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Now Accepting CES Coverage Requests

A month from today, the Consumer Electronics Show will open in Las Vegas. But I've already received more than 100 PR pitches about this show, the largest technology convention in the United States.

Almost every one of those e-mail messages has started with a request to book an appointment to see a company's booth at the show. With only three days to do that, accepting all those requests is a logistical impossibility. It's difficult enough to set aside blocks of time for the large vendors with massive exhibits, the likes of Panasonic, Samsung and Sony; for everybody else, all I can do is promise to look for them when I'm in their corner of the Las Vegas Convention Center or CES's other exhibit areas.

What I can do, however, is keep my eyes open for particular areas of technology to see what's developing in those categories--and you can help me out with that. Here are some of the tech topics on my list:

* Flat-panel TVs: How much cheaper can they go, and what extra functions will manufacturers build into them to differentiate their hardware from that of competitors? Will OLED technology--a promising but insanely expensive competitor to LCD and plasma--no longer be limited to a single, $2,500 Sony set?

* Media receivers: How many more companies will be selling wirelessly-networked devices that play music and movies stored on your computer or served up from the Internet? Will any of these interoperate with competing products and services?

* Netbooks: There's plenty of room for improvement in this category of cheap, ultralight laptop--so who will provide it?

* Smartphones: Will we see new devices running Google's Android software? How many phones will bear a suspicious resemblance to a certain gadget sold by Apple that rhymes with "myphone"?

* Blu-ray players: Will the price gap between them and DVD players narrow notably?

What else should I be looking for at CES? Post your requests in the comments, and I'll keep them in mind as I start to put together my show schedule.

By Rob Pegoraro  |  December 8, 2008; 1:07 PM ET
Categories:  Gadgets , The business we have chosen  
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Comments

I'm becoming more and more interested in media centers. I've started toying with the idea of ditching cable and going to using a combination of OTA transmissions, DVR, Netflix, and some sort of media center (Boxee on AppleTV, maybe).

Anything could get closer to the holy grail all-in-one-box would almost definitely push me over the edge.

Posted by: jerryravens | December 8, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Two requests: 1) Anything new on the WiMax front? 2) I would love, love, love a true, easy to use cable-over-the-internet system. Any upcoming offerings?

Posted by: bfehrman | December 8, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

I'm interested in any technology that is a credible replacement for CRTs in terms of color, response time, viewing angle, and clarity across resolutions, since I still believe that a good Sony CRT outperforms all plasma screens and practically all LCDs. Is there any hope?

Posted by: bokamba | December 8, 2008 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Anything in the HAM radio field would also be of interest.

K3MYI

Posted by: brucerealtor@gmail.com | December 9, 2008 5:07 AM | Report abuse

1. WiMax developments would be of particular interest to us readers in outlying suburbs. Will this be feasible for individuals or small businesses and community groups to set up on their own?

2. Interesting questions to ask when looking at media extender devices are how they expect to succeed with internet-based entertainment sources if ISP's impose usage caps? Doesn't sound like any of these products can succeed for long if they can't get support from ISP's or work together on expanding and managing bandwidth.

Posted by: annanemas | December 9, 2008 8:27 AM | Report abuse

I'm always interested in WiMAX and any related technologies that replace the "last mile" into the home, hopefully providing real alternatives and competition for Internet access.

Posted by: sniz15 | December 9, 2008 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Ebook readers. Anything like the Kindle, but cheaper? What about a version that can handle color?

PMPs (portable media players) like the Archos. Larger screen than the iPhone, so that those of us with older eyes can use it. How low are flash memory prices going to get? Will we see 256Gb+ solid state drives at a low enough cost for use in PMPs? Or will the PMP end up being folded into the ultra-portable laptop category like the Eee?

Posted by: wiredog | December 9, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

How about technologies that create entirely new categories with their introduction to market? What about an emphasis on the CES 2009 Innovations Design and Engineering award winners, especially those in our own backyard?

As an example, Reston-based Cernium is launching Archerfish at CES as the next evolution in personal place-shifting technology. Archerfish will totally change how you interact with video by letting you be in several places at once, virtually. It is a clear example of the infusion of a new market space called Mobile Video Intelligence, that combines the Web and locally-developed (and patented) intelligent software to push user-defined event video to your mobile device. (www.myarcherfish.com)

Thanks,
Craig Chambers, CEO, Cernium Corporation

Posted by: CraigChambers | December 9, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

I'm interested in the technology behind media receivers. The Internet wasn't built to handle the amount of video that it now populates with undoubtedly more on the way. What will be the technological and policy implications of this? Will the computer replace the TV in the living room? It has in our household.

Posted by: ekatherine | December 9, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

4K. Check out Meridian and others. Makes Blu ray and 1080p look like vintage 1950's TV in comparsiion.

Posted by: omarthetentmaker | December 9, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

I recommend you look into the Memjet printing technology.

Full disclosure. I am their PR consultant who resisted the temptation to be send one of those "more than 100 PR piches." But now here's the pitch now: Memjet promises to deliver a new level of printing speed (60 ppm), cost-effective operation, and environmental benefits to the printing industry.

