DigitalTVinfo Team Reporting from CES 2011, Las Vegas

24/12/10

Every year at the beginning of January, the DigitalTVinfo Team report about the very latest Technology being launched at the World's largest trade event, CES, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. 

We will be there from January 4th - 9th reporting in this section providing you with the latest TV INFO from attendance at Press Conferences of all the major brands below during Wednesday, and from the Show Floors and Hotels throughout the Show.

LG Electronics    

Sharp Electronics   

Samsung Electronics   

Panasonic   

Sony Electronics  

 

 
Being a veteran visitor to Las Vegas for the annual trek to CES it was fantastic to see that the 2011 Show appears to have possibly turned the subdued corner of the previous couple of years. More exhibitors, more exciting products, more visitors and a whole lot more exhibiting space occupied. Even the taxis drivers were smiling, albeit with a marked increase in fares. This year was just the tonic we have all been waiting for.
 
Stars of the 2011 Show were just what the doctor ordered, greater ranges and styles of 3D & Content TV [IPTV - Internet Protocol], 3D Cameras and 3D Camcorders plus the previously Apple dominated market of Tablets.
 
In fact, over 30 companies released their Tablets at CES 2011 and surprisingly these were mainly from CE suppliers including LG, Motorola, Samsung, Sharp, Toshiba and ViewSonic and not PC suppliers.
 
Leaving the massive Android portable market for the time being, the multitude of 3D products that dominated CES 2011 is a definite industry statement – 3D is definitely here to stay whether displayed on LCD, Plasma or OLED screens, viewed with Passive or Active or Glasses Free.
 
Saying that, with the inherent quality advantages of Plasma 3D TV, it was very apparent that several manufacturers were taking advantage of this 3D explosion by introducing more Plasma 3D TV models – Samsung, LG and of course, Panasonic were just a few top brands increasing their 3D Plasma product portfolios similar to several breathtaking designs of LED Backlight 3D LCD TVs.
 
During 2010, business was not brisk though many still purchased TVs with 3D capability. 2010 was part of the industry’s 3D ‘soft-launch’ which created sales of around 3.2 million 3DTVs. This global figure is now set to increase year on year to reach a staggering 90 million in 2014 according to forecasts made prior to CES by DisplaySearch, an International Market Research company.
 
Should there still be any sceptics reading this then I can only assume you have not been into your local TV retailer. Agreed there is still a lack of software including Blu-ray Disc titles though TVinfo is reliably informed this will change throughout 2011. In the meantime the amount of self producing content products has increased with a mass array of 3D camcorders and cameras available in the stores during 2011.
  
But 3DTV is not the full story. IPTV [Internet Protocol] is already a massive feature with all manufactures providing the consumer with a vast amount of home entertainment benefits.
In fact DisplaySearch forecast that TVs with Internet Protocol are to grow in volume to over 122 million sets Worldwide in 2014. In fact, similar to 3D, the facilty of Internet Protocol will become a normal feature on most large screen TVs so make sure you don't forget to include a pack of Mains Plug Ethernet Adapters when you purchase your next TV.
 
CES, Las Vegas is not just about products, it’s about people. Talking with others from the trade and consumer press, manufacturers and retailers from different countries, all provides an insight to others’ positives, challenges as well as ideas. Wherever you turn at CES there are opportunities and talking with several UK retailers who attended, the Show is a definite must for their own important future business planning so they can relay information back to their customers.
 
Visiting this enormous event along with many other fortunate Trade and fellow Press members from the UK plus hundreds of thousands from around the world, just ask and they will tell you it’s massive, awesome yet tiring though very rewarding event.
A chat with Colin Crawford, Marketing Director of Pure at a special CES Unveiled Press event held the Tuesday prior to the Show, Colin reported the great benefit of pre-launching products. Pure launched three new products – Contour Internet Radio with Docking Station; ONE Flow Internet Radio. Also flying the Union Jack, this was also the case for another British company, Orbitsound.
 
So, for the four Show days trekking hundreds of acres of show space and hundreds of hotel suites and attending Press Conferences all day prior to the Thursday opening, these are just a few highlights.
 
  From the first meeting at 8am on Wednesday 5th January, LG Electronics highlighted its major range of screens with the emphasis of Single Glasses viewing whether LCD, Plasma or OLED. As usual at these events there are the usual World Firsts – LG’s World’s Largest 84inch Ultra Definition 3DTV; World’s 1st Flicker Free 3D TV and World’s Slimmest OLED at just 2.9mm.
Met up with a very busy Stephen Gator, Head of Marketing Home Entertainment later during the show to discuss LG’s products in greater detail and yes, LG do have a great line-up for 2011.
 
DigitalTVinfo.com was also invited to the special European Press Presentation of Toshiba where it announced its lead with the introduction of its Glasses Free 3D TV.  
Toshiba’s decision to introduce such was complemented by the results of a Japanese survey from Kanaku.com showing that glasses were a major bottleneck for sales of 3D TV. What do you think?
 
