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Consumer Electronics

PLASKON: The Consumer Electronics Show fills the equivalent of 26 football fields with 120-thousand professionals from 110 countries. But few of those professionals are from China, which is potentially the world's largest market for the $120 billion dollar electronics industry. Consumer Electronics Association president Gary Shapiro says that's because the Chinese have trouble getting U-S visas. So yesterday he kicked off the show in Las Vegas by announcing he's starting a second electronics show...this one in China.

SHAPIRO: We want to make sure that US companies are not disadvantaged compared to foreign companies in their ability to attract business, if someone can't come to the US to see equipment or establish relationships they are less likely to do business with US companies and that puts us at an extreme disadvantage.

PLASKON: He would prefer to grow the trade show in Las Vegas. But other countries are allowing Chinese business people to go to their trade shows. Other countries do it by requiring a bond be posted and forfeited if the Chinese business person does not go back to China after the show Shapiro says.

SHAPIRO: Las Vegas to me is the best trade show destination, and it could be the worlds best trade show destination but we don't have in Las Vegas even in the US, they are in Germany and other countries that are favorable to those that come from around the world. That is a problem in Chicago and Orlando.

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PLASKON: The Chinese Consumer Electronics Show will open July first in Shindow China. It will be that countries largest consumer electronics event. The expansion of the show to China comes at the same time as a record-breaking rise in consumer electronics sales. For the first time in the 10-year history of the Consumer Electronics Association, which tracks sales, the industry is reporting double digit growth, sales are up 11.4 percent, triple last years projections. It's a lifestyle choice says Association President Gary Shapiro

SHAPIRO: And people, what they are doing with all the tragedy that is surrounding us is that they are investing in their home in their experience, they may be taking less trips and spending less on other things but they want to enjoy the quality of what they get.

PLASKON: So for many, spending more quality time in the digital world means improving the quality of their TV. And that's what's been driving growth he says. Last year 7 million Americans bought digital televisions.

SHAPIRO: Next year we are predicting it will be 20 million so to almost triple the sales in one year is absolutely phenomenal."

PLASKON: Innovations are driving that growth

SOUND: Party

PLASKON: Innovations is the namesake of CES's annual pre-show party. While looking at the newest gizmos journalists scarffed down all the sushi, 3-thousand pieces of sushi chefs say.

SOUND: Golf games T8 :40

PLASKON: High Definition Television may be a popular trend, but consumers return these DTVs to stores at a rate of more than 10 percent. Dennis Crespo, Vice President of Systems Engineering at Silicon Optix explains why buyers are disappointed when they try to watch regular TV channels on their high-definition TV.

CRESPO: Garbage in was you have a lot of speklies coming in from your cable company and you can see this on your TV and when you put that on a high definition TV it is amplified."

PLASKON: Essentially, that would make the shows look even worse on their new High Definition TV than on their old TV. High definition needs a special digital signal from the broadcasting channel to look right and without many of those digital channels, consumers are often disappointed and trade in the digital televisions for their old ones. The solution was in Hollywood. It faced this same problem when converting analog movie film to digital video disks or DVDs. Crespo says Hollywood used Silicon Optics software to do it.

CRESPO: It was very expensive, it was a hundred thousand dollar system so we have reduced that system now into a single chip that can be put into these TVs and DVD players and next years new high definition DVD players will give you the same as a George Lucas was looking at when he produced the first star wars movie.

PLASKON: The company unveiled this 50-dollar chip at the CES innovations party. Crespo expects digital television companies to put the chip in digital televisions so that consumers can watch both analog and high definition shows on the same screen. While Digital television sales are skyrocketing, Americans are holding off on the usual purchase of a new color TV every 3-4 years according to Consumer Electronics Association Statistics. Since the year 2000 the number of old analog color TV sales have dropped by half.

Ky Plaskon, News 88-9 KNPR

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Friday, January 7, 2005

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