You can get a good idea of the technology's speed at http://www.memjet.com/pages.aspx?id=videoimages.

I'd be happy to arrange a demo and interview. They'll be at the Venetian, not the show floor. Thanks. kay@communicationsplus.net

Posted by: kay7 | December 10, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I would be looking for the new phones with folding screens. They have screens about four times the size of current phones. Once we get those, we truly will have internet access in our pockets.

Posted by: bill70 | December 11, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Hearing Assistance Technology - particularly bluetooth products that work with hearing instruments. I know at least one company - ClearSounds Communications - will have a booth.

Posted by: hebert64 | December 11, 2008 10:26 PM | Report abuse

1. Anything on new technology for DSLR's. How high will megapixels go?

2. Future of Home Theater- Sound processing, equipment, etc.

Thx!

Posted by: jbriganc | December 12, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Would love to see coverage for:

1) legacy media conversion systems (slides, tapes--video and audio, vinyl, etc.) to digital. Looking for fast, reliable, inexpensive and all-in-one!
2) Porting internet/pc to HDTV, wirelessly.

Thanks!

Posted by: getagrip1 | December 12, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

hebert64 asks about hearing assistance technology -- Viable, Inc. launched a videophone at CES last year that was developed with universal design principles in mind and is being marketed to the hearing loss community. I checked and they're returning to CES with a bluetooth-enabled version. They're also local, headquartered in either Bethesda or Rockville, and is almost entirely a deaf-run business of more than 100 employees.

Posted by: guyfawkes1605 | December 12, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

How about doing a feature on inspiring DC local entrepreneur's who are making the trip out to CES to launch their innovative, fashion forward, never seen before multimedia accessories?

For example, BloomingBuds (www.mybloomingbuds.com) is the brain child of Alexandria, VA resident, Chip Lowry, who is a political direct mail writer by day, and a creator by night. His inspiration came from his passion for fitness. As an avid cyclists and music lover, he was inspired by the idea to craft fashionable and customized Blooms in which you can attach to headphones - promoting individuality and self-expression. Think of the concept as Jibbitz for your headphones.

Since the introduction of the iPod by Apple, the way we listen to music has been radically changed. As its popularity has grown the MP3 players have evolved, incorporating video, games and other applications.

Yet one item has remained virtually unchanged since the iPod-revolution began, the OEM earphones supplied with MP3 players. These bland white earbuds have converted tens of millions of men, women, boys and girls into a roving band of zombie clones…suppressing individualism and muting self-expression.

People spend hours building a playlist that defines their personal preferences, then put on earbuds that virtually erase their individuality.

BloomingBuds is for those fashion-forward individuals who want to express themselves through their daily lifestyle accessories. The assortment of Blooms attachments offered is expansive, giving users dozens of options to wear in pairs or mix and match. New Bloom designs will be added, such as a stylish line of Bling Blooms and clever 3D designs.

With the mission to follow in the foot steps of brands like Crocs, Beanie Babies and others who had a simple idea and successfully reached a broad audience with fun, desirable products.

Look after and support the little guys and inspiring local small businesses who are making the trip to Vegas with bold ideas!

Posted by: MTPBB | December 12, 2008 9:20 PM | Report abuse

I'm looking for that ultimate Home Theatre PC (HTPC) that can record multiple OTA signals in HD a la Tivo/ReplayTV, surf the Web, watch Hulu/Youtube from my couch, burn programs to DVD's, show photos, play music. The Swiss Army knife...LOL.

{since I don't expect any mfgr to build one to meet my specs and price range, I've already embarked on a DIY. Just hope to have it done by the Feb switch to digital TV}

Posted by: bsi87 | December 14, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I'd also like to see how the US can make broadband available nationwide in public places like Meraki or Fon or some other affordable means.

{My small town city manager considers Wifi cutting edge...LOL}

Posted by: bsi87 | December 14, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

baby-boomer audiophile interested in hi-end Bluetooth A2DP headphones for listening over wireless to digital music stored in lossless FLAC format, or soundtrack properly synced to Blu-ray/DVD movie screened on flat-panel TV

Posted by: apt-X | December 15, 2008 6:01 AM | Report abuse

hey Rob,
how about the smart home enabling technologies that can help solve the upcoming aging tsunami (silver tsunami).

GrandCare Systems was designed to keep a senior independent, healthy, safe & happy while remaining at home. Using a variety of wireless x10, zwave & bluetooth activity (motion, temp, door, bed, etc.) & telewellness (weight, blood pressure, glucose) sensors, cognitive assists & incoming communications to the senior's television.
Remote caregivers simply log in to the grandcare website and can view the graphs while setting up alert parameters and instructions. Meanwhile family can send pictures, messages, emails, calendar appointments, games & more to a dedicated channel on the resident's TV or an interactive touchscreen interface.

GrandCare Systems is exhibiting in the Digital Health TechZone - booth 74448C.

This year, CES is hosting a Silvers Summit on Saturday 1/10. GrandCare Founder, Charlie Hillman will be speaking on a panel in the "Home for Life" track

THANKS!

Posted by: grandcare | December 15, 2008 6:29 PM | Report abuse

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