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My 2016 CES Roundup

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My 2016 CES Roundup

John Federico

Once again, I avoided CES this year. In principle, I love CES, but it’s expensive and difficult to get around Vegas during the event. Since I’m not officially covering it, I simply gather the cool stuff from my favorite blogs.

Here’s what I found interesting this year.

Movi_4K_Video_Camera_Store.png

Movi from Livestream.com

Have you ever tried to a do a multi-camera shoot?

It’s expensive and a PITA.

If you want to stream it live with a switcher, you need HD cameras that can stream video out to a Mac running something like Telestream WireCast or a dedicated device like the Newtek TriCaster.

If you’re not live streaming, you can use multiple cameras, sync the video and audio in post production and use a multi-camera tool in software like Final Cut Pro to cut between shots. It takes quite a bit of horsepower to compile, edit and render in this way - if you have more than 3 cameras, don’t try this without a Core i7 iMac and a ton of RAM.

The Movi from Livestream.com changes (most) of that.

Using the Movi and an iOS app, you can stream and archive a multi-camera shoot with a single camera.

How it works

The Movi isn’t just any camera.

Using a 4K image sensor and digital zoom, the Movi simulates a multi-camera shoot by allowing you to select a portion of the overall viewfinder as the final shot that is streamed and archived.

It’s not true mult-camera HD video capture, and output is only 720p, but it looks pretty damn good.

At a starting price of $399, the cost of entry (and convenience) isn’t horrible.

However, if you really want the best performance, the Movi Pro comes with a stand, an easy method for external power, and an ethernet port at a price of $649.

Image courtesy of The Verge

Image courtesy of The Verge

FitBit Blaze

For those of you watching at home, I’ve played with most of the popular branded smartwatches including Pebble and MetaWatch.

Ditto for fitness trackers, having owned a Nike Fuel Band, a Jawbone UP 24 and (currently) a FitBit Surge.

None of them can compare to the capabilities of the Apple Watch, except in two areas: battery life (one-day) and sleep tracking. (Because you can’t track your sleep if you’re charging the damn thing.)

On the previously mentioned smartwatches, I found that they were just another way to get notifications. Even worse, you didn’t have granular control of which notifications you received, so my wrist was constantly buzzing.

The fitness trackers were fine, but the Fuel band and Jawbone UP didn’t track my heart rate and sleep tracking had to be done manually.

The Surge seems to be the best combination of the two categories: in addition to all the typical fitness tracker data points, it also captures my heart rate throughout the day, automatically tracks my sleep and sends me notifications only for text messages and incoming phone calls.

What it lacks are aesthetics and build quality: it’s a pretty ugly piece of plastic and the rubber coating on the band doesn’t stand up to everyday use. (It’s peeling.)

So, with the Apple Watch not being ready for my quasi bio-hacking lifestyle, the FitBit Blaze looks like a nice upgrade.

And by upgrade, I mean that it looks nice while tracking everything I want and nothing I don’t. (The Surge has built-in GPS, which I don’t need and eats the battery.)

The Blaze has a color display (unlike the Surge’s monochrome display) and can be swapped between bands - it comes with a silicone band, but FitBit will release stainless a steel link band and a leather band that will be sold in March for $129.95 and $99.95, respectively.

Now, the big question is: do I get a Blaze or do I wait to see what Apple does with their second generation Watch?

Image courtesy of Android Headlines

Image courtesy of Android Headlines

Carl Zeiss Smart Glasses

If you were techno-curious about Google Glass but didn’t want to spend $1,500 to be a Google beta tester (and look like a GlassHole), the Carl Zeiss Smart Glasses might be for you.

This is everything that Google Glass should have been: a regular pair of glasses with the tech built-in.

Granted, this is just a reference design: Zeiss is looking for “the right partner” to take these to market, but even in their prototypical phase, I’d wear them before I put Google Glass on my face.

We’ll see which company jumps at the chance. It needs to be a company that has both technical and design chops along with a proven retail or direct-to-consumer distribution channel, so, I think, the list will be small.