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CES 2009: The best universal remote?, $120 HD camcorders, in-car streaming TV [day 2]

Just got out of Audiovox's press conference, and a few notable items:Acoustic Research XSight remotesThese AR remotes have the Logitech Harmony in their sights. The two new universal remotes allow users to program them directly (using a built-in code library) or using a PC.
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Written by Andrew Nusca on

Just got out of Audiovox's press conference, and a few notable items:

Acoustic Research XSight remotes

These AR remotes have the Logitech Harmony in their sights. The two new universal remotes allow users to program them directly (using a built-in code library) or using a PC. Like the Harmony, which costs between $200 and $250, it uses both hard buttons and color screens, and allows for task-based macro programming (Example: "Watch Blu-ray"). Setting this remote apart are multiple user profiles and programmable favorite channels lists. A built-in setup wizard lets you choose the make and model of your components and will cycle through codes until it finds the correct one.

At $250, the ARRX18G model includes a 2.2-inch color touchscreen, control of up to 18 devices, a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, and an included charging cradle, which is angled so the remote can be operated while docked. Best of all, it has built-in RF capability thanks to a $100 RF Extender Kit, so you can operate components outside your line of sight. Awesome.

The $180 ARRX15G model looks the same but controls 15 devices, and its color screen isn't touch sensitive. It uses standard AA batteries (no cradle), and doesn't have RF support. Both remotes are slated for spring of 2009.

RCA Small Wonder EZ209HD "Webslinger" and EZ300HD digital camcorders

RCA's EZ209HD is the company's "slimmest, sleekest, sexiest" Small Wonder. HD quality video plus a high-speed 60fps Sports Mode, and includes one-touch video sharing on YouTube and Box.net. It's got a 2-inch LCD screen, an HDMI connection, a microSD card slot (expansion to 16GB) and an 8 megapixel Still Photo Capture feature. Built-in rechargeable battery that delivers up to two hours of use. MSRP: $119.99.

Another model, the EZ300HD, delivers HD quality video, with HD recording time of up to nine hours (using an optional 16GB SD card). Includes Point-And-Shoot simplicity via a big red record button, still image capture in 5 megapixel resolution and a flip out lens. Has a 2.4 inch display, built-in HDMI connection, a 2GB internal memory for up to 1 hour of video clips in HD mode or 6 hours in YouTube mode, and a built-in rechargeable battery with 2 hours of use. MSRP: $169.99.

Audiovox/Flo TV solution

The last trick the company had under its sleeve was its partnership with Flo to introduce "Live TV integration" in cars and other vehicles. Instead of a satellite dish, the company introduced a less-than-$500, self-contained unit (plus monthly service) so you get television in the car, intended for short trips. They had an overhead docking unit with Playstation 2 integrated as well as "pods" for rear headrest screens.

Executive Quotables: "We're #3 in market share for point and shoot video." "Products need to be easy to use." "Half of all American households have a gaming console." "20 million vehicles have a screen in them." "We think this is the rear seat video solution that's going to win." Also, Audiovox projects the 2009 camcorder market to be a $5.5 billion, 6.4 million unit market.

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