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The real opening day of CES

LAS VEGAS--The exhibits at the Consumer Electronics Show don't start until tomorrow, so I got here yesterday.

The day before the International CES show floor at the Las Vegas Convention Center opens is filled by press conferences by companies exhibiting here, followed by Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer's keynote. CES Day Minus One is also a good day to trade guesses about what themes will emerge during the rest of this show, organized by the Arlington-based Consumer Electronics Association.

(CES exhibits run through Sunday, but most people depart by Saturday. I'll be among them.)

Here are my predictions for this year's CES -- the 13th in a row (!) I've covered:

* 3D TV. TV manufacturers and networks like ESPN and the Discovery Channel are working to bring three-dimensional effects to (new, painfully expensive) TVs at home. See Frank Ahrens' story in today's Post for a more detailed summary of the moves afoot. Me, I'm looking forward to seeing manufacturers' reps explain how they plan to convince people who just shelled out $1,000 or more on a new flat-panel HDTV set to junk that for a much pricier 3D set.

* E-readers and tablets. The device in this category that seems to be drawing the most commentary -- the tablet that Apple will supposedly introduce later this month -- won't be anywhere in sight here, but plenty of other manufacturers will be showing off hardware to read e-books and other content, such as Web pages. Foremost among them: Microsoft, which the New York Times reports will demonstrate a tablet device developed with Hewlett-Packard during the Ballmer keynote this evening. (I'll be live-blogging it; stop by here at 9:30 Eastern/6:30 Pacific for the festivities.)

* Web media on your TV. This has been a major theme of CES for the past few years, but the slowly increasing availability of movies online -- not to mention the already good access to TV shows and music on the Web -- makes this an ever-more logical feature to add. I'm hoping that this year Web-enabled HDTVs and Blu-ray players will also include WiFi; bridging a wireless network to Ethernet with a router under the TV can be a bit of a pain.

* Smartphones. Well, duh. Why would the story of 2009 not continue to be the story of 2010? I expect to see a wide variety of upcoming devices, in particular those running Google's Android software. (That's good for me, since I am in the market for a new phone.)

I also expect to see progress on the tru2way digital-cable-compatibility standard (we'd better see that, given all the screwups to date in that area), energy efficiency in devices of every size, and location-aware technologies that let gadgets react to their locale. One thing I don't expect to spot anywhere: Blu-ray recorders that could give you a permanent copy of a TV show.

What else would you like me to look for on the show floor this week? Post your requests in the comments, and I'll see what I can find out there.

By Rob Pegoraro  |  January 6, 2010; 7:15 AM ET
Categories:  CES 2010 , Computers , Gadgets , Music , TV , Video  
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Next: Liveblogging the Steve Ballmer CES keynote (2010 edition) -- HP Slate, Bing, Blio and more


See if any new netbooks catch your eye, since you've been generally unimpressed with the models you've reviewed thus far.

Posted by: Miles_Standish_Proud | January 6, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Web media on TV, as you mention. I have a Roku box for Netflix. What else can I do?

Any new antenna technologies for over-the-air DTV.

Posted by: jethro1 | January 6, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

One more thing. Mobile DTV.

Posted by: jethro1 | January 6, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

How about tuners/receivers with wi-fi?

Posted by: danboleo | January 6, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

(by that I mean, stereo components that can be easily incorporated into a home stereo/theater system and connected to real speakers and receive Internet radio stations and streaming audio services like Pandora.)

Posted by: danboleo | January 6, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Any affordable technologies for transferring HD (mini) video tapes to HD-DVDs for play back in Blu-ray players. The only way to see the tapes at high resolutiion currently is by playing them thru the video-cam.

Posted by: Sanj | January 6, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

How about digital TV antenna, to replace old rabitt ears, that can actually get local channels rather than 62.1, 62.2 and 62.3.

Posted by: ajaxthewonderdog | January 6, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to learn more about MIFI and other products in that arena.

Posted by: mbaiforms | January 6, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

New Tivo (truway)? New Verizon FIOS DVR?

Posted by: filmjoy | January 6, 2010 11:34 PM | Report abuse

What are prospects for wireless mobile two-way videoconferencing?

Posted by: rhsnew | January 7, 2010 12:08 AM | Report abuse

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