While there continues to be ongoing industry debate on its future success, the CES clearly had an abundance of major players showing off 3-D television and gaming products, including from Panasonic, Toshiba, Sharp, and others. There was a great opportunity to put the 3-D glasses on in the Da-Lite screen Home Theater, as well as those in the Panasonic, Sharp, and Toshiba booths. A lot of money was spent by the vendors to showcase this new technology in these well-set-up presentations.
Somehow, I neglected to turn in my 3-D glasses at 2 of these locations (I have no idea of how that happened….hmmmm).
The Da-Lite booth featured a nice setup that held about 24 people at a time, complete with Panasonic 3-D projection and respectable 5.1 audio equipment. Graphical presentation of the video shown was stunning.
In the Panasonic booth, a similar setup (obviously featuring their equipment). They showed an impressive video presentation as well.
Finally, in the Sharp booth, more 3-D video was shown, but a lot of emphasis in the demo Theater centered around their vision of the new technology around this new “view of the world” – new projectors, new screens, new media, and even various forms of 3-D glasses.
The common denominator – very impressive viewing and related audio that makes watching almost anything “jump out at you and seem alive”.
The only conclusions from others I asked (including Stuart Sweet, who had seen this on his own at another time at the CES this week) all seemed to echo the same consistent message – “we’ll see how it flies – the whole 3-D glasses part might be a show-stopper”.
THE SECOND BIG THING COMING: More and enhanced Blu Ray.
There were plenty of new players, new features, and new plans for the future.
Panasonic seemed to capture the lion’s share of BD attention at the CES this year, partly due to the onsite release/announcement of their 3 new Blu Ray players, as well as the first portable BD player (DMP-BD15). While the public statements indicated a “mid-to-late 2009” release for these impressive new units, I spoke with “David” there at their booth at some length, who shared that in some parts of the country, the BD35 units had sold out this holiday season completely in inventories, as so the timeframe to refresh supplies (perhaps with the new units) was being reviewed – it could be earlier, or later, depending on other market conditions.
The BD60 was positioned to replace the current DMP-BD35, while the DMP-BD80 will be the next unit upgrading the BD55. Another unit (strange as it seems) was the DMP-BD70, which is a combination Blu Ray and VHS player. Even their rep indicated they weren’t sure how that one would fly in the marketplace.
Sharp, Pioneer, Sony, LG, and Toshiba all had new Blu Ray models being that were scheduled for later in 2009.
Overall, the common thread among these next generation units – new technology that merges in Blu Ray with HD (1080p) download video services (such as Netflix or others).
Interesting enough, these new units all ranged in the $299 - $399 MSRP range, which is lower than in past years. Some are available for pre-order online in places today.
Part II Photos (left to right):
Photo 1: Sharp BD - HP16U new Aquos Player Placard
Photo 2: Sharp BD - HP16U new Aquos Player Front
Photo 3: Sharp BD - HP16U new Aquos Player Supported Formats
Photo 4: Sharp BD - HP16U new Aquos Player Rear
Photo 5: Panasonic DMP - B15_First Portable BD Player
Photo 6: Panasonic DMP - BD60 Player
Photo 7: Panasonic DMP – BD80 Player
Photo 8: Panasonic new Single Chip Video Board and Placard