Based on past years, however, I do know what I won’t be missing. Some of the, forgive me, stupidest announcements one would care to hear. Plied into neolectrically decorated ballrooms like cattle to a box car, the human condition is trumped by the need to dazzle the assembled press with a company’s latest wares. Don’t get me wrong. As a group, we’re quite easily impressed and perhaps overly polite. Clapping even if the announcement is nothing more than a gilded admission that we’ve reached a new price point, driven there more from the sheer brutality of the marketplace than any altruistic desire of the company to offer more for less. But still, 10% less is 10% less and who are we to look a gift horse in the mouth. We don’t even need an applause light. We’re willing accomplices.
But sometimes, we’re not so nice.
Like the time the press event was standing room only and the manufacturer, one known for their innovation in the field of video, and one who, having shot their wad at CEDIA a few months before, delighted us with a half hour presentation about their static memory in the shape of a stick of Juicy Fruit gum, which, as I predicted then and there, never really caught on. Perhaps they should have used Beech-Nut parity striping.
Then, there was the time another manufacturer, one who apparently had never read a bloody thing we’ve everwritten, who introduced a video display that not only did a dandy job of presenting your video, it also tripped the night fantastic by shooting different colored lights out its behind. Presumably, the set would illuminate your wall with Timothy Leary influenced pastels meant to match the mood of your room to the mood of your movie. I was green, but not with envy.
Of course, there’s also the marketing team who, in a pure panic that their company’s strategic vision has been clouded by cataracts, opiates, or both, relies on denial of the obvious to a room full of critics. Like the TV manufacturer who, years ago when high definition was in its infancy, but after the 16:9 widescreen standard was nevertheless beginning to set in, held their head up high and pronounced that 16:10 was a good enough aspect ratio for anyone and so that’s what their widescreens sets would be. Sometimes the audience is forced to imagine the presenter naked to get through the session without succumbing to laughter.
And then there was the television network who proudly pronounced that the next SuperToiletBowl (there, I didn’t infringe on any trademarks did I?) would be broadcast in (insert deep echoing male announcer’s voice) “Flux 480P HiDetonation.” Never mind the previous two years, other networks had pumped out true high definition broadcasts of the same litigious event. “Hey world, it’s our turn and we’re taking a step backward. Be sure to pick up a press kit on the way out.”