8:21AM - Panasonic AVC President Toshihiro Sakamoto will be joined on stage by Gary Shapiro, President and CEO of the CEA, who kicked things off last night.
8:32AM - "The show will begin in five minutes." Apparently when you've got a 150-incher in the wings, there's no need to be punctual.
8:36AM - And here we go. Oh, it's just the video intro from last night. Strong start, folks. As a side note, it turns out we're sitting behind some sort of ambassador. Sadly, she's not liveblogging.
8:39AM - Here's Gary Shapiro. He's pretty intense, plugging the number of exhibitors and particular partners (hey NBC). "In 2007 technology exploded as never before as the free market drove adoption..." Video downloads took up where MP3 downloads left off "Just look at YouTube."
8:42AM - "Our industry's growth remains strong, and the trend will continue in 2008." Despite economic concerns, they expect the industry to grow to $171 billion next year.
8:44AM - Gary's plugging free trade to continue the momentum. "After decades of bipartisan support for free trade, we're hearing rumors of price protections and isolationism... technology has become the shining star of this economy, other countries bought $220 billion in American made electronics."
8:48AM - "Today the US economy is more US and more international than at any point in history." Qualcomm and Intel were founded by immigrants, Gary Shapiro's wife came here from Poland is now a surgeon for the blind.
8:50AM - There are challenges. Threats of identity theft, piracy, but technology offers many benefits, connecting the world. "Technologies offers something else: they are blind to religion, blind to sexual orientation, blind to disabilities."
8:51AM - "Sending a formal request to congress to approve continued free trade agreements." Urges congress to approve pending free trade agreements, and to give power back to the president to negotiate trade agreements.
8:53AM - "Free trade doesn't mean child labor." This year's CES is the most carbon neutral CES yet. Ambassador Susan C. Schwab (who is sitting right in front of us) will be speaking tomorrow on trade.
8:55AM - "This is an important dialog for our industry." "Free trade establishes relationships, builds trust, and helps us build bridges with our neighbors."
8:57AM - Welcoming international guests, and encouraging us domestics to get involved with promoting free trade. There's a CEA political action group to chip in on. "These few days of CES, take a moment to reflect the value of free trade. Given the climate of today, it is not a given."
8:59AM - Speaking of international innovation, here comes Panasonic. We're starting with a video. It's about the historical value of the hearth. Yeah, we're kind of wondering where this one is going. "The hearth has become the symbol of home." "This is our mission... to bring people back together, to the digital hearth." "High definition, to bring back high-quality family time."
9:02AM - "Please welcome Toshihiro Sakamoto."
9:05AM - Now for my predictions for the next four years. Talking about the digital hearth bringing the family together. Distributing complete HD kits to consumers to learn how to "improve the consumer experience." "Living in High Definition."
9:09AM - "As you can see, in addition to having a lot of fun, our products encourage creativity." Now Michelle and Carlton to talk about their awesome creative lives in HD. Oddly, they lives mainly revolve around watching flat panel TVs. The 103-incher has apparently been a huge success, moving 3000 units so far.
9:12AM - Sakamoto is back to talk about being environmentally friendly. Panasonic was the first manufacturer to eliminate lead in plasmas, and will continue to eliminate harmful materials. Energy efficient products will drop from 13% to 0%, and promises to reduce carbon emissions by 300,000 tons.
9:14AM - Now for the good stuff, the advancement of plasma tech. New plasma tech to double luminance efficiency, therefore requiring half the power consumption. "That's not our only priority, we know consumers want thinner and lighter plasma TVs."
9:16AM - Introducing next-gen prototype plasma less than 1-inch thick. 24.7mm at its thickest part. Less than half the weigh of current models.
9:17AM - Now we have another "huge surprise" for plasma TVs. Panasonic is building a new plant, their most advanced and most efficient. And it will produce... "Today we are proud to introduce the world's largest flat panel TV, ladies and gentleman, our 150-inch plasma." Much applause. "This allows you to show the elephant in the room."
9:23AM - Michelle and Carlton are back, talking about the Olympics, and trying to tie it all back to consumers -- but we're still thinking about that 150-incher.
9:27AM - Wireless HD will be available next year.
9:29AM - Carlton introduces Pansonic's Kid Witness News effort. An uber-cute news caster walks up to Comcast's Brian Roberts and introduces him to the room. Did we mention this was really cute?
Roberts is on stage, announcing "true two-way" for interactive TV. On demand HD. Espousing the benefits of an open cable architecture. Panasonic will be building "true two-way" TVs, available later this year. The cable box is built into the TV itself.
9:40AM - Now they're showing off Picasa, and the interface is equally slick. "This is a wonderful expansion of the digital hearth." Mike and Steve are out.
"Our vision is to take the TV beyond digital entertainment." "Whole Life Connectivity. Much of this is already happening in Japan, and will become more and more popular around the world in the next couple years.
Carlton and Michelle are back, talking about making the TV the center of our digital lives. Powerline networking, still pretty boring.
9:45AM - James Cameron talking about his use of Panasonic equipment in the filming of "Avatar." Now he's raving about Panasonic's Life Wall interactive large screen.
"My dream is to replace one whole wall in your home, living room or office. Imagine the possibilities. And because we can't bring you to the Life Wall, we brought Life Wall to you."
9:52AM - Michelle is receiving a video call. It's some creepy guy, standing in a virtual doorway, recommending "The Alps." Sakamoto is back, and a clip from "The Alps" takes over the entire screen.
9:54AM - Back to those digital families, raving about how Panasonic brought them together.
"A whole new digital hearth. A place that enables new was to learn, watch and communicate." ... "Creates dreams of a digital world. Is this just our imagination? Stay tuned to find out." And it's over.
Shapiro's back to plug the upcoming keynotes. Thanks for sticking in there, this was beefy one.