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CES 2009: Web TV Is Common Thread with LG, Netgear, Toshiba

by David Mercer | Jan 08, 2009

LG kicked us off this morning with a bullish presentation after announcing 16% US revenue growth in 2008. A variety of new technologies were confirmed, including 60GHz WirelessHD connectivity, 3D processing chips that will be ready for future 3D formats, TruMotion 240Hz (which combines 120Hz with backlight switching to create a 240Hz effect), LED backlighting (which gives a 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio), and 25mm thin LCD TVs. The hot LG story is around its deals with internet content providers. Netflix, Youtube, Yahoo and other providers will appear as menu options on a range of connected devices, including TVs. LG also introduced an 802.11n BD player, one of the few integrated wireless enabled BD players on the market. Netgear also gave a strong performance, centered around its ITV2000 internet TV player, launching in summer 2009 at $199. This is a compact, pocket-sized set-top box which will give access to web content, including the inevitable Youtube, without the need for PC connectivity. Netgear also introduced its Digital Entertainer Elite, priced at $399 and available in February. This device incorporates a 500GB HDD and plays HD video at “up to Blu-ray quality”. I suppose that means something close to Blu-ray if the wind is blowing in the right direction. Toshiba, rather strangely, began their press conference by highlighting their leadership in “TV combos”, ie combined TV/DVD players. Not exactly technology innovation, but I suppose they had to find a market leadership story to start with. The new stuff focused on the introduction of internet widgets in TVs and other devices from the likes of Intel, Yahoo and Microsoft. Toshiba highlighted a number of content service providers on their presentation material, including Myspace, CinemaNow, Yahoo and CBS, but the fine print indicated that these names were shown “for demonstration purposes only”, suggesting that partnership deals are still at the negotiation stage. Toshiba’s approach to internet content is based on Microsoft platforms such as the Media Center PC, which is not surprising given its stronghold in the PC market. In the TV space, Toshiba announced the introduction of Dolby Volume, which balances volume levels across different TV channels so that viewers don’t have to keep adjusting volume levels. Dolby told me the technology has been a success in Japan for the past year and is now making its way to the US and Europe. Toshiba also indicated that the long-awaited Cell TV is on the horizon. Using the Cell processor at the heart of the PS3, this will be launched in 2009. Cell TV could allow 6 simultaneous HD streams to be recorded, support the next generation of 4k x 2k panels and allow for 3D graphical interfaces. Client Reading: IFA 2008: Internet and 3D Offer Hope During Europe's CE Recession Add to Technorati Favorites
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