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McAdams On: 2010

The first week of the new year’s been a doozey, starting with a cage match between Time Warner and Fox over retransmission fees. They settled on New Year’s Day after a holiday greeting from Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.). Sinclair and Mediacom also made nice for another year. The first ever trial activation of the national presidential alert system was conducted in Alaska. It worked but for a few glitches, though some informed observers noted that if there is actually ever a need for a presidential alert, no one would be around to hear it.

“Avatar,” in the meantime, broke the $1 billion mark at the box office. James Cameron’s 3D sci-fi epic movie segued nicely into the Consumer Electronics Show, where even Vizio, the Wal-Mart of TV makers, announced a new line of 3D-capable TV sets. Samsung, Panasonic, Toshiba, Sony and JVC did likewise. DirecTV, Discovery and ESPN revealed plans to launch 3DTV networks. This is clearly the year 3D video breaks fully into the mainstream market.

The timing of CES assures an avalanche of tech news during the first week of the year, although Google unveiled its Nexus One on its home turf in Mountain View, Calif. The first Google phone runs on the Google operating system and will eventually transmit on Google’s free spectrum courtesy of the Federal Communications Commission.

It’s good to be Google.

FLO TV meanwhile got into the iPhone while Samsung introduced a handset with mobile DTV reception, and LG said it had one on the way along with a likewise equipped portable DVD player.

Automaker Ford demonstrated a dashboard touch-screen for smartphone app interaction.

In Washington, D.C., meanwhile, two veteran Democratic senators announced their retirement. Sens. Chris Dodd of Connecticut and Byron Dorgan of North Dakota said they wouldn’t see re-election this year.

Across town, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission asked for another month to complete a National Broadband Plan before presenting it to Congress.

Broadcast stocks began to rebound after Sinclair revises its fourth-quarter guidance upward, and NBC appeared to be ending its Jay Leno experiment in prime time.

Congress reconvenes in Week No. 2 of the New Year. Let the games continue...