G4, CNET Offer CES-Guide Podcast

Las Vegas -- G4 and CNET teamed up at the 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show here Friday -- and even used new technology, a podcast -- to help cable operators sort through and pick out the must-see products at the gargantuan confab.

The video-game-centric cable network and CNET, which offers online reviews of new products, conducted a luncheon presentation for MSO officials where they demonstrated what they picked out as some of the most important new products at the CES.

The product analysis was done by G4 host and video-game guru Adam Sessler and CNET editor at large Brian Cooley, who both seemed to agree that the CES’ biggest trend this year was set-top makers looking to move content from their boxes to portable media players.

“Just about everybody who’s in the set-top-box business is getting into the exporting-content business to portals -- an important theme and bridge there,” Cooley said.

The session -- attended by executives from MSOs such as Cox Communications Inc., Comcast Corp., Insight Communications Co. Inc. and Time Warner Cable -- also used new technology to demonstrate the show’s highlights. Joe Rooney, Cox’s senior vice president of marketing, was part of the audience.

Attendees each received an MP3 player that was preloaded with a podcast offering a guided tour of the must-see sights of the show, like Samsung Electronics America Inc.’s 82-inch LCD TV, touted as the world’s largest.

G4, owned by Comcast, and CNET also handed out a print guide map of the show floor and its “must-see” product sights.

G4 chief operating officer Dale Hopkins said the network did a similar session for cable operators to help guide them through the CES last year. This year was the first time the network teamed up with CNET for the CES guide.

One of the products demonstrated at the lunch was the Humax USA portable media player, which is compatible with DirecTV Inc.’s new “DirecTV 2Go” service, which was announced at the show. Subscribers can download programming from DirecTV’s new digital video recorder into a variety of portable media players, including the Humax version.

“It’s got a lot of support for digital-rights management, so content creators that are playing ball with DirecTV don’t have to worry about their content leaking over …and suddenly being free, where it can be copied and pirated and sent all over,” Cooley said.