The show will be slightly smaller than last year, with about the same number of attendees (110,000, say organizers) and in a smaller space (down to one convention center). Still, with 2,300 exhibitors, that’s probably about 2,200 more than I’ll be able to meet.
What’s the big news for TVs this year? Show organizers say 3D TVs (yes, with goggles), which were also noted by the Los Angeles Times on Sunday. There’s even a special 3D Tech Zone in the main hall of the convention center.
“That functionality will become ubiquitous on every TV in the market,” predicted Tara Dunion, senior director of communications for the Consumer Electronics Association, which organizes the annual event.
Market researcher DisplaySearch forecasts that the 3D TV industry will hit $17 billion in revenues by 2018 and sell 64 million TVs, up from a mere 200,000 last year.
But 3D goggles? Yes, the movie Avatar was a huge hit, but will consumers really want to keep track of a pair of glasses? That’s pretty much the only way you can watch a 3D TV today.
“We have seen some solutions where you can put a screen over the monitor and make it 3D-enabled but for the most part, we’re still talking the glasses,” Dunion said. “We’re equating 3D with where HDTV may have been seven to 10 years ago. There will be some cool sporting events and more and more content coming. The glasses issue will be resolved in some consumer friendly fashion.”
Irvine-based Mitsubishi Digital Electronics has been selling a 3D TV since 2007. The TVs are a niche product for gamers or folks who want to watch the limited number of 3D movies available, like Hanna Montana, Beowolf, Journey to the Center of the Earth and Fly to the Moon. And yes, you still need glasses to get the best experience. Are people really going to be using 3D with glasses in the future?
David Naranjo, director of product development for Mitsubishi Digital Electronics, says yes.
“The 3D cinema experience has shown that if the eyewear is comfortable and form fitting, and the content is compelling and immersive, consumers will use the 3D glasses. The new 3D Avatar movie has grossed over $200 million due the content being very compelling and immersive. Consumers are more than willing to wear glasses in order to have an immersive experience. Our own qualitative and quantitative data also bears this out,” Naranjo said.
He doesn’t expect 3D TVs to remain a niche, but the key is content. As Hollywood expands into more 3D movie production, pretty soon such technology will be part of everyday life. After all, a decade ago, few people owned an HDTV and those who did spent outrageous amounts of money. Today, HDTVs are widely available and comparably affordable.
“Similar to HDTV, compelling and entertaining content will drive consumers to adopt the new technology and experience,” he added.
I’ll be checking out Mitsubishi’s 3D offerings, which includes a new 3D adapter to help a 3D Blu-ray player properly display on a TV. Also just announced, the first 3D HDTV from Vizio, another Irvine TV company. The new 72-inch XVT Pro Full HD3D is another TV packed with features, including built-in wireless HDMI, wireless networking for Internet access and LED technology.
Readers: Send me feedback on the show about what you’d like me to check out. I’ve got a full schedule but if I get questions, I’ll make some attempt to get them answered. Best way to reach me is e-mail: email@example.com.
Links to more CES 2010 coverage will be posted below: