2009 CES - TV at the forefront

I'm attending my first Consumer Electronics Show this week in many, many years, and unfortunately, it looks like it will be a down year for a big event that steals the global tech spotlight every year in early January. Blame the economy and fears of corporate retribution for spending too much money too early in the year after a panicky fourth quarter of 2008.

The possible dip in energy for some aspects of CES, however, may not touch the TV sector. HDTV devices and services, and TV-related offerings in general, have been mentioned by several CES watchers in recent days as likely stars of CES 2009. We've seen TV announcements play a starring role at the show before, but this may be the first time that a major mobile gadget announcement isn't set to hog the CES spotlight. It's also unlikely that any of the industry heavyweights delivering keynote speeches will be given to ambitious proclamations this year (though the Thursday speech by Ford president and CEO Alan Mulally could be worth attending to hear what he says or doesn't say).

With TV offerings at center stage again, it is then surprising to see a lack of telco CEOs on the keynote slate. This could be by CES's design, but regardless, it seems like a missed opportunity for the big telcos to make a big splash at CES for the second year in a row. Representatives from Verizon Communications, AT&T and other telcos around the world will of course be in attendance, and they are likely to emerge with news at the show over the next few days. But, companies like Netflix and LG are already jumping out with announcements that could have some future impact or influence on telco TV services.

FierceIPTV and its sibling publications will be covering CES 2009 live from Las Vegas this week. I will also personally be moderating the CES session "IPTV: More than Reruns and Movies" on Thursday at 12 p.m. in Room N256 of the Las Vegas Convention Center North Hall. Come by and say hello if you're at the show, and check back at FierceIPTV frequently for the latest news from the show, which we are hoping will not be limited to more whining from the auto industry.