CES 2013

The Short List of Interesting Gear from CES 2013

It takes a fair amount of elbow grease to weed through the deluge of new¬†products at CES 2013, in order to find the few things that are¬†actually useful. Here’s¬†my brief list of standout hardware from the bizarre circus in Las Vegas.

1) The Panasonic HX-A100

As I’ve posted in the past, I’m a big fan of action cameras.¬†Even though I don’t plan on jumping off of a cliff in a wingsuit, I would still love to mess around with a good action cam to see what I could come up with.

Another piece of gear that I’ve always wanted is a little video camera that I could hide on the strap of my backpack, so I could shoot candid point-of-view street sequences. I guess regularly walking though Manhattan’s crowded sidewalks makes you long for these kinds of things. The unusual modular design of the new Panasonic HX-A100 that was just announced at CES 2013 fills both of these “needs” of mine.

Panasonic HX A100 Action CamThe HX-A100 has built-in Wi-Fi for smartphone control and live streaming, a decently fast f/2.5 lens, image stabilization, shoots 1920 x 1080 at 60 fps, and higher frame rates at lower resolutions. It’s waterproof, and I believe it comes with a few different mounts, one of which securely hooks to the back of your ear. It’s nice to see a company do something that’s both unique and useful.¬†I also like that this camera has a lower profile than the GoPro and other action cams.

2) The Livestream Broadcaster 4G
If you’re not familiar with the Livestream Broadcaster, it’s a little red box that you mount on top of a video camera, plug in an HDMI feed from the camera, and stream live HD video and audio to the Internet. It runs on AA batteries, so you can truly be mobile. The original model (which is linked above) just recently made it to market, however, it was missing one key ingredient: it lacked a radio. In order to achieve the critical data link, a USB mobile modem like the Verizon Pantech ULM290 or the AT&T USB Connect Momentum¬†is required.
Livestream Broadcaster 4GAt CES 2013, Livestream announced a new version of the Broadcaster that has a Verizon 4G radio built-in. Of course, like the USB mobile modems, the radio in the new Broadcaster requires a mobile data plan. But still, it was nice to see an innovative piece of gear get fully realized.
3) The Blue Nessie
Blue Microphones has always made strangely beautiful creations, and the new Nessie is no different. This is a tabletop-style USB microphone, perfect for creating voice-overs, podcasts and for music recording. It has a mute button built-in (which will allow you to clear your throat without losing your audience), and a headphone output.
Blue Nessie
USB microphones¬†tend to appeal to users who don’t have a great deal of audio equipment, or deep audio knowledge. You can plug them into a common USB port, and record excellent audio with relative ease. The Nessie takes this concept a step further, by supplying the user with software that automatically optimizes the EQ and audio level for any given sound source. It will even “de-ess” your audio, removing harsh¬†sibilant¬†sounds without messing with the overall tone.
Obviously, there was a several boatloads more worth of new products announced at CES 2013, but these were the only bits that floated this boat.

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Writer, musician, photo taker and video maker. When not writing somewhat longish articles for this blog, I write incredibly short things on Twitter: @SamMallery

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