The unofficial start to CES is an event called CES Unveiled. It happens one day prior to the big press announcement day, and two days prior to the actual show floor opening. It’s essentially a mini version of the CES show floor with exhibitors from all across the consumer technology space. We hit the floor running trying to find the most interesting home media products to cover. The pickings were slim, but we did stumble across two new companies trying to burst onto the scene.
Link from Fasetto
One of the first products to catch our eye was called Link from Fasetto. At first it looked like a tiny portable hard drive that had the ability to stream your media to your devices over its own Wi-Fi hotspot. The company’s ambitions for Link are much greater than that though. The tiny box (2″ x 2″ x 1″) has swappable bases. You can add extra battery packs or even add a module with an LTE card. This allows the Link to become an LTE hotspot in addition to making your media available to your portable devices. When we asked what platforms they would support for media playback, they responded with “all of them.”
The general idea is that the Link gives you a personal cloud that is completely mobile. Take it with you anywhere, because it’s also rugged, and always have access to all of your media. The feature that Fasetto was most excited to talk about was the storage. They’ve partnered with Samsung to provide one of the fastest solid state storage drives on the market. They even quote the specs of the drive on their website. Unfortunately, that crazy fast SSD is the biggest problem with the Link. That drive, along with the octa-core processor, result in a device that costs way more than you would expect to pay.
The Link starts out with only 256 GB of SSD storage, and it is priced at $349! The 500 GB model will set you back $500, and the 2 TB model goes for a blistering $1,149! At those prices, we unfortunately think this product is dead on arrival. It seems like they got overly excited about a partnership with a tech giant, and the ability to use some of the fastest storage available, and forgot to focus on making a product that consumers can afford.
The other interesting home media company we spoke with was Monument. What they make is essentially a small network-attached storage device built specifically for storing the photos and videos you take with your smartphone. Then they use artificial intelligence to analyze and tag those photos. They have smartphone apps that will automatically back up your photos as soon as your phone connects to your home Wi-Fi. Being able to see all of your photos automatically categorized by person, place, and activity is very nice. It also seems very simple to set up and use. The price isn’t too bad either. For $150 you get a box that will hold two USB hard drives, has built-in WiFi and gigabit Ethernet, and supports five users. For $129 it drops the Ethernet port and only supports one user.
The Monument is a product with a great idea. The problem is that it’s an idea that’s already been done by so many other companies. Microsoft and Google already provide this type of artificial intelligence, and storage, in their cloud storage offerings. If you don’t like using the public cloud, Plex also offers essentially the same features. However, if you’re looking for a dedicated appliance that makes photo management drop-dead simple, it’s hard to go wrong with the Momentum.
CES Unveiled is usually a great indicator of what to expect from the larger show. If that trend continues this year, you should expect to see a glut of home automation and connected/smart devices. Fortunately, we still think there will be plenty of home media consumption technology to cover this year. We should be able to find more home media products that we can be excited about all across the show floor. As always, keep an eye on the DMZ to follow all of our CES 2017 coverage.