Whilst we are all in agreement that NO Glasses would be ideal, the Toshiba survey revealed 68% of potential purchasers would only purchase 3D TV if available without glasses – a figure that was questioned as in the UK, it would appear the majority of retailers asked to date have not reported major concern with glasses but have serious issues with the lack of promised programme material - 3D Blu-ray Discs - as being the main criteria.
 
 A ‘thumbs-up’ for Toshiba who will now take a lead and launch the world’s first glasses free 40+ inches TVs within the fiscal year of 2011 – reported to be between April 2011 and March 2012.
 
 Rushing to see and hear more world 1st's, at the Invitation Only lunchtime meeting with Sharp, it is very clear Sharp is now aggressively seeking more market share, already claiming market leadership of 60 inch sales. This positive position has created the company's introduction of a 70inch 3D LCD, providing 62% more viewing area for the discerning viewer.
 
  Samsung’s Press Conference was also full of amazing product claims. Having 65% of the 55 inch + 3DTV market in 2010; the World’s thinnest screen at just 0.2 inches on its Series 8000 TVs; Plasma 3D range from 43 to 65 inches and has now launched and claimed the LARGEST, Full HD 3D LED TV measuring 75inch. An ultra slim Blu-ray Disc Player at just 0.9 inches complements all the great designs launched by Samsung.
 
  Claims of being a leader in the 3D market is also claimed by Panasonic announcing 19 new Plasma models and 8 new '4 Series' LCD TVs. Available late Spring, the 'ST30 Series' of Plasma sets will have 42”, 46”, 50”, 55”, 60” and 65” screen sizes, incorporating Full HD 3D.
 
  Finalising the furore of Press conferences on the Wednesday prior to the show opening the following day, Sony were also extremely prominent promoting 3D TV and associated products of 3D cameras and 3D Blu-ray players.
With 27 new Bravia models and a 24.5 inch 3D OLED panel without glasses and the World’s first HDTV powered by Google TV, Sir Howard Stringer, CEO of the Sony Corporation, was in full swing as he entered the stage within a bullet ridden ‘prop’ vehicle as used in the latest 3D action movie, 'The Green Hornet'. Beside the leading actors of the film being on stage to promote 3D, the Sony presentation was also blessed with a sequence from the latest Cirque Du Soleil production, 'Viva Elvis'.
 
Yes, when you're in Las Vegas, anything can happen and usually does.
In fact, a special VIP invite, by appointment only to see DEFINITION by Dolby Laboritories in its 'One Day Only' demonstration away from the exhibition halls, we discovered how Dolby defines the Digital Entertainment Experience.
Situated in the Rain Man Suite [as used in the film with Dustin Hoffman] at the 5 Star Ceasars Palace, a select few Press members had Dolby 7.1 demonstrated and personally meet and chat with the Vice President of Pixar Studios whose amazing enthusiasm with every detail of sound used in all Pixar movies was incredible. The length of time spent to create accurate sound in just seconds of a Pixar movie is awesome. Now I know how much time and effort goes into making many of my favourite animated movies. Well done Dolby and Pixar.
 
 We must not forget another company whose name also dorns every DVD and Blu-ray disc movie and player - DTS. Proudly presenting its 11.1 system it must be said that the SOUND really makes a movie great - basically, LISTEN TO THE VISION. Having 11 speakers scattered in your home is not to everyone's taste but just to experience the capabilities of such separation of sound creates a tingling reality.
 
AUDIO PRODUCTS? Well there is another story to tell regarding the all important element of sound, with or without the vision element.
 
And if you think listening to your iPod or other brand of MP3 player is the be all and end all, then you are sadly mistaken.
 
Throughout the world there are still and always will be, men and women who appreciate high quality audio reproduced from some amazing equipment available from many companies, including NAIM, CYRUS, DENON, KEF, B&W, ARCAM, TEAC, MARANTZ, TANNOY, YAMAHA, PIONEER. These and some of the global leaders strive to obtain perfection for the discerning listener.
 
So imagine being asked to attend a rare and unique audio demonstration on the 23rd floor of the Venetian Hotel to meet the creator of of probably the world's greatest loudspeaker.
 
The privilege of a demonstration on a personal appointment to listen to a pair of amazing custom built loudspeakers with a front baffle board made of Maple specially cut from trees [only in November], fronting a cabinet of Finnish Birch – housing an exclusive 40-60,000 frequency, was demonstrated in a suite within the Venetian Hotel.
Priced at a mere £27,000 a pair, the manufacturer was non other than Sony. Thanks to the extremely enthusiastic Eric Kingdon, European Technical Marketing Manager to invite a select few to hear this amazing development, I must say was very dramatic.
Talking with the actual designer, Yoshiyuki Kaku, Acoustic Manager of Sony's No.1 Design Department, we spoke about his latest development, the AR1.
The astounding result was truly amazing so if you have £27,000 and wish for the ultimate of a personalised set of floor standing loudspeakers then contact Eric Kingdon at Sony.