We're here at the LG event, about to find out just how "Life's Good" with a few LG gadgets. The room is packed, with flashed fluttering and shiny gadgets up front. And here comes the intro guy, who's name escapes us.
11:00 -"Here we are, kicking off the first CES press event, at 8am on a Sunday"
"We have a lot of announcements today." But for now, they're just introducing us to all their friends.
11:04 - And here comes the keynote speaker, CEO Micheal Ahn.
"Good morning everyone. I appreciate your interest today."
"LG, for a few years, has been well known as a premium brand in the American market. Now, 75% of American consumers perceive LG as a progressive, trendy brand."
Micheal is talking about convergence, and how LG has its hand in just about every market of consumer electronics.
11:09 - "Over the last few years, prices have eroded over 40%."
"I believe in this climate, only a few companies can become major players."
11:10 - They're announcing the Super multi player in February, which can handle Blu-ray and HD DVD. "This will help customers who are hesitant to buy a player.
11:15 - LG is also going to get into the GPS game, with handheld devices coming this Spring.
Thanks to Chocolate, LG is gunning for the #2 position in the North American phone market.
There's also a 100-inch LCD that will be in LG's booth, along with a digital set top box.
11:17 - And here comes the other guy, who's name continues to evade us, to explain what Michael Ahn was actually saying.
"LG is the world's largest producer of flat panel TVs."
They've got a new PDP plant in Mexico.
And introducing the keynote speaker, President and Chief Technology Officer of LG, H G Lee.
"I don't think I have to explain to you what the current situation is in the hi-def market."
"Most consumers aren't sure what they want, and therefore are not willing to buy."
"The growth is much slower in this industry."
Don't worry LG, we hate the format war too.
"Our solution is to create a product that could solve part of this problem."
"The Super Multi Blue Player can play both formats with one tray."
The BH100 model will be available this quarter, at a suggested retail price of $1,199.
True HD, VC-1 / H.264, DD+/ DTS HD
HDMI Out, Optical / 5.1 channel out -- no mention of HDMI 1.3, but maybe that's just a given.
"As a companion product, we're also producing a Super Multi Blue Drive for the PC."
$1,199, reads and writes everything but HD DVD, looks like Blu-ray still is first in LG's heart.
Now Mr. Lee is explaining the fancy dual-laser technology behind the new players. Blue laser, Red laster, diodes aplenty. LG partnered with Broadcam for the chipset.
11:30 - "That's the end of my brief presentation, and now we'll start a demo. Here's Mr. Kim."
Batman Begins is playing on HD DVD, looks pretty sharp. Don't ruin the ending! Mr. Kim is showing of the flashy menu, looks pretty simple, and doesn't get in the way of the movie playback.
"Now we'll switch to Blu-ray disc. It'll take over one minute, so let's look at the PC drive."
Oh look, it looks just like any PC player.
"It takes about 25 seconds to load a Blu-ray disc. This is actually the fastest load time on the market."
It takes foreeever. Oh, and here comes those anti-piracy warnings.
"And of course, there's 30 seconds of this. You can not fast forward."
And here comes Superman on Blu-ray. Mr. Kim's favorite scene is scene 12.
"It just occurred to me that Superman, with his blue suit and red cape might be the perfect spokesman for Blu-ray and HD DVD."
*Laughter and clapping... good times*
And that's it for the demo, now it's time for question and answers.
11:37 - "Full interactive support?"
Not quite. "Because of limited hardware, most everything essential is supported, but not all IHD features."
"Does the PC drive also have that limitation?"
"The PC drive can handle all the IHD features."
As the questions continue to fire, it looks like HDMI is merely of the 1.2 variety, retail availability will be widespread, and they'll try to pump out as many of these as they can to meet whatever consumer demand there may be.
"Is it possible for other manufacturers to create a dual format player?"
"We're not currently engaged in any talks, but we're welcome to the idea of licensing the technology."
Engadget HD's Ben Drawbaugh asked about networking support, but it looks like no dice. (After taking some pictures it does indead of a ethernet port)
Price will go down with economies of scale, but they're hoping to be within 20% of other Blu-ray players.
11:50 - That's it, visit LG's boot, etc. etc.
Thanks for following along with us at home, we should have some press shots of the new player soon.