CES 2009 Wasn't Business as Usual

I promised myself that I wouldn’t talk about the economy and how it relates to the audio/video industry while attending CES 2009. But it was hard to ignore.  All the same it was clear that attendance was down – I heard numbers in the 20,000 less visitors.  It was obvious in the lines waiting for shuttle busses to and from the hotels and on the show floors whether in the main halls or on the hotel floors. Attendance alone wasn’t the only thing missing and despite manufactures doing their best to keep the mood and tempo upbeat many of them merely showed what they had at CEDIA last fall. Some products just realized versions of prototypes. I can’t speak for the gadgets or computer parts of the show, but merely in our beloved industry.

Having said all that on a positive note, what has impressed me during this show was the consistent quality from display panels and projectors to amplifiers and speakers – there’s a whole lot of good product out there. The traditional gaps in quality are narrower than ever and at affordable prices. The quality of projectors especially has become affordable – what you get for under $3,000 is amazing. I’m sure Ross will have a great year reviewing these.

Although I had heard that Anthem was developing a LCOS projector with JVC, they are now ready in two versions, the $7,499 LTX500 and the $5,499 LTX300. Differences in the models include THX certification and 20,000 additional contrast ratio from 50,000 for the 500 and 30,000 for the 300. I find them very stylish with the red racing stripe and black enclosure. Can’t wait to see one in action.