3D television may have been the big story from CES, but there is plenty more tech goodness from the show for Australians to look forward to in 2010.
This year’s Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has been one of the best, with a record 330 new exhibitors coming on board to boost the number of companies to 2500. Combined, more than 20,000 new products were launched, once the final numbers are audited, attendance is expected more 120,000, up by 10 percent from 113,085 in 2009.
For a lot of the attending journalists and analysts, it was the big 3D television launches that everyone had come to see, but there were plenty of other products from the major players. Here’s what some of the world’s biggest electronics brands are likely to deliver to a store near you over the next 12 months.
LG Electronics claimed that, while 3D was important, it would hold back with a major 3D television release for the time being. Instead, it released two major products – a Super Slim LED that is 6.9mm thin, and what it claims to be the world’s first 3D projector. LG also showed a Skype-compatible television that will require you to buy a new television and a webcam accessory, with four-directional microphone as an attachment.
LG’s “world-first” projector.
Toshiba’s big moment came with the unveiling of the Cell TV. This comes with a nice big black box containing the Cell processor that was co-developed with Sony and which now helps run the most expensive Blu-ray player on the market – the Playstation 3. The Cell TV claims to upscale all 2D content to 3D (but who wants to watch Mel and Kochie in 3D at 7.00am?).
Toshiba’s emphasis on this one product represented to many a company with mistaken identity – a computer company trapped in the television business.
While Sharp unveiled a 3D prototype on its stand, the company focussed instead on the introduction of a fourth-pixel to the traditional red, green, blue RGB spectrum. The new yellow-pixel is designed to assist with the reproduction of ‘sunflower-yellows’ and brass tones.
Sharp creates some of the best panels in the market, but has a reputation as a poor marketer. It appears that among the overwhelming amount of reporting that has been published from the show, Sharp’s Quad Pixel Technology didn’t make the same impact that others did – again.
Sharp’s 68 inch LCD features the company’s new Quad Pixel technology, which introduces a yellow pixel into the traditional RGM colour spectrum.
For Panasonic, CES was a great opportunity to boast about its multi-million dollar investment in Avatar. The most successful movie of all time, the film should help shift more than a few televisions this year when the 3D Blu-ray version is released.
Avatar movie producers were rolled out and Panasonic reinforced its movie industry mojo with a 3D camera. It costs a cool $20,000 and looks more like Wall-E or ET than a serious piece of consumer electronics equipment.
With a 3D high definition camera and new 3D televisions, Panasonic provides the means to create and watch 3D movies.
Even though it is hitched to pushing the plasma format, Panasonic continues to hedge its bets in the flat panel arena, with the company selling only LCD at 40 inches and below and plasma only at 42 inches and above.
Panasonic joined in the Skype revolution and to back it up also showed off a video conferencing solution. The company’s president, Fumio Ohtsubo, was so confident in the conferencing software and hardware that he decided to present to the CES crowd from the comfort of his Osaka offices in Japan.
New Lumix cameras were unveiled and new North American content agreements were announced, but the key message from Panasonic was that it was the only company capable of an end-to-end 3D solution from image capture to duplication, distribution and reproduction.
A 3D television, with 3D Blu-ray player and glasses.
Samsung emphasised the importance of the brand as a leader in television, with the release of its 9000, 8000 and 7000 Series televisions, including the top of the range C9000 which will be 3D compatible.
More content agreements were announced, with Dreamworks and Technicolor coming on board delivering Monsters and Aliens to Samsung’s upcoming 3D Blu-ray TV and player bundle.
Sony presented the industry with an onslaught of new product previews that even made CEO Sir, Howard Stringer, beg “You might even think we’re cool again”.
Sony reminded everyone that it was an entertainment company, with a performance from Taylor Swift (in 3D of course) plus a swathe of content agreements with companies such as ESPN, Discovery Channel and Imax.
The gadgets weren’t far behind: Dash – a wireless internet tablet to put in every room of the house to deliver music, video and subscription information from content partners such as the Wall Street Journal and New York Times.
Bloggie is a high definition camera for Generation Y with 1920 x 1080 resolution, a 270 degree rotating lens and a five megapixel still images.
A new range of Vaio laptops was also released, including one shipped within a bag made from recycled soft drink bottles…. but without a manual – you have to download that from the website to save on paper.
Sony also had a few televisions to debut: the high end LX series will be the company’s 3D range, supported by the design focused NX and DX series which are 3D ready (you have to buy the glasses). The EX series will be an entry-level range.
Hype and hipshooters
The most overhyped product launch at the show would go to Lady Gaga and music producer Dr. Dre for their headphone launch on the Monster stand. It was typical celebrity theatre, with the female performer wearing a heat made from her own hair. And what could be better than being the celebrity behind one consumer electronics product? Collecting endorsement dollars from Polaroid as well, with the press conferences being held just footsteps away from each other.
Music producer Dr. Dre and the uber-weird Lady GaGa launch eponymous headphones on the Monster stand.
While this exhibit counts as one of the show’s most disturbing, top prize goes to the plethora of Tazer self-defence products which are designed to electrocute intruders and attackers. As the sales rep reassuringly confirmed: “It’s non-lethal and completely legal”.
The Best of CES 2010 – High-End Home Theatre
It wasn’t just the consumer home entertainment market on offering at CES this year. The professionals put their high-end gear on display for the world to see too.