The first full week of 2010 is off to an auspicious start. CES is just days away, and my inbox has been deluged with press releases and requests for meetings in Las Vegas to see the latest CE gadgets.
Most of the news isn’t unexpected. There will be plenty of 3D demos at the show, along with 3D delivered via Blu-ray and broadband. The usual plethora of OLED TVs will be out for inspection, but still not ready for prime time.
eBook readers will have their own pavilion at the show and are expected to draw huge crowds. Ditto the next generation of all-in-one cell phones, particularly Google’s open source Android platform. And LCD and plasma TVs will continue to get skinnier and cheaper.
Insight Media will make sure you receive ample coverage of these and other product announcements during CES. So for today’s DD, I decided instead to try something different. I’m going to pull out my liquid crystal ball (S-IPS, of course) and give you a list of Pete’s Peerless Predictions for 2010…ten products and trends that I’m 99% (almost) certain will materialize between now and December 31st.
Bi-stable digital signage: As more and more signs move from paper and film to LCDs and LEDs, power consumption will become a big issue. Larger format bi-stable digital displays are one answer to the problem, particularly in applications where maps and text sit on screens for long periods of time. Will we see prototypes demonstrated this year? I think so.
TV program guides by - Google? The market for NeTVs is growing faster than anyone expected. Parks Associates estimated that 400,000 NeTVs would be sold by the end of 2009, but TV manufacturers have told me the actual number will be well over a million. In 2010, we’ll see the first NeTVs equipped with full-blown Web browsers for locating any and all video content on the Internet…and don’t be surprised if the channel and program guide interface is provided by our friends at the "Big G."
LED-powered 3LCD projectors: Why should the DLP camp have all the fun? Look for the first models to appear this quarter, with more to come at InfoComm 2010. We may also see an LCoS-equipped model later in the year, as projector manufacturers try to push short-arc lamps onto the endangered species list.
Movie rentals via SD cards: Technically, this trend started in 2009 with a trial rollout by NCR. But we’ll see it pick up plenty of steam this year as DVD sales continue their 5+ year decline and Blockbuster moves to shutter most of its stores in favor of self-serve kiosks at the end of grocery store and drugstore checkout lines.
Wireless home theater in a box: This will be a big trend in Q4 of 2010. Consumers will find affordable, wireless "plug and play" surround sound systems to go with that new big screen TV that they bought at Costco or Sears for Christmas.
Gesture recognition for remote control: Yes, I know this has been demonstrated many times at CES and CEATEC, but this is the year we’ll see the first so-equipped TVs come to market. Why? Because TV prices continue to slide, and manufacturers need a new feature for which they can charge a premium. (It will be an elementary implementation of the technology, to be sure.)
All-in-one Blu-ray players: The BD format hasn’t really taken off like it could have, despite what the Digital Entertainment Group claims. Lower prices for BD players have helped, but what’s really needed is a combo DVR/BD-RE player that receives cable, terrestrial, and Internet channels. I predict we will see a demonstration of this product before year’s end, assuming the DRM boogeyman doesn’t scare manufacturers away.
TV network "widgets": For terrestrial broadcast TV to survive, stations and networks need to integrate their delivery models with NeTVs, and widgets are just the trick to make it happen. Look for a major TV network to announce a deal with one or more TV manufacturers sometime this year to bring enhanced content to NeTVs through widgets…and possibly also support side-loading of video content to handheld devices through the TV’s USB port.
OLED-equipped netbooks: Netbooks are a disruptive technology and will lead the way to a new level of "cloud computing," as laptop PC sales start tailing off in 2010. What could be a better choice for such a cutting-edge product than AM OLEDs? (Or, for that matter, the handheld devices that will replace them by the end of the decade?)
Metered broadband service: Cable TV companies and wireless broadband providers like Clear will start agitating for "pay by the bit" subscriptions in 2010. For cable MSOs in particular, this tactic will be an unpopular but necessary defensive measure against losing channel tier subscribers to Internet video streaming and downloads.
There you go - ten for 2010. I’ll revisit this list in December, by which time I expect to have acquired a case of temporary amnesia. Off to CES…