CES developments pose challenges; present opportunities for TV news

From customizable content delivery to consumer HD camcorders and editing equipment, developments at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week portend change in newsgathering and distribution
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More than 2400 companies showcased their products and technologies at CES 2005.

At last week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the increasingly competitive news milieu in which local television newsrooms must compete was in full view with new distribution avenues and consumer gadgetry that will continue to blur the lines between news creator and news viewer. Among the CES developments:

  • DIRECTV unveiled its new DIRECTV Mix and DIRECTV Active services. The products give customers a high degree of flexibility in creating what they watch. The Mix service lets viewers watch up to six channels on the same screen simultaneously. With DIRECTV News Mix, viewers may choose among MSNBC, CNN, FOX News Channel and other network news sources. DIRECTV Active gives viewers interactive control over demand for information, such as local weather forecasts.
  • SmartVideo Technologies has entered an agreement with Microsoft whereby the software giant will distribute SmartVideo’s live TV lineup to consumers via its WindowsMedia Mobile Portal. Pocket PC, Mobile PDA and Smartphone mobile device users will be able to watch live, fluid, audio-synced television – including news - on the go. Separately, the company announced a licensing agreement with NBC and The Weather Channel to make their programming available as part of its lineup.
  • Samsung Electronics and LG were among the cell phone manufacturers rolling out models with built in video cameras. The two-megapixel Samsung model uses an external memory card to maximize recording time.
  • Sony launched a new VAIO PC to make editing footage shot with its newly released HDR-FX1 high-definition camcorder (HDV) easier.

While the diverse announcements are aimed at accomplishing broader goals, when seen through the filter of television newsgathering and distribution, they spell accelerated change in how television news is likely to be gathered, edited and distributed.

For more information, visit www.ces.org, www.directv.com, www.smarttech.com, www.samsung.com, www.lge.com, www.sony.com.

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