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US: Electronic advances in automotive market highlighted at CES

New content and entertainment platforms and electronic advances in the automotive market were the hot topics of the 2008 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on Wednesday.

Leaders from Comcast and General Motors delivered keynote addresses, illustrating consumer technology’s growing relationship with both the content and automotive industries. Produced by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the 2008 International CES, the world’s largest tradeshow for consumer technology, began on Tuesday and runs through Thursday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Brian Roberts, chairman and CEO of Comcast Corp., delivered the morning keynote address, becoming the first chief executive from the cable industry to deliver a CES keynote. Roberts said Wednesday’s convergence of media has ushered in a new era for Comcast, which he referred to as Comcast 3.0. He identified innovation, technology, choice and customer service as the four major elements at the center of Comcast 3.0. Roberts announced the end of an era for set-top boxes, and proclaimed a new generation for two-way platforms with the introduction of an Open Cable platform called tru2way. Panasonic president Toshihiro Sakamoto joined Roberts on stage to announce their co-creation of Any Play, the first portable DVR and DVD combination with tru2way capability. Roberts also announced that more than 1,000 HD choices will be available for the portable device in 2008.

With the help of American Idol’s Ryan Sea crest, Roberts debuted Fancast, a launch pad for the convergence of the PC and television, creating a personalized television experience. The individualized site links quickly and easily to content on the television, Internet, DVDs or in theaters. With the use of wideband instead of broadband, Fancast is able to download a two-plus hour HD movie in four minutes. It is the first site where consumers can find, watch and manage all their video content in one place. Rick Wagoner, chairman and CEO of General Motors Corporation, delivered the afternoon keynote, marking the first CES keynote address by an automaker. As Wagoner noted in his remarks, GM’s presence at the show is further evidence of the convergence of the automotive and consumer electronics industries. (