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CEA Announces 12 New Hall of Famers

Washington — The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) today announced 12 new members that will join the ranks of its CE Hall of Fame, during its Washington Forum conference.

Upon introducing the new inductees, Gary Shapiro, president/CEO of CEA, said, “I am proud to honor the accomplishments of these 12 leaders in the consumer technology industry, which provides the products and services that inform, educate, entertain and keep consumers connected. They inspire all of us.”

The CEA created the CE Hall of Fame in 2000. Its honorees are said to include inventors, executives, engineers, retailers and journalists who are chosen by a panel of industry judges each year. Nominations are said to be made by industry professionals and media through online submissions.

This year’s judging took place on Feb. 20 in New York. The chosen honorees will officially be inducted into the CE Hall of Fame during an awards dinner at CEA’s Industry Forum in Las Vegas on Oct. 21.

The 2008 honorees follow, listed by category:


  • Ken Kutaragi, former chairman and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, who, according to the CEA is considered the “Father of the PlayStation”. In 1989, he is said to have convinced Sony to develop a next-generation game machine and convinced skeptical executives to release PlayStation in 1994.
  • Dr. Fritz Sennheiser, founder of Sennheiser Electronic Corp. in Hanover, Germany. According to CEA, his innovations include the shotgun microphone, open-back headphones, infrared transmission technology and developments in multichannel wireless technology.
  • Team: Martin Cooper and Donald Linder who, CEA said, led the Motorola engineering team that developed the first mobile phone, the DynaTAC, in less than six months.


  • Joe Clayton, former CEO of RCA/Thomson and CEO of Sirius Satellite Radio. According to the CEA, Clayton also played a large role in the launch and success of DirecTV in 1994. In addition, Clayton served as chairman of CEA from 1995 through 1996, during a period of rapid change.
  • Eddy Hartenstein, former president and later chairman and CEO of DirecTV Inc., who, the CEA said, built DirecTV into the second largest pay-TV service in the United States. In 2004, Hughes sold DirecTV to News Corp.
  • Warren Lieberfarb, former president of Warner Home Video, was dubbed by Variety as “The Father of the DVD.” According to CEA, recognizing a need for a next-generation format, he negotiated with rival studios, retailers and competing CE and PC manufacturers to create a single format.


  • The late Jewel and David Abt founded Chicago’s Abt Electronics in 1936, one of the Midwest’s largest electronic retailers. As CEA said, “This mom-and-pop store is still family owned and operated.”
  • Richard Sharp became president of the newly named Circuit City in 1984, CEO from 1986 to 2000 and chairman of the board from 1994 until 2006, a time CEA called “its period of greatest growth.”


  • The late Hans Fantel, who the CEA called a leading consumer electronics journalist. He was a founding editor at Stereo Review and covered consumer electronics for The New York Times for 31 years before retiring in 1994.


  • The late Dean Dunlavey was a trial lawyer who represented Sony and successfully argued the Betamax case before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1983. The following year, the court ruled for Sony, establishing a definition of fair use which allowed the creation of many businesses including the VCR and the home video business.