Las Vegas Emptying Out of CES Gadgeteers

kinnon —  January 8, 2006 — Leave a comment

Over 130,000 150,000 gadget geeks and the people that feed their habit are leaving Las Vegas in droves. I15 South to LA is capacity carrying Californians back to their beds. Flights are leaving McCarran about every 75 seconds. And I’m in town for one more day. I take the red-eye out late tomorrow evening.

Today was interesting day with a few highs and one low. I had a chance to see my Australia-based niece for about 90 minutes (part of which was running her out to McCarran Airport). A definite high. I spent a number of hours shooting with a Sony’s HDV Z1U camera around LV – which was fun. And I got a speeding ticket – the one low. I was actually driving with traffic when I was pulled over. The officer claimed I was doing significantly over the speed limit – as was everyone else – but my rental is red. I must have stood out in the crowd. He was kind of enough to only charge me with ten over. (If my insurance agent is reading this – perhaps it’s all just a story, Brien.)

I’ll write a number of things about the CES in the coming days. In spite of all the new gadgets that were shown here in Lost Wages, the real story was content delivery. Bill Gates, Yahoo’s Terry Semel and Google co-founder, Larry Page, all talked about delivering moving visual content anytime, anywhere. Google announced their Google Video Store, which is set to challenge Apple’s iTunes with video downloads. Google has set up deals with CBS, the NBA and Sony for their music video content – as well as with independent content producers. One of the more interesting articles on the Google Video Store was this story in the LATimes.

Much as online auctioneer EBay Inc. turned pack rats into retailers, Google’s service also will allow anyone to distribute filmed or animated material they create — something digital tools make easier than ever.

Independent filmmakers, for instance, can try to bypass Hollywood; dog trainers and yoga instructors can offer how-to videos; and someone who captures a plane crash or other major news event on video can skip the traditional media — all in favor of selling their work as a digital download.

“Now any guy with a camera who believes in what they’re doing can compete with the Sonys and Warner Bros. of the world,” said director Ben Rekhi, who said he turned down a $125,000 distribution deal to instead sell his film “Waterborne” through Google for $4.99 a download.

But the LAT article also warns that there maybe frustrated customers who purchase videos from Google with the desire to fulfill their anytime, anywhere playback desires but “videos using Google’s copy protection won’t play on an Apple iPod.

Digital Rights Management will be the stumbling block for content providers and consumers. Consumers want to purchase moving visual content and use it wherever they please. Content producers want to severely restrict that usage – to maximize their return on investment. It will be very interesting to see how this all plays out. (Pun intended.)

CANADIAN READERS; I guess if Liberal Sam Bulte is re-elected and her party is able to form the government, we can be sure that the major foreign-owned content rights holders will have their DRM screwed down tight – ensuring many frustrated Canadian consumers. But then again, Canadians should be used to being frustrated. They’ve been led by the Liberals for 12 years.

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A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

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