CES +1: The Return
Rollybags, barkers, and booth babes.
There are three ways to draw attention and traffic to your booth. The first is a time honored method of having someone loud and/or amplified shout interesting sounding things over the din. These barkers have a long history, rarely loved. The second, hardly less passive way, is having scantily clad, attractive women prance around your booth. Being a predominately male industry (though the ratio is changing rapidly), this at the very least slows down would be passers by. The final way, creativly, is having an interesting product.
I honestly think that the unsung heros of CE tradeshows (and most tradeshows in general), are the booth babes. I’d like to use a less sexist term while I praise their profession, but that one is so self explanatory. Booth hostess maybe. These women are hired to dress ridiculously and stand for 9 hours a day while creepy men gawk at them. Really, you’d think that we men in this industry have never seen a real woman before. Oh, wait. . . They are often asked technical questions (seriously) that even the engineers would have difficulty answering, while having seedy, sweaty, shady, men photograph them without asking. Try doing that to some woman on the street. Yet here, that’s somehow “OK.” Then again, if they dressed up the engineers in sexy outfits to draw attention to the booths, I think trade shows would become a lot less frequented.
One last thing, who ever invented rollybags, or at least the morons that thought it a good idea to give them away at shows, should be, well, forced to walk around, over, and bump into all the inconsiderate people that have them. It’s hard enough navigating the throngs of people without the help of the added space taken up by these bags. If I sound bitter (surprise), it’s because it’s after midnight and I’ve been walking all day, being jabbed in the ankles and tripping over rollybags. Though I suppose had there been no rollybags I would have just been tripping over people, but that’s a different neurosis. It was worth it, as I saw a lot of really cool stuff today.
First up was Sharp’s Z20000 1080p DLP projector (pictured). It was purrrrty. They were showing Blu-ray on it. The combo looked incredible. On a 123-inch screen (or so), the extra resolution was really noticeable. Skin texture was the biggest difference. You can count the pores on someone’s face. They also let it slip that the price was going to be about $12000. They were also showing an LCD panel with an alleged contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1. I don’t know about that, but that, but it sure had a great black level. It was mostly a technology statement, but it hints at where LCD could go in the future.
Epson had a 1080p LCD RPTV. It looked really good. They also made it a point to mention that it will accept 1080p on the HDMI and RGB inputs, something that the other manufacturers are mentioning if you press them on it, but certainly not about the current generation of products. I see some irony that two historically computer companies are the only ones that are doing the resolution thing right in the CE world. This set will be out in March, and we’ll hopefully have one in to test around then.
Speaking of companies that do the resolution thing right, HP was talking about a new way to do DLP rear-projection. Instead of the troublesome UHP lamps that everyone uses now, HP (and a few other companies) are going to start using an array or LEDs instead. The obvious benefits are, well, obvious. There will be no bulb to replace, and much longer lifespan. Even if you lose one LED in 50,000 hours, it will just be ever so slightly dimmer, as there are still many other LEDs creating the light. Better still, there should be less power consumption, instant on/off, and less noise (no or quieter fans). But get this; no more color wheel. Instead of shining a white light through a spinning color wheel, you’ll have red, green, and blue LEDs on the array, and flash them instead. How cool is that?
Not to be left behind of the other Big Three plasma makers, Hitachi showed off a 55-inch 1080p panel. Disappointingly there was no word on price or street date. For those that are still interested in picture quality, Hitachi still has three CRT RPTVs in the lineup. Get them while you still can, as they won’t be for too much longer (at least a year, probably more, but not by much).
I saw a bunch more that I’m not going to write up now (being 01:00 and all). But I will in the future. New (ok, not so new) CES motto: “Who needs sleep when you have caffeine!”