We've missed Optoma's engaging big-screen demos the past few shows, but we had to miss them again this year. The featured attractions here were several project 3D demos using video projectors. Unfortunately, they were disappointing compared to the 3D demos elsewhere at the show, with decent 3D effects but noticeably compromised resolution.
The future of mainstream multi-room entertainment is wireless, whether it be Wi-Fi, Powerline, RF, or some other magical, yet-to-be-discovered communication protocol. Easy end-user installation is important, too. (Thus the popularity and success of multi-room audio systems such as Sonos.) Klipsch is getting into the act with a new product called the LightSpeaker. Although it was impossible to hear a demo during last night’s CES Unveiled event, the LightSpeaker’s particulars make it something we’ll be searching for on the CES floor. The LightSpeaker combines an LED light with a powered speaker and fits most 5-inch and 6-inch recessed lighting fixtures using a standard Edison socket. Klipsch says there are only about 620 million recessed can light fixtures in the U.S. alone. (Now that’s a market worth paying attention to.)
Noel Lee is always good for a quotable line or two. For instance: "We loooove 3D!" And, if your 3D experience isn't all you wished for, "don't blame the TV. Blame that cheap-ass HDMI cable you bought." Monster's four classifications of HDMI cable speed have now gone to six, topped by the 17Gbps Hyper Speed cable. HDMI wasn't the only thing on Lee's cable agenda, of course. He also discussed USB 3.0 cables for next-gen drives, players, cameras, etc.
Will the phrase "phoning it in" lose its negative connotation with the mainstreaming of videophones? It sure seemed like it as Panasonic president Fumio Otsubo chatted with other Panasonic folks at today's press event at the Venetian. The chat set the stage for a major announcement: All Viera Cast TVs will henceforth coming with Skype capability (LG made a similar announcement earlier in the day). One-third of Skype calls are video calls and moving them from the PC to the TV must qualify as a historic moment.
Despite what you’ll hear from the other journalistic types, the only real reason why anyone who pontificates about electronics makes the annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show is the free food and booze. And the free hats and t-shirts…and the pampering of the press…and the potential for (maybe) a free set of earphones or iPod case… Then, of course, there are all the attractive female booth greeters and canned-demonstration presenters who make you feel like you’re the first person they’ve talked to all week and that you’re someone very special…if you’d only sit through this incredibly fascinating presentation. I guess there are also some cool gadgets and gear to see here, too, but it really comes down to the free food. (Did I mention free booze, too?) Tonight, it’s the “Annual Pre-CES Sushi Feast 2010” sponsored by DTS. Can life get any better?
CES is over and by this time the huge exhibits have been dismantled and put in storage until next year. This year marks my 20th CES, and that doesn't include the summer CE Show that used to be held every June in Chicago, Ill.
CES not only introduces all the new products we can expect to see on store shelves for that year, new trends in technologies and how we will use electronic products in our everyday lives come into full view, as well. CES is not just a showcase of the latest and greatest consumer products, it is a vision into the future.
To borrow a line from UAV reviewer David Vaughn, CES 2009 is now receding in the rear-view mirror. It was a grueling week during which we all put many miles on our shoesand cars, since Gary Altunian, Kim Wilson, and I all drove to the show and around Las Vegas, avoiding what we thought would be long cab lines. (We would have all driven together to be more eco-friendly, except that each of us was heading in a different direction after the show.)
I saw a couple of LED-illuminated DLP front projectors at CEDIA last year, so it wasn't all that surprising to see another one at CES. Vivitek introduced the H6080FD, a 1080p projector with a single DMD chip and RGB LEDs that are supposed to last 20,000 hours. This 1080p model claims 800 lumens of light output and a 50,000:1 native contrast ratio. Availability is said to be the May/June time frame, and the price will be around $20,000.
I was surprised to see Haier in a huge booth in the middle of the convention center's Central Hall. This Chinese company has been at CES in years past, but until now, they've had a smaller booth somewhere in the back. Based in Qindao (or Tsing Tao, where the beer of that name is brewed), Haier is one of China's largest appliance manufacturers, and it's been selling LCD TVs in the US market since 2006. Where are they sold, you ask? Mainly independent appliance and TV stores such as BrandSmart; they are also big on the QVC shopping network.
The beloved game show Jeopardy! celebrated its 25th anniversary by taping a week's worth of shows at CES. Interestingly, Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune were the first game shows to be produced and broadcast in high-def in 2006.