The SLIN-expo at the La Defense CNIT costs 10 Euros to get in, but you can get your money's worth if you opt for some of the good deals on offer by the exhibitors. For instance, Kyocera's digital cameras are on promotion and SixApart, creators of Typepad, are offering 3 months free trial to new bloggers. There's also a large games area with lots of consoles where you can try the latest from X-box, Playstation and Sega.
I enjoyed Intel's display of a wireless home entertainment center. The Microsoft Media Center software is an upgrade of Microsoft XP and runs on a computer which you connect to your TV. In fact, it's more than a computer since it also acts as a TV receiver and recorder, an amplifier and a regular computer. That is, you can run all your software on your TV screen and playback video, music, and photos using a remote control.
There are currently two French companies providing these new "appliances": Unika, for about 1,300 Euros and the more upper scale and "designed" Omwave, for about three times the price. The Omwave computer offers the same functionalities, in a more designed casing and with less audible noise. The Unika units began retailing at Carrefour two days ago ... At its current pricepoint, it should sell like hotcakes this holiday season.
The only difficulty, of course, is that these media center computers are new concepts and require more explanation to the public before purchase.