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Nighty-nighty goes high-tech with VTech's baby monitors

At CES 2013, VTech showed off its Safe&Sound audio and video baby monitors, with plenty of features to appeal to tech-savy parents.

I confess to having had a very strained relationship with baby monitors when my daughter was just an infant. They would crackle at her every stirring, and I would tense up, preparing for the crying fit that was sure to come.

My daughter cried a lot, too.

But I think I would have felt differently had I chance to use the Safe&Sound Baby Monitors from VTech back in the day. While not exactly new--the latest versions of the audio and video monitors made their debut last year--this was the first chance to see both monitors in action at CES, and I spotted a number of features that would have put my nervous first-time parent's mind at ease.

The $40 digital audio monitor uses DECT 6.0 audio technology, which reduces the incidences of interference you got with the old 900MHz models. (A $60 version of the audio monitor comes with two parent speakers along with the unit that goes in the nursery.) These new Safe&Sound monitors also boast a range of 1000 feet and a nightlight on the unit that goes in your baby's room.

The feature that truly caught my eye, though, was the talkback capability on the monitor, which lets you soothe your baby from afar. Opening the door to my daughter's room would wake her up instantly, and the new parent me would have welcomed a way to try and soothe her back to dreamland from across the house.

More visually inclined parents might prefer the $150 video monitor, which sports a 2.8-inch high-resolution full-color LCD display. There's an infrared option to assist with night-time monitoring, along with the same 1000-foot range and talkback capabilities as the audio monitor. The video version also has a temperature sensor, so you and your spouse need never fret about whether the baby's room might be too cold overnight. Additional cameras cost $50 each--you can set up as many as four to keep track of multiple rooms.

For more blogs, stories, photos, and video from the nation's largest consumer electronics show, check out complete coverage of CES 2013 from PCWorld and TechHive.

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