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Free Trade, Cutting-Edge Technology, Dynamic Keynotes Highlight Day One of 2008 CES Show



Arlington, Virginia - (1/8/2008)-- The 2008 International CES® opened yesterday with an explosion of cutting-edge technologies, with more than 2,700 innovative exhibitors spanning a record 1.85 million net square feet of exhibit space, as well as dynamic industry keynotes and conference sessions. Produced by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®, the 2008 International CES, the world’s largest tradeshow for consumer technology, runs through Thursday in Las Vegas, Nevada.

CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro kicked off the 2008 CES with his “State of the Industry” address. Shapiro projected that CE industry sales would jump to $171 billion in 2008, a 6.1 percent increase over 2007. Shapiro cautioned that although the CE industry would continue to outpace projected sales in other industries, continued growth is threatened by those who promote protectionist policies.

Urging CES attendees to support robust free trade policies, Shapiro noted that in 2006 U.S. high tech companies exported more than $220 billion of their products, accounting for one fifth of total U.S. exports, and making high-tech America’s largest export sector. Shapiro also announced an unprecedented free trade initiative between CEA, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). The three groups made a formal request to Congress to approve pending free trade agreements, and to restore the President’s authority to negotiate free trade agreements.

Following Shapiro’s remarks, Toshihiro Sakamoto, president, Panasonic AVC Networks Company, delivered the opening keynote address. Sakamoto shared his vision of the "Digital Hearth," where technology, including high-definition digital imaging and displays, brings friends and family together.

Sakamoto unveiled Panasonic’s newest technology, including a 24.7 mm-thin flat-panel television, double luminance efficiency technology that reduces power consumption on displays by 50 percent, and the world’s first 150" plasma flat-panel television with 2000x4000 resolution, which will be manufactured at Panasonic’s just-announced fifth production facility.

Sakamoto also performed the first public demonstration of wireless HD video transmission with Panasonic's “Home Base,” and unveiled a wireless HD camcorder that transmits recorded HD video to a device without the need for a single cable. Sakamoto concluded with several new partnership announcements with major companies including Comcast, YouTube and Google’s Picasso.

Monday’s first SuperSession, “Connect2Car,” co-organized by the Convergence Transportation Electronics Association (CTEA) and SAE International, featured automakers and consumer electronics manufacturers discussing ways the auto and CE industries can satisfy consumer demand for in-vehicle technology. Panelists from BMW, Chrysler and Ford each described platforms for bringing integrated solutions into the car.

In the morning SuperSession, “The New Face of America’s Elections,” executives from the MPAA and YouTube and politicos from the Republican Main Street Partnership, The New Politics Institute and Americans for Tax Reform, joined CNBC anchor, Maria Bartiromo, to discuss the impact of new media on the 2008 elections. While panelists’ views differed on which political party and candidates have best harnessed technology, there was agreement regarding the power of new technologies to help candidates advance their platform, increase civic participation and empower American voters to be more informed about candidates. Jerry Yang, CEO of Yahoo! Inc., kicked off the CES Industry Insiders Series Monday afternoon at the Las Vegas Hilton Theater. Yang unveiled the new Yahoo! Mobile 3.0, an easier-to-navigate platform for mobile devices. Yang told the crowded theater that Yahoo!'s goal is to remain a simple starting point to the Internet to help busy consumers navigate the ever-expanding web. "Our goal is to make your life easier," Yang said.

“Technology Impact: The Shaping of Hollywood Decision Making,” a SuperSession hosted by Variety, featuredtop studio digital media executives from Paramount, Disney, Fox and Warner Brothers. The panel addressed how technology advances impact the strategic decisions made by studios, and explored new ways the Internet and mobile devices can drive monetization of new media content. The group predicted an explosion of online video content in the next several years.

Monday’s next SuperSession, "The Top Ten Technologies You've Never Heard Of," explored what's really hot in consumer technology. The panel of technology experts discussed the possibilities of wireless technologies that will allow multiple devices to work without the interference that consumers experience today. The panelists told a standing-room only crowd that products in the near future will be completely wireless, meaning no power cords or wires of any kind. In the highly popular SuperSession, “CNET’s Next Big Thing,” on Monday afternoon, CNET editor Brian Cooley moderated a panel which explored the top three technology ideas that should pay off big in the next year. The hot topics included technology in the car, PC in your pocket and the future of television.

Monday’s closing keynote address by Intel's President and CEO Paul Otellini kicked off with a cartoon take-off entitled, "Video killed the Radio World," that focused on how the Internet has changed the world. Otellini said the Internet is going to bring services beyond RSS, push and alerts. Several travel demos of wireless translation technologies showed how technology can seamlessly provide the information we need regardless of the device we choose to use, especially while mobile.

A highlight of the session was when Steve Harwell of Smashmouth sang alone on stage connected to his band virtually over the Internet using “ejamming” software. Otellini concluded by saying that the personal Internet is inevitable: more powerful, more connected, more context-aware and more personal. He said, "the consumer will be the new generator of content creating brand new business models."

About CEA: The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is the preeminent trade association promoting growth in the $161 billion U.S. consumer electronics industry. More than 2,200 companies enjoy the benefits of CEA membership, including legislative advocacy, market research, technical training and education, industry promotion and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. CEA also sponsors and manages the International CES - Where Entertainment, Technology and Business Converge. All profits from CES are reinvested into CEA's industry services. Find CEA online at www.CE.org.


   







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