By Neil Schneider
It has been absolutely crazy at CES 2011. In the four years we have been going to the Consumer Electronics Show, this has been the biggest. Huge booths, bigger venues, and swarms of people. Imagine press rooms without seats to sit in, or going without Internet access for a day at a time because the hotel and CES wireless networks are overloaded. That’s what we are putting up with here!
The good news is we have some great interviews with 3D HDTV and camcorder manufacturers, auto-stereo display makers, and more – and we have much more coming up! While we are waiting for the video files to get edited together for you, here are some neat discoveries and stories along the way.
Entertainment Experience has developed a color calibration box for HDTVs. According to Jim Sullivan, former Kodak employee and the company’s owner, HDTV visual performance changes according to the type of lighting and brightness of a room. Their box has several color tables programmed to compensate for this to ensure maximum image quality in all environments. While it was not available for demo, the real surprise is they have special color tables designed for 3D HDTVs and glasses. It would be great to sample this in action in 3D, so we’ll see what we can dig up.
For those unfamiliar, Onlive is a gaming service that lets you play high quality games with low performance computer equipment. The way this is accomplished is by having a distant mainframe do all the hard processing work, using the Internet as the means of transmitting the game’s visual experience, and using your personal computer as the final display and terminal. It’s not necessary to use a computer because you also have the option of attaching an Onlive box to your HDTV or display with its own set of game controllers.
According to Joe Bentley, Onlive’s VP of Engineering, their network will improve as more bandwidth is made available. For now, their solution distributes games at 1280X720P resolution – the current standard for most console titles. It turns out that they are equally excited about stereoscopic 3D gaming and have a technique ready for getting S-3D video games out there. They don’t have the content – mind you – just the means to broadcast stereoscopic 3D gaming. A left/right side by side format (squished) isn’t the best choice for 720P, but we are told they have something special in the works that isn’t yet ready for announcing.
Here is a story for Star Wars fans. The fact is, you can’t be everywhere at once at CES. Even if you make every meeting, something is going to slip through the cracks! I’m a huge Star Wars fan, and I can’t convey how disappointed I was that I missed Darth Vader’s announcement at Panasonic’s exhibit. Pam and I were sitting down for lunch when I read the news on my PDA, and I thought how awful it was that we weren’t there to greet the prince of darkness – especially since his announcement was reported to be about the Star Wars saga being released on 3D Blu-Ray and available for pre-order.
A fellow writer at ShowStoppers explained what happened…and he made my day! It turns out that there was a disturbance in The Force – or at least, The Force’s media service – because it wasn’t a 3D Blu-Ray announcement in the end! It was just an announcement that the saga would be out on traditional Blu-Ray. What a relief!
However, one journalist who was present at the event was extremely disappointed. It turns out that he wanted to interview Darth Vader, but his handlers explained that Darth was fully booked in meetings that day, and had no more appointments available. It’s kind of bizarre, don’t you think? I mean…it’s not REALLY Darth Vader. It’s some guy in a suit. Still, it would have been cool to get a 3D picture of Darth Vader…maybe next year!
We have lots of pictures, videos, and stories to share. As soon as we have more time and a reliable Internet connection, we’ll get more up! Thanks for your patience.