The show floor at CES

The show floor at CES

Long, long ago, when I was working as a sports reporter, a colleague taught me a lesson. No matter how much time you have to spend in the rain covering a game, no matter how rudely you are treated by a player in the postgame locker room, never complain about it, because most readers would be happy to trade places with you for a day.

Since I just got back from the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, you can guess where this is going. The problem with CES isn’t that it treats its visitors poorly, (it tries to pamper them, really), it’s that for satellite TV in general and FTA reception in particular, there isn’t much of relevance on the exhibit show floor any more. Last year, I saw lots of small dishes for home use, and for a couple of years before that, they had actual cutting-edge FTA receivers to look over. This year, there were almost no FTA receivers, and the only small dish I saw was from a guy selling a multi-LNB, multi-satellite mount. Asked for the best way to dial in those adjacent birds, he told me, “Hire a professional.” Uh, thanks.

The only place I found FTA receivers was at the Coship booth, which was in the middle of the netbook vendors. That should tell you where Coship thinks the market is. The company has some nice-looking receivers, but they’re hard to find on North American shelves.

The other major FTA presence was just outside the Las Vegas convention center. Every year, there are any number of technical and trade magazines stacked up and available for free. You could choose from Variety, Wired, Broadcasting & Cable, iPhone Life, and many more. This year, for the first time I could remember, you could also grab a copy of Tele-Satellite Magazine, probably the best magazine for FTA enthusiasts. I was really happy to see it there. If you’ve never read it, or even if you just used to read it, click that link to go to its site and read an issue online.

Hi there. How have you been? Me, I’ve been working on a major redesign for the guts of FTAList.com. I’ve also realized that I neglected to point out (as many of you have noticed) that the blog has shifted away from the old FTAList subdomain to this bright, shiny dedicated WordPress site. So it’s okay to remember all of those old entries as long as remember to come here from now on.

Why the redesign? As the great old Equity stations and White Springs have left us, what remains is increasingly fragmented between regular old linear DVB-S, circular-polarity content, DVB-S2, and even C-band programming. FTAList needs to evolve to become something that matches what each visitor wants to see, so that’s what I’ve been working on.

(Yes, I think that White Springs might be gone forever. I hope I’m wrong, but three months off the satellites is not a good sign.)

Today, I’m making my annual pilgrimage to the slowly shrinking Consumer Electronics Show. The big buzz this year is 3D TV. Some folks who haven’t experienced it yet think it’s a goofy innovation like quadrafonic sound. Personally, I have experienced 3D TV, and I think it’s as inevitable, if about as far away, as HDTV was 10 years ago. It’s that cool, that different.

Look for more posts about the show in the next few days, and expect all of my posts to be here at FTABlog.com. I’m looking forward to writing more soon.