CEATEC 2008: slimmer, greener and working together

It's raining here in Makuhari, just outside Tokyo, where the annual CEATEC consumer electronics show opened this morning, and we're told there may be a typhoon on the way.

But despite the weather and the global economic situation, the exhibiting companies - which include all of the big consumer electronics names - are putting a brave face on the shape of the market, and contunuing to launch innovative technologies targeted at the needs of the current market.

Everywhere you look at the massive show, there are power meters on display next to flatscreen TVs, showing how the new models consume much less electricity than the old ones, and there's a lot of talk about sustainability and recycling.

But those TVs keep on getting slimmer, with Sony showing a massive display of TVs just under a centimetre thick, not to mention a new, much larger OLED screen, and Sharp vice president Masafumi Matsumoto (pictured left) opening his company's massive stand with the announcement of new Aquos TVs, thinner than ever and of course using less power.

And there's another side to the Sharp TV story: under the screen of the new models is an ultra-slim speaker bar, developed in collaboration with Pioneer.

Meanwhile across the aisle the equally large Pioneer booth is showing a display of further co-operation between the two companies, including mobile and home technology allowing pictures, music and other data to be shared between the home and mobile devices.

The two will be extending this into navigation, using Bluetooth connectivity in the car, Sharp's expertise in mobile phones, and other wireless technologies at home.

There'll be much more from the show later, including pictures of those new Sony TVs, 3D displays from Pioneer and - we're promised - 3D TV from several brands. Watch this space - we're off to do the Panasonic stand tour now...

Andrew has written about audio and video products for the past 20+ years, and been a consumer journalist for more than 30 years, starting his career on camera magazines. Andrew has contributed to titles including What Hi-Fi?, GramophoneJazzwise and Hi-Fi CriticHi-Fi News & Record Review and Hi-Fi Choice. I’ve also written for a number of non-specialist and overseas magazines.