CES 2012

Photos from International CES 2012

Samsung 55-inch OLED television at CES

Shot at International CES 2012. A glimpse of the 55-inch televisions with organic LED screens that Samsung plans to sell later this year. I muted the audio in the video on purpose; it was really harsh on the ears.

Is "The Force" strong with this strategy?

Volkswagen unleashed its marketing power during Super Bowl XLV on Sunday night, transporting viewers-in spirit-to a time long, long ago to their make-believe days. An anonymous child in costume romps through a house while wearing an oversized Darth Vader helmet in an attempt to quixotically use The Force, courtesy of George Lucas, to move household objects.

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Apps coming to your living room

Looking past the smoke and digital mirrors (Samsung, that trippy display still haunts me) of CES, there some substantial changes laid out by the presenters.

Many consumer electronics companies already offer access to Netflix movies via Ethernet connections on Blu-ray players and televisions. A few even have widgets for Twitter and Facebook.

But the next phase is open development of apps for television. The wireless industry embraced this concept some time ago and now the TV industry is following suit. Samsung for one said they will be seeking apps from third-party developers. Others are likely to adopt this approach as well.

But as the television becomes more like Apple Inc.‘s iPhone, one must wonder if the apps will be worth it. There are plenty of questionable mobile apps on the market, many are purely for entertainment purposes.

As we kill more time with these apps, it begs the question of whether or not the original medium matters anymore.

Consider smartphones and their brethren. The companies sell us on MP3 playback, video and oooooooooooooooh live TV on your phone!

And you can also talk on them too…

Now we bring the same action to TV in the home. Update Facebook, send tweets and who knows what else from your couch.

Oh and by the way, you can watch shows on your television too…

Are we THAT bored with talking to each other?

Do we no longer care what’s on new on “Desperate Housewives”?

Must we look to apps to guide us through the new decade?

Actually there is an app for that. It gives you random pieces of advice whenever you shake your mobile phone.

If they figure out how to implant that app directly into your brain, we may all turn into bobblehead dolls.

Back from the CES trenches

The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is still running in Las Vegas today, but I’m back home with my head spinning from the experience. The show saw a hefty amount of one-upmanship as the major electronics companies pushed their new 3D television offerings as well was super slim LED screens.

Much talk was made early in the week about the Google Nexus One wireless phone, the latest challenger to iPhone’s spot as the market darling. Google’s timing of the release, days before the kickoff for CES, is barely coincidental. While not featured at CES, I did briefly eyeball one while visiting an app developer from New Jersey that was delighted to show off its software running on the device.

You can read more about that next week when I’m back on the clock at NJBIZ.

For now, here’s my overview of CES: As much as the audience cooed over the displays of 3D for home television, the question of content and usage remains. This is hitting the market with high-end LED TVs and require the use of glasses to witness the effects.

A few naysayers at CES groused about such limitations, displeased with the ongoing use of glasses, no matter how they are styled. The major consumer electronics companies may be taking a group gamble on this technology as they ALL rolled out 3D television models in HD that are on the way to the market this year, many by the spring.

Consumer adoption may come through sheer force of will via marketing. And let’s be honest, the TV market needs something to make it exciting again as the public spends more time worshiping their smartphones. The fight to win audience to the 3D TV format is not going to be like VHS vs. Betamax or Blu-ray vs. HD DVD. It may come down to old vs. new. More like standard definition Tv vs. HD.

The marketing pressure to adopt 3D TVs may make current HDTVs seem so last decade. Unfortunately there is no natural way to convey the visual effects of 3D on this blog! I recommend you have a look for yourself when these screens arrive at local shops. Ultimately it will come down to user preference.

But what is any new format without content to drive it? The first 3D Blu-ray movie, “Monsters vs. Aliens”, was hand delivered to Samsung by Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of Dreamworks Animation, during a press conference prior to the opening of CES. Beyond video on disc, content will be available from DirecTV at least through Panasonic for starters.

The ultimate test of 3D TV adoption may be whether the public wants to put on those glasses to watch the Super Bowl live. Not saying the Super Bowl will be broadcast in this format, but that is the kind of audience the consumer electronics companies are likely eager for.

There were many other technologies on display at CES beyond TV, saw some new e-readers and some rather interesting developments with organic LED screens. However TV got the big push from the tech makers this year.