From CES: Tablets, Connected TVs, Mobile and Content Security Dominate
January 7, 2011
LAS VEGAS: Cisco’s theme of “Reinventing the TV Experience” not only characterizes
the networking company’s push into home electronics but also offers a glimpse into
a new view of television, which is rampant
at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show.
“What do you wish your TV could do?” asked Cisco CEO John Chambers as he unveiled Videoscape technology, an architecture that
connects TVs to the network for triple play and other services, including social
networking. Videoscape, a small box that sits alongside the cable set-top-box, offers
“infinite sources of content,” Chambers explained, noting that it “recognizes where
the highest quality content is available via cable or Internet streams and
accesses it for the viewer."
Such converged access capability plus the growing expectation that Internet-delivered
content is the future of the TV business permeated CES demonstrations for the largest
TV makers. Samsung announced that it now offers more than 300 video apps on its ’net-connected “Smart TV” models and expects to
sell ore than 9 million of those sets this year--far more than its forecast for
3D set sales. Like other manufacturers, Samsung has scaled back its 3D sizzle this
Several companies demonstrated no-glasses
3D systems and several companies forged the path into lower priced viewing glasses.
LG Electronics, for example, will package four pairs of glasses with its 3D sets
and sell additional pairs for $20 each.
LG, which also uses the “Smart TV” name for its growing ’net TV lineup, introduced
a premium content-sharing solution called “MediaLink,” which gathers appropriate
metadata about viewing patterns to “provide a unified experience,” according to
an LG executive.
Tim Alessi, LG’s director of new product development, said the company would “continue
to partner with content suppliers.”
Wireless and mobile access is a big part of this expansion, with the new tablet devices at the center of CES’s biggest
buzz. With more than 80 new iPad competitors around the show--and Apple officially
absent as usual from the venue--there are a lot of questions about which companies
will survive the tablet wars.
Motorola’s XOOM generated the biggest--and only--“wow” from the audience when Motorola
CEO Sanjay Jha unveiled it during a cameo appearance accompanying the Verizon CEO
Ivan Seidenberg’s keynote presentation on Thursday. XOOM’s price and release date
have not yet been set. And the wow was actually for a high-quality application using
Google Android’s new Honeycomb software for tablets.
Another example of the tablet frenzy is Vizio’s first foray beyond its low-priced
flat-panel TV sets into the tablet sector.
While the role of tablets as media access devices is evolving, another approach
to mobile video is on the march. Mobile
DTV--the broadcast TV version--made several strides at CES.The Open Mobile Video
Coalition created a “Mobile DTV Forum,” with equipment-making members such as LG,
Samsung, Dell and Harris as technology partners.
Among the tech devices at the OMVC display pavilion is a Tivizen dongle for the
iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch devices that incorporates an antenna in the dongle.
The $99 device will be available this spring.
Content deals are rampant here. Time
Warner Cable announced a deal with Sony to make selected content available, using
tru2way middleware on Sony Bravia ’net-connected sets. Separately, Yahoo is working
with cable and broadcast programmers and advertisers such as ABC, CBS, HSN, Showtime
Networks and Ford, to offer enhanced interactive
TV features through broadband-connected television sets and other devices.
The content producing industry remains concerned about copyright protection capabilities. Intel unveiled its latest line of
chips, the “Insider,” which integrates content security along with video processing
capabilities. These second-generation Core processors offer online HD movie protection,
and Warner Bros., Fox, Image Entertainment and other studios and distributors, in
support of the Intel technology, will soon make content available to devices equipped
-- Gary Arlen