Today, the C.E.D.I.A. Show opened to throngs of dealers, installers and the press. I haven't seen the official registration figures, but as soon as I do I will pass them along. At the same time that C.E.D.I.A. is going on in Denver, IBC (International Broadcast Conference) is going on in Amsterdam. This highlights one of my complaints is that there's simply too many shows, and it's impossible to attend every one of them. I have colleagues, who went to IFA in Berlin last week and ended up in either Denver or Amsterdam this week. Unless you can clone yourself, you can't be everywhere.
One of the things that's interesting that the same story is playing out on both sides of the Atlantic " HD DVD vs. Blu-ray Disc. According to reports coming out of Amsterdam and Europe, the video-disk industry insiders in Europe shared a litany of complaints based on the HD DVD-Blue-ray Disc format war, and summed it up in one word " confusion. Here, in Denver, each camp released NPD figures. According to the HD DVD Promotions Group in a press release issued today (Sept. 6), Toshiba had a 55-percent market share year to date in high definition stand alone player sales followed by all Blu-ray companies at a combined 42-percent; the final 3-percent is held by dual format players. While the competition [Blu-ray] may claim leadership based on one month of data, Toshiba has had continued sales leadership in every month since the original HD DVD players launched 17 months ago. On the other hand, if you go to the Sony booth at C.E.D.I.A., they have put up a flow chart showing the progress of unit sales with Blu-ray having a 55-percednt share and HD DVD having a 42-percent share followed by dual-format players at 2-percent. Sony claims that Blu-ray beats HD DVD by 12-percent. Who is right? I say ask NPD.
Except for a couple of meetings with manufacturers, it was a good day just to wander the show floor. Here's some highlights. I stopped by Mitsubishi for a demo of their 3-D DLP MDTV. The glasses fit easily over my glasses. Essentially, the display has a 120Hz refresh rate, and by splitting the screen into to 60Hz sections it allows you to get a 3-D image with the use of stereoscopic glasses. I received a similar demo from TI, who promised me a paper on 3-D DLP technology in the coming weeks. I will be posted in early October in DTV. Here are some insights from TI. They previewed the new DarkChip4 DLP chip that offers a dynamic contrast ratio of 100,000:1. We can expect to see a transition in 2008 away from color wheels and lamps to LED and Laser illumination for DLP. We can also expect to see these microdisplays continue to get slimmer. For 2008, it's expected that many rear projection DLP sets will be around 12-inches deep. TI believes that they can get the depth down to about 6-inches. While sales of microdisplays as a category are dwindling, TI notes that DLP (rear projection) sales are up about 12-percent over last year. They expect to see growth in the coming years. It was also hinted that a major brand, who currently does not offer rear projection DLP, will offer DLP rear projection displays in 2008.
While I spent time at several booths, the Pioneer booth was a highlight of the day. I received an excellent demo of their new Kuro plasma display, their new SC-09TX A/V Receiver, and their new BDP-95FD Blu-ray player. The new Kuro panels probably have the blackest blacks on any PDP that I've seen to date. The new A/V Receiver " SC-09TX, which will be available in early 2008 at more than $7,000, is a powerhouse offering more than 1400-watts. It includes a new ICEpower Class D amplifier, and features in myriad of featuring including: Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio, xvYCC, DeepColor, HDMI 1.3a, Home Media Gallery, and a 1.5-inch LCD screen. Their new BD player, which ships in October, reportedly includes a new version of the HDMI 1.3a chipset that will actually pass next-generation audio codecs. According to Pioneer, it will be the first BD player on the market that will actually pass those signals. Supposedly, up to now, those players that include HDMI 1.3a can't really pass Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, and DTS-HD Master Audio. I can say that I have a couple of Blu-ray players from Samsung and Sony with HDMI 1.3a, and neither will pass those audio codecs.
I will report more tomorrow from the show floor.