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CES 2011: Media Speed Dating

It’s 9:30 pm Las Vegas time as I write this, or as John Taylor of LG Electronics had to remind the assembled media Wednesday morning at 8am local time during his company’s press event, “I don’t know why this is the crack of dawn for some. For me it’s 11 am.”
Based on his reasoning it is now 12:30 am New York time. That’s after yesterday’s six hour flight from JFK to Vegas, CES Unveiled last night, and the media marathon CEA politely calls “Media Day: which goes from 8 am to 6 pm local time… and beyond for evening meetings, if not deadlines.
So if I sound a little weary, I am. But forgive me because I saw and heard a lot in the past 30 hours or so I’ve been at CES.
First off I visited CES Unveiled.
I call it media speed dating. In three hours you can visit with tons of companies introducing new technologies at CES.
It’s an event for assembled media, bloggers and other assorted scribes scheduled two days before doors officially open for CES. CEA gets a major league banquet hall at the Venetian every year and gets companies, mostly small or midsized, but some large ones too, to display their goods to the assembled throng for their PR pleasure for three hours.
The media loves it. There’s new tech, new companies, photo and video opportunities… and did I mention free food and drink? The place was packed and it was great to see many of the companies that will be featured in the CES Official Daily, written and edited by TWICE, over the next few days.
Some of us then went to the Tao restaurant at the Venetian for a reception for Toshiba. It was the first chance some of us had to see the products and meet the new management team of Toshiba which unifies the formerly separate IT and CE operations. We visited with Jeff Barney, VP & GM of the Digital Products division along with Ron Smith, VP of marketing and our long time friend from the CE side Scott Ramirez and took along at the company’s new tablet PC and 3D TV that doesn’t need glasses to see the effect. Check out the products at the booth if you are here, if not read our coverage in the Jan. 6 edition or online at
As for Press Day at CES, press conferences that begin at 8 am with LG and ended with Sony at 6 pm with mostly 15 minute breaks to get on the next press event line, that’s more like a speed dating marathon if you do a half dozen or so like I did.
Check out the coverage of the products by the TWICE staff online or in our TWICE Jan. 6 issue or Official CES Daily of the LG, Monster, Netgear, Intel, Audiovox, Pioneer, Sharp, NVIDIA, Casio, Cisco, Samsung, Panasonic, Motorola and Sony events… not to mention Klipsch after 6 pm, the PRO Source buying group reception etc.
See what I mean? It could be a blur for the best of us. For me, I attended LG, Netgear, Audiovox, Sharp, Samsung, Panasonic and Sony… as well as PRO Source.
What I got out of the day, in general broad strokes, is that while there may be a heck of a lot of hype and introductions about tablet PCs, there’s a heck of a lot of other products to talk about too.
Netgear, celebrating its 15th anniversary this month, said networking and moving A/V HD content around the home effectively is the key. Audiovox debuted products for mobile DTV in the car and showed a variety of docks and similar products for iPad, iPod and iPhones in innovative shapes, sizes and prices.
3D is now a feature in not only upscale TV and Blu-ray lines, but all over the place. Sony is “all in” as they say here in Vegas about its commitment to 3D and internet and Google TV by the way.
Regardless of what conventional wisdom may surmise, 3D TV did as good or better than expected during a tough economic year in 2010. Sony says it is all over it with products from the theater and movie production all the way to its Handycams and Bloggie 3D cameras. Panasonic has the same mantra, without the PS3 angle of Sony, and Samsung and LG Electronics are pushing its strengths, designs and style.
Not to be outdone Sharp emphasized its Aquos and Quattro lines and pushed the fact it is an LCD display leader, for finished goods and 3D LCD displays for retail sale.
Internet TVs and 3D TVs are practically one in the same, as predicted, at this show. Sony, Sharp, LG, Panasonic, Samsung and a lot more are pushing apps, their online networked content services for TVs (as well as tablets and smartphones) from TVs and Blu-ray decks too.
Search for the CES 2011 coverage from these companies to get the details.
Getting back to apps, they are all over the place. But aside from the content providers who are getting paid for their wares, and hardware makers, who provide access to apps, how or, better yet, will retailers get a cut of the action? Or will retailers push individual app packages just to sell a particular brand?
Those are key questions, not likely to be answered by the end of the show this weekend… but stay tuned.