Perhaps the most prevalent trend at CES 2009 was the emphasis on 3-D technology. Nvidia, which produces graphics cards for computers, entranced booth visitors with a GeForce 3-D demo that featured clips from films like "Star Wars: A New Hope." The booth also featured a 3-D version of Guitar Hero, which inspired many CES attendees to let their inner rock star out as wicked guitar solos scrolled toward them.
Nvidia's system uses active 3-D, which means the GeForce glasses actively work to produce the three-dimensional effect. Each lens has a shutter that opens and closes at a rate of 60 times per second. The shuttering pattern combined with the image on the screen produces a stereoscopic effect. Most of the other 3-D technologies on display at CES used polarized lenses, which are passive. Glasses with 3-D polarized lenses don't require power -- the 3-D technology resides in the television set or computer monitor. Nvidia's 3-D system is available now for around $199.
While several companies showed off their 3-D displays, one deserves particular mention. Panasonic's high-definition plasma 3-D display produced convincing three-dimensional images that were crisp and clear. The company showcased the technology using a series of video clips, including footage from the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. Like Nvidia's product, Panasonic's 3-D home theater system used active 3-D glasses. The company has not announced when the system will hit the market or how much it might cost.
The trends at CES reflect what manufacturers think is important in the minds of consumers. Did they get it right? We'll have to wait and see.