The Baltimore Sun

To a tech lover, the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is sort of like a four-day long Christmas morning - but better.

Thousands of exhibitors trot out their biggest and best in new technology toys, promising a year full of product releases, and possible pipe dreams - from 150-inch TVs to driverless cars.

And Maryland's small delegation (17 local organizations and companies were there in all) held its own on the coolness factor, with Hunt Valley-based TESSCO Technologies' diamond-encrusted iPhone case and Towson University's role in making radio accessible to hearing-impaired people.

Here's a look at what some of the others brought to the show, which began Monday and ends today.


Definitive Technology

* Headquarters: Owings Mills

* Web: www.definitivetech.com

* What: High-end loudspeaker maker

* At the show: Unveiling new indoor and outdoor speakers. The Mythos SSA series offers surround sound in a single speaker and retails for $800 and $1,100 depending on size. The Mythos Supertower, about $1,500, does the same thing, but it's also got a built-in subwoofer. The outdoor speakers can withstand all sorts of weather and will sell for between $400 and $500.


* Headquarters: Columbia

* Web: www.fastvdo.com

* What: Makes technologies to process pictures and videos for high-quality transmission over a variety of bandwidths

* At the show: Presenting the consumer version of its SmartCapture USB stick, which takes analog video and converts it into advanced formats that can be viewed on a PC and turned into iPod or iPhone files instantly. It sells for $99.

Hillcrest Labs

* Headquarters: Rockville

* Web: www.hillcrestlabs.com

* What: Sells a technology platform to manufacturers that lets them create motion controls for digital media, such as Logitech's $150 wireless mouse, which can be used to control video online from across the room, like a laser pointer

* At the show: Demonstrating its HoME operating system, which lets consumer electronics makers create interactive digital media

IBiquity Digital Corp.

* Headquarters: Columbia

* Web: www.ibiquity.com

* What: Created the technology for high-definition, or HD, radio, which is broadcast free on more than 1,500 U.S. stations, including two dozen in Maryland

* At the show: Demonstrating a chip that will let hand-held devices receive HD radio. Also unveiling the first group of HD radio receivers - made by Sony and JVC, among others - that incorporate Apple iTunes Tagging technology, which lets listeners tag and download songs on the radio by pushing a button. The receivers will sell for between $150 and $500.

Polk Audio

* Headquarters: Baltimore

* Web: www.polkaudio.com

* What: Makes loudspeakers and other electronics, including subwoofers and amplifiers

* At the show: Displaying the SurroundBar 360 Degree DVD home theater, which is a two-piece surround sound/theater system that has one cable and four steps in its installation instructions; retails for $1,200. Polk is also showing an HD radio iTunes Tagging receiver in conjunction with Columbia's

Viable Inc.

* Headquarters: Rockville

* Web: www.viable.net

* What: Makes a wireless videophone and provides video relay services for the hearing-impaired

* At the show: Revealing a Wi-Fi-enabled, portable videophone, with a 10-inch touch-screen, designed for deaf and hard-of-hearing people


* Headquarters: Gaithersburg

* Web: www.qbit.com

* What: Research-focused company manipulating patterns and algorithms for commercial use in things like compression of high-resolution images

* At the show: Presenting technology that enables high image compression and preserves video quality

Sandbox Summit

* Headquarters: Timonium

* Web: www.sandboxsummit.org

* What: A project of Parents Choice Foundation, which reviews children's media and toys

* At the show: Presenting the first Sandbox Summit, a series of conferences and exhibits that look at the way technology is changing childhood

The Woofer Tester/Smith and Larson Audio

* Headquarters: Jessup

* Web: www.woofertester.com

* What: Makes audio analysis systems

* At the show: Exhibiting a line of audio test equipment

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