By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
TWICE:How far have we come in moving digital imaging out of the camera, out of the computer room and into more comfortable settings.
Young: Almost all of our bigger TVs have flash slots because consumers like to take that card right out of the camera, pop it into their TV when they get home and view their pictures, or they might put it into their computer and feed that image through a wireless network.
Those things happen very regularly, but having the living room experience is, to our mind, the next big step.
Scott: Kodak would agree.
Ryan: HP would agree too. We talk about that 10-foot experience, which is reliving memories — be they still or video — from the comfort of your sofa instead of being crouched around a PC, and then making it easy to move that information seamlessly around the home in a variety of formats and speeds or wirelessly. That is a real growth engine within photography.
Young: I have watched it happen with parties at our house. We have one of our printers sitting next to a docking station. We pop the camera in there, get the HD images on the screen. We'll stop the slide show because someone likes that photo, and they are a visitor so we pop a 4-by-6-inch print out in 80 seconds, and they are going to take that home.
That's a tremendous experience you could never, ever have had with film, and you have it in a social setting that is much more comfortable than sitting around a 17- or 19-inch computer screen. It is not mainstream yet, but if you look at the way the large screen TV market is going right now — and I am sure Andy can vouch for this — it is growing at an even faster pace than the digital still camera market is. These two things are going to converge in the next few years.
Scott: Detaching the digital experience from the PC has gone mainstream. Connecting all these devices seamlessly inside the home is the next step.
Nelkin: One of the real keys is that nobody really wants to share pictures around the computer. If you ever watch a person with a computer, they lean forward. They are typing. It is work. Even the best things you can do on a computer are a kind of work.
When someone sits in a living room watching a television, a big screen TV, they are leaning back. They have a remote control in their hand. They are relaxing. We need to bring photography into that environment.
Young: We used to talk in terms of workflow, which is — I think you mentioned that sitting at the computer is more like work. As manufacturers and designers and people who are trying to push the technologies and think of how the consumer can benefit from it, if we think in terms of workflow we are consigning this to disaster. It has to be play flow. It has to be something that is absolutely transparent.
Computers are not necessarily the best tools for play in the home in the living room. They may be.
Ryan: That being said, computers themselves are changing, so we have growth in home networking, explosive growth in laptops that never leave the home, but yes we are seeing a huge opportunity around what you could call 'nodes' in the house where a node or future hub will be in the living room and the computer may be in living room but connecting it together with other nodes. It is not that everything is going to shift just to the TV.
It is the traditional view of an office corner, which is disappearing. It is about a seamless communication of information. The kitchen has got a role to play as well. A phenomenal quantity of 4-by-6-inch printers sit on kitchen countertops.
Peck: I think David is absolutely right. My photo printer is in my kitchen, always hooked up and ready to go. This industry has always been about memories. It has always been about pictures.
You can put pictures on your computer. You can watch them on the TV but people still want to hold that 4-by-6 cherished picture.
Regardless of the technology, I think that 4-by-6 is still going to be something we all strive to get more customers to want. To encourage them make more prints.
Young: I think there will be more prints made but only because there are so many more pictures taken than there ever were in the past.
Ryan: Many people predicted the end of paper with the rise of the paperless office ten years ago, fifteen years ago. My goodness, the quantity of information that is flowing has increased exponentially, and the quantity of paper print documents made in the office just increased as well.
We model something similar at HP when we look at the explosion in the quantity of images flowing with cellphones adding to that, and printing be will increasing at a healthy level at retail and in the home. For example, we talk about the 4-by-6 image, but 5-by-7 and 8-by-10-inch photo prints also represent a tremendous opportunity and that's where traditionally retail has been perhaps less strong a driver vs. home printing, which really enables a 5-by-7 in terms of economics and convenience.
Lee: A good thing for consumers is that there is going to be so much choice for them. I think what we have to be careful of is this is all daunting to a consumer. It is confusing to a consumer. Not many consumers know that you can go buy a television, put an SD card in there or even know how to use the video out capabilities. Few people flip their TVs around.
I just purchased an LCD TV. Those things don't have any ports on the sides to hook anything up. So this thing is mounted on my wall and there is no way for me to view my pictures on it.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.