Holiday Gadget Review by Some Gadget Gurus We Know
No better way to know what’s super-cool, gadgetry-wise, than to check in with the people who make it a point to know and live such things. Which is what we did. With no further ado, here’s what cable’s top gadget junkies either crave, or love.
Starting with flying things and personal drones. For Mike Hayashi, EVP of Architecture, Development and Engineering for Time Warner Cable, and Comcast CTO Tony Werner, it’s a ($1,100) flying camera — the DJI Phantom 2 Vision. “Watch out for my drone,” Werner cautioned. (He was kidding. Pretty sure.)
With the camera-copter, you too can be a drone — long before Amazon lifts off: http://bit.ly/19jlSsg
“It is going to change the world,” Hayashi added of the gizmo. And we believed him, after viewing the clip he sent: http://bit.ly/1dpLhDi
Hayashi, an audio engineer at his core, also admires the Klipsch La Scala II Three-Way Horn-Loaded Loudspeaker (http://amzn.to/18UOCYl) with 15-inch woofer and 2-inch composite cone. (Of course he does. )
Super hot in 2013-14 gadgetry: Action-cams that clip onto a helmet, surfboard, dog, you name it. GoPro (www.gopro.com) owns the category. (Werner’s list includes the “mutt mount,” for a dog’s eye view.)
Fancy watches are back. Sherita Caesar, VP/National Engineering and Tech Ops for Comcast, likes the Samsung S9100 phone watch (http://bit.ly/JHa6BG). “It’s big and has lots of flashing lights,” she laughed.
Also big: Bicycle accouterment. Jay Rolls, CTO of Charter, is eyeing a road bike with electronic shifting (http://bit.ly/1fIoQf1) — “it’s finally gone mainstream — but commands a $1,000 premium,” he sighed, which makes us think he’ll be shifting gears the old-fashioned way, for now.
For Jud Cary, VP and Deputy General Counsel at CableLabs, it’s a string of LED lights made specifically to spruce up a bicycle’s spokes: http://bit.ly/18BbGk0
And, of course, there’s television sets. Craig Cuttner, SVP/Advanced Technology for HBO, and someone who closely monitors developments on the 4K / UltraHD scene, finally upgraded his “1980s HDTV” with a Samsung F8500 series plasma. “I love the look of the dark blacks of plasma — and, take that, 4K, it’s 1080P. As the future will foretell, it’s all about brightness!”
Likewise for Sabrina Calhoun, VP/Engineering for Brighthouse, who braved a big-box store last week to fall in love with Samsung’s curved OLED. “WOW! It looks like a work of art,” she noted. Price tag: $9,000. (She’ll stick with her non-organic TV for now.)
Lifelong gadget guru Bill Sheppard, with Nuance Communications, recommends the Aviator Laptop Stand, for chronic air travelers. (http://keynamics.com/laptop-stand.html)“It’s a cheap but really useful way to keep a laptop usable even when the jerk in front of you fully reclines.” (I’m in for that one.)
And as a guy on a mission to empower his two daughters to be excited by technology and programming, Sheppard also likes the Lego Mindstorms EV3 (Lego Mindstorms EV3), which he described as “a third generation robotics program with an amazing array of programmability, sensors, I/O, integration, etc. — the ultimate geek toy and educational to boot!”
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention what’s on the mind of our own Jeff Baumgartner — The Bauminator. As the guy who first described to me how he was flipping his family out by changing channels on the home TV, while he was on the road, he’s now ready for an upgrade to his Slingbox scene. “I’m looking at the Slingbox 500, to complement the Slingbox Pro-HD that I installed at my parent’s house — so I can watch the Broncos games that aren’t covered in Philly.” I’m no football expert, but it would appear this is a good year to do that.
That’s the roundup for this year. From all of us to you — may all of your 2014 gadgets be friendly and bright! Merry merry.
This column originally appeared in the Platforms section of Multichannel News.