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CES 2005 Part 1

Although CES officially opens its doors today, for journalists things kicked off yesterday. Traditionally, the day before the opening of the show is reserved for a flurry of press briefings, where journalists seem to wander around an endless array of meeting rooms to hear about the latest innovations from the big exhibitors.

Just like last year, the round of press briefings was kicked off by LG at the rather unsociable hour of 8am. To be honest getting there for 8am wasn’t really a problem since my body clock was so out of whack, that I ended up wandering out of my hotel looking for breakfast at 5am.

Attending US briefings for companies like LG is pretty surreal for a UK journalist. LG is still quite new to the US, so a great deal of the speech time was taken up taking about increasing brand awareness and making LG a major player in the American consumer electronics market. Coming from Europe I’ve been reviewing LG products for more years than I care to remember, and I can still remember giving a group test award to an 8x Goldstar CD-ROM drive. Of course in America LG is really pushing the “Life’s Good” slogan, and I don’t think that too many people in the room had any idea that LG originally stood for Lucky Goldstar.

After a great deal of self congratulatory rhetoric about LG’s success in North America over the past 12 months, we finally got to hear about some of the product lines for 2005, but not before we heard that LG had one 17 CES Innovation Awards this year.

If the big buzz phrase of CES 2004 was convergence, this year there’s no doubt that it’s High Definition. Pretty much every briefing I attended was focussed on the subject of HD content, whether broadcast, cable, satellite or distributed on optical media. High Definition video is definitely the driving force behind CES 2005.

To show off its commitment to HD, LG had two screens on show at the briefing, and it has to be said that they were pretty impressive. To the left of the stage was the PY2 DR – a 60in plasma display with a 720p HD compatible resolution and an integrated digital tuner. Making this screen even more impressive is the fact that it also has an integrated 160GB hard disk recorder, so you can record that HD content as well as watching it. The PY2 DR is a stunning looking device, and just the type of product that will convince sceptical buyers of the benefits of HD.

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