The first time we heard about the Canon Connect Station, it was in its early prototype phase back in 2010. Then, they mentioned it again at their press conference in Photokina just last year. But here at CES 2015, Canon has made their photo and video management box an official product.
The box itself looks a lot like a Roku or an Apple TV set top box, which makes sense since it’s designed to plug into your TV via HDMI. Inside, there’s a 1 TB hard drive that’s intended to hold photos and videos all in one central location. It also has NFC, which they have also added to their newest compact cameras, so you’ll be able to simple tap your camera against the box (and push a button) and the camera will transfer files to the box using a Wifi connection. The process actually looks fairly streamlined.
Ultimately, the box seems to have two distinct purposes. The first is to organize and centralize all of your files. Obviously, the 1 TB HDD isn’t enough to hold the files from a pro, but that’s not the focus of this type of product. It’s meant for centralizing personal and family photos. You can even add photos to it over the Wifi connection using a web browser or an app so multiple people in a household can dump their photos into one bigger database. The interface is meant to be extremely simple and straight forward to make the experience more transparent.
The other purpose of the Connect Station is to put your photos and videos on the TV screen. Like we said above, it has an HDMI connection and a simple remote for navigating content. It connects wirelessly to Canon printers so you can print photos that are on the screen and it’s equipped with both an SD and CF card slot, so you can import and view images immediately without going to a computer first.
It supports all the files you’d expect it to support, which means any file that comes out of a Canon camera. That includes raw files, but they need to be CR2s, so raw files from other makers are likely (and understandably) out of luck.
The CS100 will be available starting in April 2015 and will cost $299, which initially seems a bit steep. It has a lot of technology baked in and it seems like a very sleek system, but there’s a ton of competition out there from boxes like Apple TV, which can Air Play photos from Apple devices and even network connected storage drives like the Western Digital MyCloud.
We’re looking forward to getting some more time with the box and checking out the full product when it becomes available.