I’ve heard many people say that CES 2009 was evolutionary rather than revolutionary. The follow-on is that with no break-out products, the latest gadget extravaganza was rather dull. While I agree with the first premise, I heartily disagree with the second.
When I think back to CES 2008, netbooks were barely on the radar, only road warriors used mobile broadband, and there were very few ways (or reasons) to access Internet on the TV. At CES 2009, all three trends showed exponential growth. Ignoring the first two for now, let’s focus on the convergence of TV and the Internet. The trend is not just showing up in sexy new retail electronics; it’s filtering down to TV service providers as well. And just like with the birth of DVRs, it’s when the service providers start rolling out reasonably priced, convenient new technology that mass adoption takes place.
This year at CES, TV service providers were not highly visible (especially compared to last year), but that doesn’t mean they weren’t there. Word at the Motorola booth suggests there were plenty of representatives around scouting the latest technologies, and there was certainly lots for them to see. From Motorola alone in the TV/Internet category we saw:
- CCE Storefront – a software platform for organizing premium IPTV content and making it accessible across three screens
- The au Box – an IPTV set-top showing Internet content accessible on the TV and transferable to a cell phone
- New tru2way apps on the Motorola DCX set-top line including Flickr, weather info, and medical reminders (more on the medical app later)
Motorola is far from the only player in the TV/Internet space, but the company does illustrate a nice spectrum of ways for making Internet content available on the living room television and beyond. By next year, I bet we’ll see several of these technologies available from service providers around the country. And if CES 2010 is another “evolutionary” show, I don’t think that will be a bad thing at all.