IFA 2006: The highlights

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Hello and welcome from Berlin where the Tech Digest team, that’s Ash, Chris and Susi, will be bringing you all the breaking news from the world of consumer electronics. At the moment the stands are still half built so we haven’t been able to check out what’s new, but here’s a taster of what’s in store just to whet your appetite.

Philips: The press conference begins 2pm Berlin time and you can log in at www.ifa.philips.com to get all the latest product information. For now we know that Philips will be announcing a new Skype VoIP phone which also doubles as a DECT phone (the product was first shown last year). Also there’s a new Windows XP Media Center for the living room with 250GB hard drive and Blu-Ray (again the product was first shown last year).

LG: We went to the press conference this morning but new product information was disappointingtly scarce. What we do know is that they plan to launch new TVs with built in DVRs (Digital Video Recorders) following the success of the 43inch plasma model launched in May. After toying with the idea of a combined Blu-Ray and HD-DVD player (now isn’t that a good idea) it seems they’ve ditched that plan in favour of backing just Blu-Ray. No plans to launch a new a player this year though. Apparently LG has shifted two million handsets of its ‘hero product’, the chocolate phone, but now news on a successor yet. However, we do know they will show off another mobile TV phone which uses the DMB standard.

Samsung: Among the new products will be the company’s Blu-Ray DVD players which are due to go on sale before the end of the year. Also showing off an LCD TV that uses LEDs as a backlighting source.

Grundig: Now part of the Alba Group, Grundig is showing off a pair of wireless stereo speakers which according to the blurb ‘have the potential to be design icons’.Mmm. Let’s wait and see on that one.

Thomson: Unveiling a completely wireless (2.4GHz) system for linking up various devices in the home, including DVD player, set top box and TV screen. Could just be a fancy video sender, but sounds intriguing nevertheless.

Yamaha: The company plans to launch two new Sound Projector models (a single speaker mounted below the TV screen which replaces five or more surround speakers).

Daewoo: An interesting sounding GPS system with built in DMB (Digital Multimedia Broadcasting) system so you can listen to the radio and watch TV – though probably best not to do the latter while driving. Don’t know if it will come to the UK though.

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