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2007 CESIt seems every writer out there loves writing predictions, so I can only assume it's because readers love reading them. Or perhaps it's just because writers want to be right and say "I told you so". Well in that same spirit, I thought I would take a stab at some CES 2007 predictions. I realize some of these may be obvious, or no-brainers, but I think I've stuck my neck out on a couple as well. These are in no particular order:

Remember, these are predictions only, not announcements!

DirecTV Announces Expanded HD Package - It won't be the 150 National channels everyone is hoping for, but with their new satellites going up this spring, expect them to announce an expanded HD package that will go live this summer. Specifically, expect National Geographic, owned by News Corp just like DirecTV. Also expect some additions as a result of DirecTV's new largest shareholder: Liberty Media. LM owns Starz and Encore, so it would seem natural for DirecTV to announce carriage of their HD networks as well.

HD DVD Camp Announces Additional Studio Support - Sure, maybe not Sony Pictures or Columbia Tri-star ... but the buzz is that the HD DVD camp will be adding a studio or two to their stable. It would be really nice if they would also add a manufacturer or two, but I don't think I'm bold enough to predict that.

Samsung Announces 2nd Generation Blu-ray Player - There's no buzz about this one, but it's the right time. Their player has been on the market about as long as the first-gen Toshiba's were when they announced their 2nd gen. Perhaps something supporting HDMI 1.3.

Microsoft Announces 2nd Generation Xbox 360 Console - OK, this may be way out there, but they need an update to support HDMI before the studios start enabling ICT and blocking all of us Xbox360 add-on owners from viewing glorious HD. Don't expect an entirely new platform, way too early for that, but perhaps additional output options in both audio and video as well as improved core processors.

HD DVD/Blu-ray Combo Player - Perhaps more than one announcement here, but at least one manufacturer will announce that they are planning one. These announcements seem to crop-up every 6 months or so. As with all previous announcements of this ilk, I would not make any future buying decisions until they are more committed.

HDMI 1.3 Now Supported by {Insert Manufacturer Here} - There will be many manufacturers announcing 1.3 compliant products. In particular, look for a few receiver manufacturers like Denon, Yamaha, etc. to announce 1.3-compliant lines. There will likely be a handful of display devices with this support as well.

1080p, 1080p, and 1080p - Numerous manufacturers announcing new 1080p lines at various sizes and technologies. Also expect announced price-drops on existing lines as new models roll out this summer/fall.

HD News from Apple - Sure, maybe not entirely a prediction, as it was announced a couple months ago ... but: Apple should be announcing and/or releasing their iMovie service, which I expect will be VERY similar to the download service now offered by Microsoft through their Xbox 360 console. I further expect it to be similar both in price and content ... but will more than likely require new hardware, unless you happen to have your Mac connected to your home theater.

Note that this one may not be during CES, but rather MacWorld Expo, which I believe is the same week.

Wireless HD video transmission - You've probably seen the scattered press releases about this. More and more companies are realizing that consumers WANT this. Most will be running over the proposed 802.11n system. Once ratified, this wireless standard will finally make full HD video wireless transmission possible.

So that's it for my first "Predictions" piece, we'll see how the show goes, and perhaps if I do well enough I'll do a following in a couple weeks to recap.

Posted by Shane Sturgeon, January 5, 2007 12:11 PM

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About Shane Sturgeon

Shane Sturgeon is the Co-Publisher and Chief Technologist of HDTV Magazine, an industry publication with HDTV roots going back to 1984, when Dale Cripps founded The HDTV Newsletter. Today, HDTV Magazine is a leading online resource for HDTV news and information and captures the eyes and imaginations of over 3 million visitors annually. Mr. Sturgeon has a background in information technology and has served in various consulting capacities for Fortune 500 companies such as J.P. Morgan Chase, Verizon Communications, Proctor & Gamble and Nationwide Insurance. He has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Wright State University.