David Schutz on CES trends


The President/Hoffman Schutz Media Capital tells RBR-TVBR the mood at CES was upbeat. “The surge in attendance means companies feel optimistic enough to spend money to send people. The big change this year is the active participation of the auto companies with product announcements normally reserved for auto shows.”

He says between the new electric cars and sophisticated in-dash multimedia systems, they deserved a place there. Another trend, because of so much going OEM, there is an apparent drop in auto after-market companies. “As car electronics are integrated with multiple computers in the car, it becomes very difficult to add after-market accessories.”

In TV, there is one last strong attempt to spur interest in 3-D. Like HD, the driving force will have to be sports. “The industry is trying to reassure itself, saying it has been in the marketplace one year and have eclipsed Bly-Ray, the first eight years of HD and a whole bunch of other consumer electronics. But what will be the compelling element for 3D will be content, content, content. It’s not going to be movies that will drive this thing, it will be content like sports. The coming year will likely make or break 3-D TV in the consumer market. If sales do not ramp up, set makers will question the wisdom of spending big bucks to spur a product consumers have limited interest in.”

A big part of Sony’s presentation at the show centered around ESPN’s commitment to 3D. Said Schutz: “I just came from a presentation with the head of their 3D operation on how they are completely re-doing the staging, etc. of 3D. They are going to fewer cameras, not as a matter saving costs. They are going to very elaborate camera mounting systems like aerial cable flyways with the idea of fewer camera cuts, but trying to maintain the perspective that a hypothetical person who might be able to levitate themselves around a field would see. I’ve noticed that in some of their 3D sports productions, but it looks like they are kind of re-thinking the 3D production model.”

There were some interesting prototypes for 3-D screens that do not require glasses as well. “My initial reaction is that given another year this no-glasses 3-D might get some traction,” he noted.

He said HD Radio had a good spot on the floor but not a lot of traffic. But they did have a larger presence than satellite radio.

Another major trend at the show is, of course the fusion of traditional TV and the computer and Internet. “It is well underway. In two years the term ‘television’ may be somewhat obsolete–replaced by “visual” display.”