Wednesday, January 09, 2008

TTD: CES: Leavin’ Las Vegas

"Well, here I sit in the Las Vegas airport getting ready to fly back to the Valley. While I’m sitting around, here are a few observations on the Consumer Electronics Show, the universe and everything:
Almost everyone I talked to at the show seemed to think that the big takeaway this year was that not much really happened. There were plenty of product announcements, and lots of incremental innovation, sure. If there was one big life changing thing on display at the show, I didn’t see it.
The 150-inch Panasonic plasma television, weighing in at roughly 1,800 pounds, is perfect for the person who watches a ton of television. (Ha!)
There was a lot less discussion of what Apple (AAPL) is going to do at Macworld next week than you typically get at CES. Which can only mean that Steve Jobs is going to wow everyone in a way that no one at CES did.
One constant theme: finding ways to move Internet content onto big screen televisions. But this is a delicate exercise: there were a host of people offering interim steps, closed-garden subsets of content for TV. But ultimately, everyone is going to have to come to grips with the idea that consumers are going to want all of the content on the Web available easily on their television, whether the cable and satellite companies like it or not.
High-def is going to be everywhere: Bill Gates said it at his keynote, and he is 100% right.
Top software choice for people demonstrating the gaming capabilities of their displays: Guitar Hero.
Top hardware choice for people demonstrating the gaming capabilities of their displays: the Nintendo Wii.
Sad sight: the large but nearly empty HD-DVD booth.
Lots of discussion about moving high-def content around the house. Actually, two area of wireless transport got the spotlight. Wireless HDMI - to get rid of wires from peripherals to your TV - and 802.11n, for moving content wirelessly around the house.
Device I had never heard of before that I heard people raving about: the LG Viewty, a phone that so far is only being sold in Europe.
Number of times today that I actually briefly dozed off during an interview with a group of corporate executives: 1. The name of that company: That is going to stay in Vegas, baby.
Story that got less buzz than I would have expected: Microsoft’s (MSFT) deal to host the official U.S. site for live and archived streaming Olympic video content.
Best celebrity appearance: Well, I didn’t see Tony Bennett and Jerry Seinfeld at the Sony booth, and I missed Billy Bob Thornton’s singing gig, and I passed on Mary J. Blige at the Monster Cable awards. So the prize has to go to Slash, who showed up at the end of the Bill Gates keynote. Nearly as good, and actually funnier: Flight of The Conchords singing Business Time at the end of keynote by Comcast’s (CMCSA) Brian Roberts.
Complaints: Lack of decent free WiFi in the Venetian. Taxi lines. The insanely slow commute from the Venetian to the LVCC by shuttle bus. Lack of time to walk the show floor. Smoking in casinos. Too many overlapping events. Not enough ground-breaking news. Not enough time to actually make blog posts. And those infernal guys on the Strip who snap business-size cards at you advertising escort services: somebody ought to do something about those guys. "

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