Tag Archives: CES-Las-Vegas

CES 2009 Las Vegas

According to the Consumer Electronics Association, attendance at this year’s CES 2009 was down 10%. Feedback from people visiting the show and manning the booths was that it was down more than that. In previous years you could barely walk down the aisles. This year they were wide open. The following is a quick summary of the week.

Biggest Let Down: MacWorld. In previous years, ironically, the buzz at CES was MacWorld and new product announcements. With Steve Jobs a no show and barely any new announcements, it was almost a non-event.

Biggest Surprise: Palm Pre phone. Most people had written Palm off as a phone supplier since the introduction of the iPod. When Palm announced the Pre, their stock went up 35% in one day. Some comments in the blogosphere are that this could actually be competitor to the iPhone. We will have to wait and see.

Everyone has a Netbook. If you make hardware, you probably launched a Netbook at CES. The most talked about was probably the Sony Vaio P. But there were many others. There were new introductions from the market leader, ASUS and Dell, but even Viewsonic, a monitor maker, launched a Netbook.

Most over used phrase Normal People. This phrase refers to all the non-techies out there who have a tough time getting their photos on their TV, or configuring a home network, or connecting their media to all of the above. I must have heard this definition at almost every demo. It is a great focus because we all know how hard it is to do all the above, but they have been trying to get there for a long time.

Home Theatre. In previous years it was who had the biggest flat panel. Given the economic times, it seemed appropriate that this was not the focus of HDTV launches this year. It was more about the thinnest, or the technology such as LCD screens moving to 120 and 240 kHz. Also there was more focus on connecting HDTVs to the internet. The other development in this space is Sound Bars. These are replacing the 5 speaker surround sound Home Theatre In a Box (HTIB) with one bar that can be mounted below the TV. It still gives you surround sound, but without the hassle of running cables around the room.

Connected Media. All the network vendors launched storage and media streaming devices for normal people. Cisco (Linksys), Netgear, Seagate and others all have some kind of devise for home network storage and media sharing. The device that caught my eye and follows the KISS principle was PogoPlug. You simply take a hard drive, put it in the enclosure, plug it into an outlet then plug it into your router. It configures itself and makes the hard drive available to anyone on the network. With the price of hard drivers now below $100 for 1 terabyte of storage this is a great way to increase network storage.

Economy. Lastly, everyone was talking about the economy. Forecasts were showing declines in the single digits for 2009. This doesn’t really fit with the fact that Circuit City will be liquidating 500+ stores and Best Buy had a 70% decline in earnings for the last quarter.

CES Products

Originally I had big plans of blogging daily about all the product releases and updates. Suffice it to say, that when it takes 90 minutes to go to a hotel that usually takes 10 minutes (when CES isn’t in town) those plans went out the window. However, I have several links below from sites that had small armies of people at the show and were blogging about them constantly. While I was at the Bloghaus, they had an RSS feed showing the sites below and a few others. There was literally a post every 30-60 seconds appearing on the screen.

I was asked several times “what was the best product at this year’s show?” Well I can tell you the most talked about was the Apple iPhone that was not even at CES.

The one thing that was evident was trends. The trend to move content to digital formats. To have that content available to you whenever and wherever you want. Of course the usual “mine is bigger than yours” by the flat panel manufacturers. But does anyone really care if the panel is 105″ or 108″. How many $80,000 panels are you really going to sell. 1080p is the standard now for HDTV. Of course you can only realize 1080p if you have an HD-DVD, Blu-Ray or XBox 360, as HD broadcasters are currently pumping out 1080i. The battle between HD-DVD and Blu-Ray continues…time will tell.

The main thing that I took away from the show, other than blisters, was the sense that the way we receive our content is going to change quickly. This change is happening so fast that many say that battle over HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray is moot because within a year, we will be downloading our content. This could also impact companies like Netflix or Blockbuster.Why go out, or wait for your movie, when you have have it right now. Scoble talks about this in his blog. It’s hard to believe, but North America is actually behind many other countries in terms of High Speed Bandwidth. A good example is Sweden. For $15 a month you can get 100MB/sec. to your house. Today, most of us are paying $30-$50 for less than 10M/sec.B. With 20MB/sec. you could stream HD content live to your TV. There are some services in the US have are offering 50MB/sec. for ~$80 per month.

The other trend is that old media (newspapers, TV stations, music companies) had better figure this out just as fast or they won’t have a way of making money. There are some from the old media that are buying new media players. Such as Rupert Murdoch’s (Fox Interacitve) purchase of mySpace.

This is going to be a very interesting year!!