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Today’s Show:

Where are they now?

Being at CES this year made us think back to the many booths we’ve visited and exhibits we’ve seen in prior years.  There have been major highlights in years past that seem to have faded into the sunset.  Some of the things we were excited about just a couple years ago were nowhere to be seen this year.  Where did they go?

We had some minor audio issues with this episode due to the “remote recording.”  We apologize and assure you things will be back to normal for next week.


SED or surface-conduction electron-emitter display, was a next generation flat panel HDTV technology primarily developed by Canon and Toshiba.  The two were all set to mass produce SED TVs back in 2006.  The Canon SED demo at CES a year later had the longest line in the convention center.  But then the wheels fell off.  Amidst legal troubles Toshiba decided to cut their losses and stopped pursuing SED in 2007.  It took a few more years for Canon to give in, but in May of 2010 they announced the official end of the development of SED TVs for the home consumer market.


The High Definition Audio-Video Network Alliance kicked off back in 2005 and had the support of several large consumer electronics firms.  Their goal was to seamlessly network all your home entertainment products using whatever cable you happen to already have, be it Coax, Ethernet or FireWire.  We saw a demo of real high definition networks using various screens on the network to play back content from various other nodes on the network.  It looked like it really had potential.  Evidently it never made it much further than that demo we saw.  The alliance was officially dissolved in September of 2009.  MoCA is still around, though.

Kuro Plasma

The Pioneer KURO plasma demo still goes down as one of the top 5 demos of ever CES we’ve been to.  We still use that demo as the gold standard in black levels for any consumer electronics display.  We’ve been waiting since that demo in 2008 to see a large format HDTV (11 inches doesn’t count) actually make it to store shelves with that deep level of blacks.  Although we didn’t get a direct confirmation, it seems that the new Panasonic plasma sets are getting pretty close.  As we all know by now, Pioneer shut down plasma development just a short time later.  The Panasonic demo this year wasn’t nearly as impressive as the KURO demo, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that the TVs are quite impressive.

Sharp 108-inch 1080p Aquos LCD

Who could forget the giant 108-inch LCD screen Sharp showed off at the 2007 CES.  At the time it was the largest LCD TV in the world.  It was even a bit ahead of its time with a speedy 120Hz refresh rate.  While we were impressed and a bit blown away at the time, we would have figured the set would be in a BestBuy near you, at an affordable price, withing 5 years, right?  Well it’s been 4 years and still no 108-inch sets.  In fact, 65 inches is the largest you’ll find at Sharp’s website.  Why do they show these giant sets if they never bring them to market?


HDBaseT is still pretty new, in fact, we have never actually seen an HDBaseT demo at CES.  The new cable format was announced by an alliance including Samsung, Sony, LG and Valens Semiconductor in June of 2010.  The spec allows for full HD video, multichannel audio, high speed Ethernet and power all over one Cat5e cable.  In some follow-up reading after CES 2011, it turns out HDBaseT had some cool things to show this year.  Early demos including streaming content from one source to one screen.  At CES 2011 they showed multiple sources hitting a converter box and travelling to the screen over one cable.  They plan to have the technology in sets and converter boxes soon and hope the price for converters will drop to below $100 within 5 years.  That begs the question, will HDBaseT still be at CES 5 years from now?

The Rest

Of course we could go through the hit list of the easy ones.  Just a few years ago CRT televisions were all over the show.  They were replaced by LCD, DLP and LCoS rear projection sets.  As those sets became entrenched, new twists like LED and Laser light engines came and went. We saw OLED make a splash a couple years ago as well, but not too much this year.  And then there’s HD-DVD.  Man that format war was fun while it lasted.

So our question for you is: what big technology trend from CES 2011 do you think will stand the test of time and which ones do you think will be gone in a few years?  Will tablets still be trendy, or will they go the way of the netbook?  Will Smart TVs hang on, or will they disappear like Voom?  What about 3D, where will it be 5 years from now?


Download Episode #462

Posted by The HT Guys, January 21, 2011 2:12 AM

About The HT Guys

The HT Guys, Ara Derderian and Braden Russell, are Engineers who formerly worked for the Advanced Digital Systems Group (ADSG) of Sony Pictures Entertainment. ADSG was the R&D unit of the sound department producing products for movie theaters and movie studios.

Two of the products they worked on include the DCP-1000 and DADR-5000. The DCP is a digital cinema processor used in movie theaters around the world. The DADR-5000 is a disk-based audio dubber used on Hollywood sound stages.

ADSG was awarded a Technical Academy Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2000 for the development of the DADR-5000. Ara holds three patents for his development work in Digital Cinema and Digital Audio Recording.

Every week they put together a podcast about High Definition TV and Home Theater. Each episode brings news from the A/V world, helpful product reviews and insights and help in demystifying and simplifying HDTV and home theater.