From MPEG-based digital music recording devices to conceptual models of DVD-RAM camcorders, this year’s Consumer Electronics Show brought digital audio and video devices closer to home.

Over 100,000 attendees converged on the roughly 1,800 exhibitors this January, and the buzz on the show floor can be summed up in two words: Digital Home.

For example, Diamond Multimedia’s Rio, a small $199 digital music device, records MP3 (MPEG-1, Audio layer 3) files downloaded onto a computer from the Internet, storing them in a Flash RAM buffer. This trend could have an effect on the home digital video editor; imagine downloading royalty-free audio files from the Internet for use in your videos.
Most notable in the new camcorder offerings this year were Sony’s new Digital8 cameras (covered in this issue’s Zoom In Zoom Out column). Also of interest was the falling prices of typical Hi8, 8mm and VHS-C camcorders.

JVC’s new lineup of camcorders included the GR-DVL9500, a high-end Mini DV offering with a progressive scan shooting mode and a High-Speed Recording mode that shoots 120 frames per second for high-quality slow-motion playback. Also of interest were JVC’s GR-AXM710 and GR-AXM910 Dual Camcorders, which combine functions of a VHS-C camcorder and a digital still camera.

Sharp displayed an expanded line of Mini DV camcorders, including the VL-PD3U, a model the company claimed was the lightest, slimmest Digital Viewcam yet.

Philips made an announcement at the show concerning recordable DVD-Video technology, citing plans to release the first DVD-Video recorders in the year 2000.

Pinnacle Systems’ Studio 400 computer-based editing system received an Innovations ’99 Design and Engineering award this year. Best of show went to ReplayTV, a set-top device that allows television viewers to record incoming programs on a hard disk for later viewing.

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