For those of you who can't share the glory and the traffic of being in CES, here's the first of occasional updates.
CEA President Gary Shapiro opened the convention with a strong push for protection of fair use and innovation. While he said the consumer electronics industry wants to work with content providers, and doesn't favor piracy or illicit file-sharing, Shapiro said consumers must be able to retain the right to time-shift and place-shift.
He also made a strong pitch for the importance of network neutrality, saying consumers should have unfettered access to content and that proprietary systems shouldn't block access.
This is, of course, the first show in which the music industry is participating, showcasing legal download systems. And MPAA Pres. Dan Glickman and many of his senior staff are expected to come for a tour.
Meanwhile Verizon Chairman Ivan Seidenberg presented a company philosophy which generally showed a more conciliatory attitude to net neutrality than has AT&T Chairman Edward Whitacre. Whitacre famously said he was spending money to build broadband networks, and didn't see why Google, Yahoo and others should use it for free.
Seidenberg and his staff said they see their network as a platform for innovation. Adriana Rizzo, who made the presentation on Verizon's video networking and phone products, said after the presentation the Seidenberg generally takes a more conciliatory attitude toward the network. I wasn't able to catch up with Seidenberg after his presentation to ask for more details.
Sony Chairman Howard Stringer, Sir Howard Stringer to his peers, also made a strong pitch for the ability to shift music and video among devices, including the Playstation Portable. His staff shows a demonstration of devices that allow home TV to be viewed anywhere around the world.
Stringer also made a brief mention of the Sony-BMG copy protection fiasco, saying the content community and tech community misunderstand each other from time to time. But, he said, “that's the definition of marriage.”
His star-studded presentation included DaVinci Code author Dan Brown endorsing the new Sony e-reader, and Tom Hanks, director Ron Howard and producer Brian Grazer talking about HD production of movies, including their latest project, the Da Vinci Code.