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New Dimensions at CES

8 Jan, 2010 By: Thomas K. Arnold

It's been a wild and crazy two days here in Las Vegas, beginning with a most enjoyable cocktail party sponsored by DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group that ended with a bunch of us being holed up in a nearby banquet room watching the Crimson Tide roll all over Texas. I couldn't help but laugh when the goody bags were being handed out -- each bag contained maybe a dozen Blu-ray Discs and two DVDs, and I overheard one person pull out the DVDs and mutter, "What's this?" Granted, this was an industry crowd, but you can see the writing on the wall: DVD will one day soon be looked up much as we now look at VHS. I now firmly believe everything will ultimately be issued on Blu-ray Disc, even vintage TV shows and old black-and-white movies. People will gradually liquidate their DVD collections and go all Blu. Studios may not get the premium pricing they initially wanted, but they surely will get mass library replacements. Once you go Blu, you just don't want anything else anymore.

On the show floor, the big buzz was 3D, commanding center stage at vast booths from Panasonic (which was showing clips of Avatar), Sony, Toshiba and other large CE companies. The buzz was of course intensified with word that Sony Pictures and Walt Disney Studios are both plunging headfirst into 3D. Given 3D's acceptance in movie theaters, I think the home market is primed and ready. I know mine is -- and I'm talking not just about the kids but about me. I love 3D, and frankly I can't wait.

I also want to give kudos to Toshiba for displaying a portable Blu-ray Disc player. The company that for so long backed rival HD format HD DVD is now a true Blu convert and is back to innovating and leading the market. We need a lot more companies making portable Blu-ray Disc players and mobile units for cars, as well. Blu-ray Disc has the upper hand in quality and is now affordable as well. What we need now is flexibility.

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