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CE Hall Of Fame Class Of 2011 Celebrated

11/07/2011 12:01:00 AM Eastern
SAN DIEGO — The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) honored the 11 members of the CE Hall of Fame class of 2011 during a dinner and awards ceremonies at the CE Industry Forum, here, Oct. 25.

Eight of the 2011 class were in attendance, and all had personal comments about their careers to make this, as usual, one of the best events on the CE industry calendar every year.

The award winners and some of their acceptance comments are as follows:

Ralph Baer, who developed the Brown Box and the Magnavox Odyssey interactive TV/video gaming systems, said he is still active in the toy and related industries and is still getting licensing fees.

Dr. Fujio Masuoka invented flash memory while at Toshiba and also developed SAMOS memory;.

Dr. Robert Metcalf was working at Xerox PARC in 1973 when he co-invented Ethernet — a standard for connecting computers over short distances.

Claude Elwood Shannon (1916-2001) is credited with founding both digital computer and digital circuit design theory in 1937.

Dr. Andrew Viterbi invented the Viterbi algorithm used for decoding encoded data that is used in cellphones for error correcting codes, as well as for speech recognition, and other applications. Viterbi spoke mostly about Shannon, saying in effect, based on his work, he wouldn’t be here. Gary Shapiro, CEA’s president/CEO, remarked about Viterbi’s gracious and humble speech.

Eli Harari was co-founder and former CEO of SanDisk, which invented or co-developed many of the standard memory card formats used in CE products ranging from digital cameras to smartphones. He remarked that the 50,000 times cost reduction of flash memory over 20 years would be like “a $2,500 1991 computer costing 5 cents now.”

Stanley S. Hubbard, whose company, Hubbard Broadcasting, started U.S. Satellite Broadcasting (USSB) in 1981, was instrumental in the development and launching of the first digital satellite system for television in 1994. Hubbard thanked his family, said he “never expected to be in a Hall of Fame with Thomas Edison,” and remembered the days when DBS meant “Don’t Be Stupid” to some.

Sam Runco was founder and CEO of Runco International, the first company to introduce a line doubler with a multi-frequency projector in 1990 as well as the first multiple-aspect-ratio controller, the ARC-IV, to the highend home theater market. Runco said he was, “Happy to be honored while I’m still alive!” And noted he was happy to live long enough to “see the fruit of our labors, HDTV.”

Sandy Bloomberg founded Tweeter, the specialty consumer electronics retail chain that marketed highend electronics products. He talked about the early days of the chain in the 1960s where people came in, bought audio equipment, “loved music, brought it home, probably got stoned and played it loud.” To which Shapiro retorted, “Thank you for explaining why we call [the category] high-end audio.”

The team of Ivan Berger and Lance Braithwaiteworked together at Berger Braithwaite Labs/Video Magazine (Sound & Vision Magazine) and wrote extensive product reviews. Berger, an audio expert, and Braithwaite, a video analyst, put their bylines together back in 1979 at the suggestion of Berger, “which was the best idea I ever had” and the arguments he originally had with Braithwaite were good ones because, “both of us learned something” about each other’s views and expertise. Braithwaite, the son of a lawyer and the more technical type, said he found out in the early years he didn’t have to write like a lawyer, but had to explain in simple, straightforward terms how equipment worked and what value it might be for consumers.
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