My CES Impressions

ScooterS

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Dec 14, 2003
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I've had this posted in the Pub area for a while. I thought that I'd open it up for all. BTW, If you aren't a SatGuys Member, you might give it some consideration. There is alway some great discussion in the Pub and you don't have to keep watching those pesky ads :rolleyes:.



“Everything that can be invented has been invented. -- Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899.”

This was my third CES. Many thanks to Scott and Don for allowing me to hang with the SatGuys Team!

I'm a "quasi-techie," rather than an "ultra-techie" like many of you. Thus, I may have a slightly different perspective.

Like others, I didn't see a lot of major new breakthroughs this year. There weren't a whole lot of "OMG- Why didn't I think of that first" moments.

What I did see was convergence, complication, and a lot of duplication!

It seems that the days of the TV does television, the computer does data, the phone takes calls, and the stereo plays music are long-gone. Every device is a multi-tasker. Vendors are rushing to see how many different technologies they can pile into their pet device. Soon you won't be going to the TV/computer/phone/stereo aisle at the local big box store. You will be going to the large/medium/small aisles. You just pick the size and format that you want for your information appliance and it will all be there for you in one box.

Sirius/XM is probably the best example of this convergence. I can now get their feed through my car, stereo, phone and television.

To accomplish this, vendors continue to pile more and more "stuff" into their new devices. That is great, but the unintended consequence is that each device becomes more complicated to use.

There are still many who are technically challenged. Those who just want to turn on the TV and wach Wheel of Fortune, without going through 12 menus and hearing it in 7.1. If vendors aren't careful, they will spend so much time listening to people like us who "want it all" and will lose a large number of customers who just want a simple interface.

I was pleased to see that Dish has taken heed to this issue. The Hopper and Joey still use the standard Dish remote. The menus are familiar for standard TV viewing. Your long-learned muscle memory lets you change channels, adjust the volume, and pause the DVR without getting out your bifocals to look at the remote. Advanced features then take you to a tile format for selection with the same remote. They have been masterful in blending the basic with converged features.

Competition is stiff in all aspects of every technology market. Those who fail to address these concerns will have difficulty in remaining viable.

For those who haven't attended CES, it is hard to explain the enromity of it all. I took a pedometer. On Wednesday, I walked more that 11 miles and probably saw half of the exhibits, moving at warp speed. The exhibits take up dozens of football fields. Now imagine 10 of those football fields taken up with with large and small booths hawking IPhone/IPad/Android, etc. cases. Think of another 5 fields full of earphone manufacturers. It is difficult to see how a majority of these companies have made it to CES and how they can continue to survive. Yes, there is a market full of opportunity. However, it can only sustain so much. I suspect there will be a significant "thinning of the herd" in the coming years.


Disappointingly, some major players like Direct TV and D-Link didn't have a significant presence at the show. Yes, it costs millions to attend and it may not seem like it is worth it. However, it is much like the politician who asked his staffer whether he really needed to attend a firehouse BBQ. The staffer replied, I don't know that it will help you much if you go, but it sure will hurt you if you don't!


Did I need to go to to CES?- Nope. Did I learn much?- A little. Did I have a lot of fun?- You Bet!
 

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