade path:

211 - Single Room

222 - Multi-Room - This box will decode HD on the primary TV and SD on a second TV ... with no additional box fee (as would usually be the case)

622 - Multi-Room PVR - Same as the 222, but with PVR functionality. The first MPEG4 PVR to hit the market. The hard drive in this unit can also be "shared" among both connected TV's ... again with no additional box fee.

Day 2 Preview
Tomorrow, we should have more information on the following:
- HDMI/1080p
- Windows Vista Media Center
- Voom

Posted by Shane Sturgeon, January 6, 2006 9:39 AM

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About Shane Sturgeon

Shane Sturgeon is the Co-Publisher and Chief Technologist of HDTV Magazine, an industry publication with HDTV roots going back to 1984, when Dale Cripps founded The HDTV Newsletter. Today, HDTV Magazine is a leading online resource for HDTV news and information and captures the eyes and imaginations of over 3 million visitors annually. Mr. Sturgeon has a background in information technology and has served in various consulting capacities for Fortune 500 companies such as J.P. Morgan Chase, Verizon Communications, Proctor & Gamble and Nationwide Insurance. He has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Wright State University.