I've already picked up a Kinect, so that is one of the hot items for this year. I also bought a cablecard tuner. Both of these I highly recommend. 3D TV? Eh... Not enough content to jump on this, as well as being too early in the cycle. My biggest disappointment was for tablets. I refuse to buy an iPad, and the Android offerings so far are uncompelling. I suspect that the good stuff along those lines will be showing up at CES this year.
As noted, there just aren't a lot of big bang new CE products at the moment. 3D TV is nice, but tough to justify when you just bought a new 1080p set (and most of us just don't want to have to wear those glasses - too bad the chosen 3D TV implementations don't allow simultaneously watching 2D without the glasses while someone else in the family is watching 3D with the glasses). As far as connectivity, I've had mine connected for several years now although I do need an additional box (hidden unobtrusively behind the TV rather than built in) to do it.
And the iPad is several months old now, so how many waited for the holidays to buy one?
It seems like most of us already have smartphones (just look next time someone next to you pulls out their phone at work, on the bus, in the mall, etc.), so unless your new every two is up, why buy a new one? And yes, many of us do still use them primarily for talking although admittedly with some texting, calendar scheduling, emailing, etc. thrown in.
So yes, it looks like most have probably got what we need for the moment.
Sorry Rick, but it looks like you'll just have to buy your own connected 3D TV (but then you'll have the satisfaction of knowing you helped the industry).
I agree the problem is that between the economy and lack of big bang new products, CE is going to be slow.
The iPad is a great product that has been selling like hot cakes, but is it going to explode at christmas? Doesn't sound like it and since it's Apple, there's no black friday sale price.
The Kinect is also very cool but is attached to Xbox owners and a pricey addition for a few games.
GoogleTV is another great product for the season but the bad press of every network blocking it is going to depress the market. Maybe some great Black Friday deals can push it up.
3DTV just doesn't have the oomph to get the public to go out and replace the 1080P TVs they bought over the last few years.
What is killer holiday product? I just don't see.
Between Rick and Duane, I am now downright discouraged. I thought there might be something new I missed.
I shouldn't complain, though, because I don't own any up to date CE equipment. My record (YES...record) player was bought in late 1970's and still works, my CD player was bought in the late 80's and still works, my combo DVD/Video tape player was bought 2 years ago (because the old one died) so I could look at some older video tapes taken at family occasions by someone else who had a video camera (not me). Most of the time I am in pictures rather than taking them, so the megapixel wars on cameras don't do it for me.
My small multi-speaker setup for TV was a gift because someone thought I would like it since I was in the audio business.
Blueray sounds nice, but I don't watch enough movies in any venue to warrant buying it.
My internet speed doesn't support downloading movies from Netflix or others.
While I have seen 3D TV, nothing actually compels me to buy it.
I use cell phones to talk on, so no iPhone there.
The iPad is interesting, but not more so than a real computer with all the peripherals. Speaking of which, my home computer is about 3 years old still running Vista.
Basically I am a CE mess.
There is one bright spot however. A year ago I re-did all my music HW/SW, and my BIG purchase for me for the holidays this year is likely to be upgraded ACID and SONAR software.
There! I have bared my CE soul.
I have to agree with Duane & DF. I don't see a lot of must-have CE products this season. Not interested in 3D HDTV with glasses...and maybe not even 3D without glasses. Already have HD and Blu-ray. Not a power gamer, so the old PC is still quite adequate.
Still, I will upgrade a few gadgets. Probably a new digital camera, since the megapixels & features on the new ones (like HD video) far exceed my old 6 megapixel camera. Probably a new phone too, since my new-every-two years is almost up.
...or it's gotten too slow. I don't see any really innovative must-have products out there. I've been trying to justify replacing my 3 year-old laptop and 2 year-old netbook, but the new ones aren't really better enough to compel me quite yet.
Likewise smartphones -- my first-gen Droid works great for everything that I do.
Same thing with TVs -- I have a 32" 720p TV. It works great for me, and honestly, I watch virtually no HD content anyway (I don't have cable, and mostly watch DVDs, Hulu, and Netflix streaming).
Duane -- if 1GB is not enough, most of those machines can be upgraded to 2GB for about $50.