It is very easy to get lost at CES when there are 2,700 exhibitors displaying 20,000 consumer electronics products. From the sentiment on the show floor, I gathered the following interesting trends:
- The year of 1080p displays: The wait is over for true HD sets. 2007 will see a plethora of HD displays from every consumer electronics manufacturer. And these displays will support full 1080x1920 format. You should see price per inch dropping dramatically this year (could be up to 50%). Expect 50" or larger sets for $1,000-$2,000. Major race for supremacy in rear-projection microdisplays is going to be along two dimensions, technology and size. Of course we all know about LCD and Plasma. There was plenty of action around DLP and DLP/LED (LEDs replacing the lamp in a DLP set). Toshiba and Oliviashowed off their big-screen LCoS displays while Sony had plenty to show with their SXRD technology. And then there is my favorite, OLED displays from Sony. With a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio, you will never want to look at another display again. Sony still has ways to go on the yield (read: cost effectiveness) and making the technology work for larger displays. But if the technology works as exhibited on 27" and smaller sets, this will be dramatic.LCD displays of 100" or more were are display from LG, Sharp and Samsung. Expect more through the year. Plasma and DLP sets have been available in larger sizes for a while, expect price drops in 2007.
- Who needs wires anyway: Another interesting trend in 2007 is going to be wireless technology maturing for home entertainment environment (read: getting ready for primetime in consumer products). No, I am not talking about WiFi or WiMax. I am talking about wireless HD, UWB and some proprietary technologies in 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz at display from RCA and other manufacturers. Pretty amazing when you can get rid of all the cables betweenyour A/V receiver, A/V components and thetelevision (I still sweat when I have to get behind my large screen television set to make cabling changes). Of course, 802.11n will get ratified and integrated in various consumer products.How about wireless power? I am not kidding. Two companies, WildCharge and Fulton Innovation demonstrated their gear to power up mobile devices. I found Fulton's eCoupled technology transfers power through the air over short distances, using adaptive inductive coupling (for more tech-savvy readers, this technology is also used with passive RFID sensors). No, you won't get electrified:-). Rather than me describing all this fun stuff, read it all here. Expect this technology to take off in 2007 for specific low-power applications.
- Who wins the format war, Blu-ray or HD-DVD: Now, I have watched the format war in last 18 months or so with lot of amusement. Obviously computer manufacturers getting into consumer electronics has posed a threat to old-time consumer electronics manufacturers (oh! did you hear that Apple Computers is now Apple Inc. because Apple is now a consumer electronics company). While CE manufacturers backed Blu-ray, computer manufacturers (HP, Intel andMicrosoft included) got behind HD-DVD. Movie studios is another story (Warner Bros tried to help with the announcement of dual-mode disks).So whois going to win in 2007? How about Apple? If Apple is successful with its Apple TV product, it is not gonna matter if you are in Blu-ray camp or the HD camp. We will all get our good ol' mpeg. Watch out for Apple's moves in this area and all the content deals they will sign up with movie studios. This will be one of the most fascinating trends of 2007 (besides iphone).
So here it is folks. There is lot more innovation happening out there but these three grabbed my attention for2007. Let me know what you think!