On Wednesday afternoon, I went to the CES Unveiled 2007 event that is the precursor to CES, which is held by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). This annual event, which is held in NYC every year, attracts journalists, manufacturers, and PR types alike. As always, CEA gives everyone on where CE Holiday sales are going (up this year), the health of the CE industry (good health), and an overview of what we can expect this coming January 2007 in Las Vegas. The dates are January 8 -- January 11, 2007
I've posted two stories this week: CEA: Consumers to spend more on electronics, services during Holiday season and CEA sees promise after elections that covers the trends and Holiday sales of CE products. Although, one of the things that I found interesting is that CEA is trying to pare down attendees from last year's 152,000 to approx. 140,000 in 2007. CEA cites few hotel rooms this as the reason behind this down-sizing. As an attendee since 1980, I find it hard to believe that a shortage of hotel rooms will stop folks from attending the International CES. I've remembered past years in which there was a shortage of rooms, and people simply doubled up. This could be the case again for the coming show. Personally, I expect that it will be bigger than last year as everyone from semiconductor companies to gaming companies want to attend CES. And, let's not forget all of those folks displaced by not being able to go to COMDEX anymore. As CES 2007 approaches, I'll spend more time talking about it. If you haven't booked yet, you had better do so? What are you waiting for? Rooms are scare, and even properties like Excalibur are up to $400 per night. So, get going.
To change gears, several stories relating to next-generation optical discs were posted on Digital TV DesignLine, and EE Times this week regarding ICs and chipsets from Broadcom, STMicroelectronics, and NEC Electronics that will finally allow true 'Universal' DVD players that can decode and playback both HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc. These machines will offer the "best of both worlds" and allow the consumer to buy into the future of high definition DVD. As early as CES 2007 we could see the first products announced that will accommodate this technological feat.
Now, my speculation is that this is what the major audio brands have been waiting for. I'm talking about Denon, Yamaha, Marantz, and Harman among others. They aren't tied to either the Blu-ray camp or the HD DVD camp. They are the perfect candidates. They've offered Universal DVD players before meaning those players that played back DVD-Audio and SACD, and now they could be at the forefront again. All of the major audio companies are developing A/V Receiver with HDMI 1.3 so it makes sense that they would develop a 'Universal' hi def DVD player with HDMI 1.3 also allowing the passage of Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, and DTS-HD. More to follow.