The living room, once the most technologically simple part of the average home, is a high-tech battleground today as the consumer electronics industry seeks to digitize home entertainment and make it available anywhere, anytime, says the Reuters report just published.
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) starting this week will set the agenda of what's in store in 2005 for the digital home-owner - from ultra-high-definition Television screens to music and video recorders and other networked appliances. 120,000 technologists and retailers shall display variety of devices, from 102-inch-wide flat-panel TVs - the world's biggest - to postage-stamp-size hard-disks for music players or phones. "The big trends are home improvement, in-your-pocket-entertainment and personal video choice," said Richard Dougherty of Envisioneering Group in Seaford, New York.
Home improvement refers to the increasingly affordable home-theater systems that combine flat panel displays, surround-sound audio and personal video recorders. Home theaters have gone from luxury status to, 'Hey, I can afford this in my apartment!' status," Dougherty said. In recent years, the Consumer Electronics Show has seen an explosion of innovation from computerized wristwatches to satellite radios and Internet-enabled ovens to digital frying pans. Last year Intel made huge announcements and cancel the projecs later.Not everything that makes a splash at CES actually makes it to store shelves, though. One notable example: Intel Corp.'s much-hyped announcement last year that it would enter the television display business, only to cancel the project a few months later.
Once-costly flat-panel television screens, has been a steady decline in prices. Flat-panel TVs with 32-inch screens are selling for under $1,500, putting pressure on name-brand TV makers who still sell similar models for $3,000 or more, said industry analyst Ross Young. At stake here is a chunk of the flat-panel television market, which is expected to grow to $15 billion in 2005 from $10 billion, according to DisplaySearch estimates.
VHS VS. BETAMAX, ROUND TWO: At stake is the future of the home video industry, increasingly crucial to Hollywood's bottom line. Consumers also face potential confusion as new home entertainment appliances incorporate features that once were sold as separate devices. Flat panel displays may include a personal video recorder, or come with an insertable access card for cable television, instead of a cable converter set-top box, reducing living room clutter. While the focus remains in the living room, also on display will be hot mobile gadgets aimed at the car, air travel and pretty much anywhere a plug is not readily available.