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CES RoundUp: Yee-Haw!

The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas -- the world's biggest gearfest -- unveiled its usual waterfall of product announcements and launches:

* Delphi Corp. will display a new antenna system that tracks a geo-stationary satellite from a moving passenger vehicle. Similar products are used in the military, Delphi said, but this is the first such device small enough for your garden variety Ford Taurus.

* Intel, meanwhile, made waves with a new silicon technology that could make for large-screen, hi-def TVs retailing for less than $2,000. The new Intel technology, code-named Cayley, is based on a technique called Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCOS). Intel said its Cayley LCOS capitalizes on the company's advanced silicon manufacturing processes to produce a high-quality surface for reflecting light which creates an extremely bright display. The technology will enable OEMs to re-use light engine designs for products in various screen sizes and resolutions, thus reducing their development costs, according to Intel. Intel plans to deliver microdisplays based on Cayley in the second half of this year.

* Motorola introduced its first generation of flat-panel LCD and plasma TVs at the show. Motorola made its entry into the market through an alliance with Moxell Technology, a subsidiary of Proview International, a leading display manufacturer. The inaugural line includes 15 standard and hi-def models ranging from 13- to 47 inches.

* V Inc., of Fountain Valley, Calif., rolled out the first HD DVD player with Windows Media 9 and HighMAT-formatted playback. The device, dubbed the Bravo3, is powered by the new Sigma Designs media processor and has DVI output in 480p, 1080i and 720p, includes DVD and CD rewrite capabilities, Dolby Digital sound and plays MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 in addition to WM9 in HD.

* Microsoft, in a booth no doubt the size of Pittsburgh, demonstrated the latest version of its digital cable software platform, Microsoft TV Foundation Edition v. 1.5, with HD and DVR capabilities. The Redmond, Wash., giant also unveiled Microsoft TV Best Bets, a new DTV application for Foundation 1.5 that "helps consumers more easily find VOD movies of interest," so sayeth the propaganda.

* Epson of Long Beach, Calif., is expanding its LCD line with the addition of two Livingstation HDTV LCD Widescreen projection TVs, the 47-inch LS47P1 and the 57-inch LS57P1, both in 720p. Epson also teased the gearheads with a new technology that allows users to view, print and store digital photos directly from their media card-equipped TVs, bypassing the computer.

* The Pioneer Electronics booth at CES prominently displayed the company's new plug-and-play compliant hi-def plasma TV set, with CableCard bay and built-in NTSC and ATSC tuners.

* Elsewhere at the massive show, Thomson demonstrated its new ultra-thin plug-and-play RCA Scenium that measures in at less than seven inches deep and comes in 50 and 61-inch versions. Both will be on the market this year, with a 70-inch model due in 2005.

* Royal Philips Electronics of San Jose, Calif., is touting what it calls "the industry's first DVD+R/RW and hard disk drive combination semiconductor reference design." Thankfully referred to as the "Nexperia Home," this item will allow DVD recorder makers who don't have their own rewrite/hard drive chip sets to integrate those DVR-like functions into their devices in time for next Christmas.

* Broadcom also has a new chip to show off at CES, this one for integrating dual-channel HD video/audio/graphics and DVR capabilities into digital TV sets, cable set-tops, DBS receivers and hi-def DVD players. The BCM7038 also supports delivery of hi-def broadcasting to multiple televisions in the home, according to the company.

* Toshiba is looking for the "ohs" and "ahs" with a prototype of a DVD player with red and blue laser diodes in a single head, allowing it to play hi-def DVDs as well as legacy disks.