Eighty percent of the stuff on the massive succession of floors here has something to do with thumping sound. Chairs are here that thump while you play immersive video games. Enormous speaker towers that you can pop your teeny iPod onto. Fabulous vehicles tricked out with woofers bigger than a Great Dane’s. Miniscule earbuds that fry your eustachian tubes. My conceptual issue here is that, I don’t know, I have a few sets of headphones and a couple of speakers here and there for a variety of purposes. How much sound gear does a person need? And why does it have to be thumping? I mean, some things should thump. But not everything.
There is still no food at CES. Or rather, the food stalls are few and the distance between them is vast. The lines are long. I think the most successful attraction at the show was the Starbucks. After that, Nathan’s. We walked around hungry most of the time, because really, who has time to wait half an hour for a hot dog or a cruller?
Beyond that, there are of course a billion cameras and digital guitars and automated environmental systems for your home and all kinds of crazy stuff, some of which actually looks keen and even addresses some consumer need. But in the end, this week, it’s all about 3-D TV. Sony and LG and Samsung and Panasonic and Nvidia and dozens of others were here dispensing gray glasses and then blasting your face with juicy imagery. My favorite screens, though, were the 2-D HD TVs that were less than an inch thick. I wanted one of those. They wouldn’t tell me how much it cost because they’re not priced yet, but when the technology comes down to under $1,000, I guess I’ll grab one. They’re all being manufactured to be 3-D capable, though. Right now, there isn’t much stuff to put on a 3-D TV, but that’s not stopping them. The industry is determined to give it to you, whether you recognize the fact that you want it or not.
I want to ask you something. Do you want 3-D? Beyond going to a movie theater and immersing yourself in it, do you like the experience? Does it give you a little bit of a headache now and then? Do you like putting on glasses to watch TV in your living room, bedroom or rumpus room? If you had access to 3-D programming, what kind of programming would it be? Sports? News? Sex? What would drive you to watch a 3-D program?
I don’t really believe the electronics industry is asking these questions. They’re moving ahead full steam because in the past, technology has eventually triumphed over inertia, and they want everybody to acquire new hardware that’s even newer than the new hardware they just purchased. And they’ll probably win, too. Or at least some of them will. Me, I’d just like to know ahead of time who those winners might be, so I can avoid investing in the losers like I usually do.