Companies that participated in the 2006 International CES included makers of televisions, flashlights, vacuum cleaners and virtually anything else imaginable that plugs into the wall or runs on batteries. According to Las Vegas officials, this was the largest convention in the history of Las Vegas conventions. Over 130,000 attended the show, but realistic numbers put the crowds over 200,000 when factoring in support crews for the 2500+ booths on exhibit at the showcase.
Some high notes and points of interest within the television industry include:
- The size of the manufacturer exhibits was extraordinary. It was everything Las Vegas - opulent, extravagant and excessive. Samsung had the largest booth with square footage rivaling that of half a NFL football field. The Las Vegas Convention Center had floor space encompassing more than 65 football fields.
- Manufacturers like Westinghouse, Philips and Panasonic introduced aesthetic ways to incorporate a wall-mounted television into your home decorating motif. Westinghouse and Panasonic used picture framing techniques to create an illusion that the television is nothing more than a large painting on the wall. Philips created a television that doubles as a mirror when not powered on, which is an excellent idea for hanging above a dresser in the bedroom.
- Digitrex, a new LCD manufacturer, debuted at the 2006 CES. They announced a line of 26-46" LCD-TVs that feature Samsung LCD panels. The line is now selling with the exception of the 46" model, which is expected to hit the market during the second quarter of 2006. Digitrex also unveiled wireless technology intended to integrate the PC and TV.
- Wireless technology was a high point for many manufacturers. Systems introduced by companies in the speaker and TV business comprised units designed to create a cable-free home theater audio system or cable-free connectivity between a TV, PC, DVD player and other home theater peripherals.
- Upscaling images to HD-quality was a huge breakthrough for many manufacturers. Some companies like NEC introduced external video processors that would upscale any image to near HD-quality. Others introduced televisions with the video processor upscaling technology built inside the television. NEC boasted that their video processor would even improve the picture of a high definition image.
- Blu-ray and HD-DVD had a presence at CES. Blu-ray manufacturers seemed almost certain it was a matter of time before their technology became the standard high definition DVD destination for consumers. All of that aside, the consumer will soon be able to decide who wins as Toshiba is expected to release its HD-DVD player sometime in March of 2006, while Samsung will be the first Blu-Ray manufacturer to sell its player in stores sometime in April of 2006.
- One of the brightest innovations regarding LCD-TVs was a motion blurring technology included in sets by Pioneer, Philips and Samsung. Their LCD TVs featured a super-clear display of moving images, which means an option now exists for those wanting near complete removal of motion blur on LCD screens. This is just one example at CES of a subtle improvement on existing technology that is essential to the television industry.
- Google and Yahoo! announced plans to begin delivering TV content through their respective Web sites. Will this mark trouble for the traditional providers or a reinvention of the television delivery business?
- Large screen televisions were points of conversation at CES. Several companies displayed prototypes of plasma display panels with screen sizes ranging from 80 to 100 inches. Companies also unveiled LCD televisions with screen sizes over 70 inches. The consumer-level is likely to max out around 80 inches for plasma and LCD. Projectors were also prevalent. Some models of note included LGs wall-mounted projection system and NECs desktop projector that can display a 100-inch image from only 2.5 feet away.
- Suprisingly, perhaps not, but there wasn't a lot of CRT tube or rear projection televisions on display. This probably signals the direction the industry is headed.
Overall, the 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show demonstrated that there is a product for everyone whether it is a front-loading wall-mountable LCD TV/DVD combo by Westinghouse, under-the-cabinet portable screen TV/DVD combo by Cyberhome or a 2006 Award-winning remote control by Philips.
Consumer electronics is a fiercely competitive industry where every manufacturer tries to stake its claim in the marketplace. This works wonders for the consumer because so many manufacturers produce well-conceived products for all price points that will benefit anyone looking to upgrade their current audio and video system.