At the beginning of this year, I drew the short straw and was rewarded with the first Display Daily of 2010. In a moment of temporary insanity, I decided to make several Peerless Predictions, in homage to the late, great Johnny Carson’s "Carnac the Magnificent."
Well, it’s nearly the end of December and time to pay the piper. Let’s see how well my (liquid) crystal ball worked out:
Prediction #1: We’ll see demonstrations of bi-stable digital signage this year. Wrong! There may have been an actual demonstration of bi-stable digital signs at a technical conference somewhere on this planet in 2010, but I didn’t see it. For now, the digital signage industry is still obsessed with LCDs as they’re plentiful and cheap.
Prediction #2: TV program guides by Google. Nailed it! Well, ’sort of’ nailed it, as Google TV came to market this fall and was picked up by Sony (embedded in TVs) and Logitech (discrete set-top boxes). I say "sort of" because Google TV isn’t a true electronic program guide as much as it is a TV program search engine. But the judges gave this one to me anyway.
Prediction #3: LED-powered 3LCD projectors. Nailed it! Samsung showed their first commercially-available LED-powered 3LCD chassis at CES 2010, while NEC had a 2000-lumens prototype at InfoComm a few months later. The market for this product is still very small, though.
Prediction #4: Movie rentals via SD memory cards. Nailed it! As I reported 12 months ago, NCR was in the midst of a trial rollout of this technology. Now, it’s picked up steam as Blockbuster (of all people) launched SD-memory rentals via kiosks in November, powered by (whom else?) NCR.
Prediction #5: Wireless home-theater-in-a-box. Wrong! While you can find plenty of systems with wireless rear speakers, I have yet to see a completely cord-free 5.1-channel surround -sound audio system at a brick-and-mortar store. Maybe this year?
Prediction #6: Gesture recognition for remote control. Wrong! Wow, I was so sure that Toshiba would get at least one production model of their Cell TV with gesture recognition to market by the end of this year. Of course, they have other problems to worry about, including diminishing market share and profits for LCD TVs, so maybe this got put on the back burner for 2011.
Prediction #7: All-in-one Blu-ray players. Nailed it - sort of. LG rolled out a combination Blu-ray player with WiFi and a 250GB internal HDD at CES. The HDD was ostensibly for recording Vudu programming. This player doesn’t include terrestrial or cable tuners, though. But who needs them when you have Netflix? (For that matter, who needs Vudu?) The judges gave me this one after receiving a small financial consideration…
Prediction #8: TV network widgets. Nailed it, although I have yet to see the CBS, CW, and NBC widgets appear on any new LCD and plasma NeTVs. But it’s only a matter of time as these and other networks realize the value of having both a widget and traditional RF tuner access to their programming.
Prediction #9: OLED-equipped notebooks. Wrong! OLED technology still isn’t quite there, even though Samsung did show a beautiful prototype a year ago at CES. Maybe we’ll get lucky and see one appear in a tablet computer this coming year.
Prediction #10: Metered broadband service. Nailed it - sort of. Cable companies are seriously proposing to charge customers for broadband service by the amount of data they download as more and more video traffic moves to the Web. Time Warner originally floated this idea in 2009 and later backed away from it. But that was before it was estimated that Netflix now accounts for an estimated 20% of all peak-hour broadband traffic in the United States.
So, how’d I do? Looks like the scoreboard is showing 6 for ‘Nailed it’ and 4 for ‘Wrong,’ although you could make a strong argument for a tie at 5-5. (That’s where those ‘financial considerations’ come in handy.)
What about my predictions for 2011? Well, you’ll have to wait two more weeks to hear those, as the backlight just died in my (liquid) crystal ball. (I knew I should have bought one with an LED backlight!) In the meantime, have a Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year…and I’ll see some of you at CES.