Consumer Electronics Show — My Day 2
While not a thorough booth-by-booth analysis of the CES show in two days, I nonetheless saw about 80% of what there was to see and got a pretty good feel for the major themes (home theatre was the big story), saw some cool gadgets and learned some things.
LCD, plasma and projection TV’s were everywhere. In fact, Samsung showed “The World’s Largest Plasma TV” in their booth at 102″. Like I talked about in my post below from yesterday’s visit to CES, there seems to be quite a bit of discussion and design around finding ways to hang these TV’s or place them in, on or around furniture. Seems to me a 102″ TV would be a bit dominant in the old family room!
My bride (Michelle Lamb) forecasts trends for the home furnishings industry. While discussing my attending this trade show, she was curious about what the “color story” might be at CES. If you like your consumer electronics in black and silver — you’re all set. There was only one major manufacturer of any kind — Marantz — that was showing a slight variation and it was a champagne color. Though there was color in CD, DVD players as well as a few other offerings (mainly from non-brand Korean vendors), the largest vendors did not show product that was other than black and silver.
There were also stunningly bizarre (or interesting) items from mainstream vendors. Philips showed a wall hung mirror where the lower third was a TV — and when the TV was off the entire piece was a mirror. This picture doesn’t really do it justice, but the video quality was stunning, the mirror nice and shiny, and yet I must admit being completely baffled by it.
As a side note, Philips had a remarkably modest presence at this show…even though this company is one of the largest electronics manufacturer’s in the world and has been instrumental in kick-starting new technologies (like the CD & DVD). Having gone to CES shows back in the late Seventies and Eighties, Philips was always a dominant presence. In a seemingly surprise twist, the Koreans (Samsung, LG, etc.) have vaulted past them and are now in leadership positions in several categories.
Besides home theatre, the networked home was everywhere. Wireless TV, internet, videocams, and more were in most major vendor’s booths. Microsoft and HP were touting their respective media centers, but Microsoft went all out with both booth space and their vision of the ‘connected home’. Their vision, of course, was around the media center…but essentially around anything and everything Microsoft wants to position as ‘cool’. To me, it all seemed pretty forced and very boring.
The last thing that I’ll talk about today in this post is the fun and interesting offerings by Crosley Radio and POLYCONCEPT USA, Inc. These two companies are delivering surprisingly authentic, wonderfully aesthetic recreations of vintage record players, tape recorders, TV’s, juke boxes, telephones, and much more. Kinda brought back memories.
Oh yeah…one more thing. iBiquity Digital had a booth touting their terrestrial HD Radio alternative to XM and SIRIUS satellite radio offerings. After learning more about HD Radio’s footprint in the U.S. (they claim something like 85% of the U.S. population is covered), I was quite intrigued. To read more, there’s a great Crutchfield Advisor article on HD Radio that will explain more.
Will HD Radio kill XM and Sirius? The jury is still out. HD Radio will necessitate people buying new radios. But so does XM and Sirius (or at least add-ons to current in-car systems). XM and Sirius have significantly greater amounts of programming — with no commercials — though you pay a fee. HD Radio is just like today’s radio — commercials pay for the air time though listening is free. We’ll see who wins.
All in all a pretty interesting show and fun to attend.
About Steve Borsch
Connecting the Dots Podcast
Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.