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Industry Evolution Continues at CES

2 Jan, 2006 By: Kurt Indvik

As the New Year dawns over the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week, the evolution of next-generation home entertainment continues.

In this week's issue of Home Media Retailing, we look at several trends that will be on the minds of home entertainment executives as they make their way through the din of CES.

This week, the two competing next-gen, high-definition disc technologies — Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD — will continue their battle at CES with competing press events. Hopefully, we'll get more specific plans about their 2006 launches. Earlier in 2005, HMR ran a seven-part series detailing the differences between the two formats. This issue presents a special section on developments in Blu-ray, which has emerged, arguably, as the leader in the format race. Garnering the lion's share of studio and CE support, along with the huge installed base potential when PlayStation 3 ships this year, Blu-ray supporters intend to leverage this support and gain momentum over what has been, of late, a faltering HD DVD campaign. I hope we'll see the light at the end of the format war tunnel by the time CES closes.

Meanwhile, digital entertainment is being accessed and played on an ever-increasing variety of platforms and formats inside and outside the home, and these, too, will be top-of-mind at CES. Two articles look separately at the battle for the home media hub and the mobile entertainment space, which are being transformed in a dizzying combination of content and technology deals.

Will the PC or some new form of media center emerge as the digital entertainment hub of the home, or will they co-exist in the convergent household? How does packaged media fit into this picture? Is the mobile entertainment space becoming more than just an extension of the home entertainment portal, evolving into its own media platform with its own set of exclusive content and audience?

The evolution of the next generation of home entertainment still has more questions than answers. I think 2006 will mark a significant turning point in home entertainment that begins this week at CES.

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