ntl:Telewest trial broadband traffic shaping in Swansea
It's experimenting with a system that will limit its 10Mbps service customers to a maximum of 5Mbps between 4pm and midnight if their usage exceeds what the company believes is 'fair use'.
Cebit 2006: ECS unveils personal media player range
ECS has unveiled four "entertainment anywhere" personal media players at this year's Cebit. All four models work with the most popular audio and video file formats, offer FM as well as voice recording/dictation functions and come with a fully-featured remote control.
The EM-3520V compact personal media player (pictured) weighs in at 260 grams and features a 3.5-inch LCD TFT display, a 20GB hard drive, a USB 2.0 port for fast connectivity and full D1 DVD-quality TV output. It can play four hours of music or displays three hours of video on a single charge and comes with an onboard transformer that wirelessly transmits FM signals to your car radio or home stereo.
The EM-3510 personal media player and DVB-T receiver combination is lighter at just 110 grams, but also features a 3.5-inch LCD TFT display and built-in 20GB hard drive, along with a digital video broadcasting TV receiver for enjoying your favourite shows on the go.
Cebit 2006: Plantronics' .Audio headsets
Plantronics has unveiled its new range of .Audio headsets at Cebit. The company claims that the .Audio 340, .Audio 510 USB and Audio 550 DSP combine excellent sound quality with stylish, contemporary design.
The .Audio 340 (pictured) features a pressure-free headband with a feather-light fit, along with swivel-mounted ear cushions for comfort during long periods of wear. Ideal for chat and VoIP communications, the .Audio 340 features a noise-cancelling microphone for improved speech recognition and is compatible with all major services. Available for around £25.
The Plantronics .Audio 510 USB and .Audio 550 DSP are lightweight in design and featuring 40mm speakers that offer up a dynamic base response. The noise-cancelling microphone cuts out background noise and enhances speech recognition accuracy. In addition, the .Audio 550 DSP features a digital signal processing chip for actively eliminating background noise, and PerSono Audio Control Centre Software, which provides full control over microphone and audio setting, with presets for everything from hip hop to classical. The .Audio 510 USB and .Audio 550 DSP will retail for £40 and £70 respectively.
Cebit 2006: V-Gear TalkCam Beauty
I don't use webcams - I'm very much of the opinion that I don't look my best most of the time I sit in front of the PC, so why inflict that on the rest of the world? However, all that could change if the V-Gear TalkCam Beauty likes up to its wild promises.
It's something of a miracle worker, claiming to improve your flat skin tone with the aid of the "One Button BeautyMode", which will allegedly make you look "as stunning beautiful as a movie star" in seconds. There's four different skin modes for you to employ - white, super-white, normal and finally bronze, for that David Dickinson look the ladies love.
Bundled with V-Gear LiveShow (which adds captions to your webcam image) and V-Gear BEE software to convert your camera to a security device, it's available in the second half of this year for $39. A small price to pay for a total makeover, I'm sure you'll agree.
Cebit 2006: Logitech goes mouse crazy
Logitech celebrated 25 years in existence by launching a vast number of new products at Cebit - including a laser tracking mouse for everyone - gamers, left-handers, notebook and PC users, working on virtually any surface and with much greater precision than traditional optical units.
There's a special edition of the award-winning Logitech G7 Laser Cordless Mouse, featuring a compact, black LAN case - making it easy for gamers to take their mouse to competitions without getting a bashing. The G7 uses 2.4 GHz digital cordless technology and features a 2000 dpi laser engine. No price as yet.
For left-handers (like myself), the Logitech MX610 Left-Hand Laser Cordless Mouse (pictured) has a sculpted design for a better fit to the hand. It features Logitech's precision laser tracking system, advanced cordless technology, extensive navigation controls, and, rather strangely, email and instant message notification lights. Should be available in April for around £60.
CeBIT 2006: Jabra reveals new products for music lovers
Presumably after years of trying to convince us Brits that it's ok to wander around
talking to yourself using a Bluetooth headset, Jabra has decided to change tack slightly and reveal some products for music lovers. This seems pretty sensible given the increasing number of MP3 players and music phones out there, many of which come with sub-standard packaged headphones.
Amongst its new line-up are the new BT325s: a pair of ordinary earphones but with an integrated Bluetooth headset. This means that you plug the 3.5mm jack straight into your player to listen to your tunes but, when your phone rings, your music will cut out so you can take the call. The BT325s will run for about 8 hours between charges and have helpfully been weather-proofed against the elements.
LG's 100-inch LCD leviathan
Not only has LG.Philips snatched Samsung's previous 'largest LCD TV' record away, it has made a mockery of it by somehow forging a device nearly 1.5 times its size. Despite its vast proportions (2.2 x 1.2 metres), the 100 inch device is still able to boast a 5 millisecond response time, 3,000:1 contrast ratio and 180 degree viewing angle.
Obviously nothing like this is actually going to be commercially available and you'd probably need a crane to move it around. But hitting the 100 inch mark is important, not because it is so much larger than the previous 82 inch record, but because it is so much closer to the current plasma TV record held by Panasonic for 103 inches.
CeBIT 2006: The world's largest backlit LCD TV
CeBIT just wouldn't be a technology expo without some kind of record breaking mammoth telly. Luckily Samsung has been kind enough wheel out another 'world's largest' for the show. Showing off an 82 inch TV with LED backlighting, Samsung has claimed itself another record and its backlighting technology helps boost the colour reproduction in the giant device by as much as 33%.
Improved contrast enhancement technology also means that it is now capable of a 7000:1 contrast ratio and our eco-friendly readers might be pleased to hear that it is built from environment friendly mercury-free materials.
For those of you keeping score, Samsung held the previous record for the largest ordinary LCD at 82 inches. That, however, was smashed just yesterday by a 100 inch behemoth made by LG.
CeBIT 2006: Date set for first Blu-ray player
Samsung has set a launch date for its debut Blu-ray player, the BD-P1000, which is now due to hit store shelves in the US just before the end of May this year. The BD player offers the highly desirable full HD, 1080p resolution via its HDMI output and will also be able to upscale standard definition media too.
Unfortunately we Europeans can only expect to see this Blu-ray player arriving in the Autumn according to Samsung's President for Digital Media Business, Geesung Choi. Prices for the BD-P1000 look set to be in the region of 1,000 Euros (roughly £690).
CeBIT 2006: Tons of new Garmin goodies
Garmin have pulled out all the stops this year and have revealed a whole host of new GPS devices and enhanced features for existing ones. The Garmin nüvi 310 and 360 are essentially upgrades to their nüvi 300 and 250 predecessors. Each now incorporates Bluetooth technology to let them double up as handsfree mobile phone kits which even let you dial numbers, browse your contacts list and check the phone log using the device's touchscreen interface. Oh and that's on top of its MP3 player (with audiobook support), JPEG viewer, calculator, world clock and optional Language and Travel Guides.
Also adding Bluetooth connectivity is the StreetPilot c500 series, which is more dedicated to in-car use than the portable nüvi models and is based on the earlier c300 series. As well as the enhanced features that Bluetooth offers, with the new c550 model you get real-time traffic updates, an improved high-sensitivity GPS receiver and a brighter display.