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Greener, Greater TVs Expected At CES

New television and video products slated to be unveiled at the 2009 International CES, Jan. 8-11, 2009, in Las Vegas, will get considerably greener, if not more profitable, based on show trends predicted by TWICE.

At the same time, a number of companies second- and third-tier brands will be absent from the show floor as the economic downturn and pricing pressure from top-tier players has forced some upstarts to put new products on hold or to leave the market altogether.

Floor traffic may also be somewhat lighter this year, as retailers and smaller companies continue to face tough budget decisions.

For the same reasons, more TV and video companies than ever are also expected to set up peripheral suites in an effort to lure selective show traffic while dodging CES exhibitor fees.

Among those on the floor, several first-tier manufacturers are expected to emphasize new eco-friendly TV designs this year with full ranges of products scheduled to conform to the Energy Star 3.0 guidelines at a minimum. At the same time a number of top-tier LCD TV model lines are expected to shift to the use of new back-lighting systems, such as LEDs, to reduce power consumption while boosting contrast and color saturation performance levels significantly. A variety of new local dimming technologies should also be on display to more effectively tap this potential.

Not surprisingly, a number of plasma makers are expected to get into the power-savings act with models that significantly reduce draw levels in big-screen displays, taking away another advantage often cited by LCD TV competitors. Also expect to see a number of companies introduce plasma sets with thin-panel depths (under one inch in some cases) to compete with the range of ultra-thin LCD TVs that started to emerge at last year’s show.

Also expect to see new emphasis on packaging that reduces material uses, includes more recycled material and/or uses material that can be recycled. Set makers are also expected to continue to expand TV set reclamation programs, which dispose of toxic materials for old sets in eco-friendly ways.

In the ever-evolving area of picture improvement, several manufacturers are expected to emphasize more powerful video processing engines to upscale sub-par standard definition signal sources to near 1080p HD quality. Also, on the LCD front, expect to see great advancements from a number of brands in motioning compensation technologies, which will exceed the 120Hz frame rates from previous approaches.

Another common theme which started to emerge late last year and is expected to multiply in 2009, will be the inclusion of Internet connectivity for TVs in more and more sets, and along with that a range of IPTV services that will introduce new forms of video, music and photo content intended for the living room big screen. Also expect social networking to become a more prevalent capability on next-generation TV models.

On the home video front expect to see early volleys as the format war moves to the next front — high-definition packaged media vs. HD streaming, downloads and video on demand. Blu-ray players are expected to be everywhere at this year’s show, with most new models making BD-Live interactivity virtually a stock feature. Price points should also continue their inevitable downward spiral, opening up adoption to a much wider audience.

The wide spectrum of possibilities presented with BD-Live is predicted to make the Blu-ray player an attractive add-on opportunity for IPTV in TV sets that lack such on-board functionality. Blu-ray titles will begin to expand social-networking opportunities this year.