Editorial–Why CES will count for HD voice this year, despite itself

The 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES – www.cesweb.org) is around two months away, and I already am pricing plane tickets and hotel.   This year’s CES will be a significant show for the HD voice community, even if the show doesn’t have a lot of rah-rah for VoIP or wideband.

Hopefully “The Media” will figure out this is a more significant development than the ongoing hype around 3-D TV (which most people 1) Can’t afford right now and 2) Has a dozen different standards).

A number of handset manufacturers will be rolling out AMR-WB support this year, thanks in part to France Telecom’s push to support the wideband codec across all of its networks and on-going adoption of HD voice in the European mobile community.  Expect LG to get behind AMR-WB in a big way.  You’ll also see the Bluetooth headset crowd come out with their HD-voice compatible gear; chip manufacturer CSR has already hinted this in a big way (even if 3 has NOT deployed HD voice service in the UK…)

With NETGEAR floating one service provider white label box supporting G.722 this year, the manufacturer will  have multiple offerings announced at CES this year if past behavior and customer demand is any indicator.  How the technology rolls into its Big Box/Retail channel is an open question at this point.

Expect to see quite a bit of CAT-iq gear for both the cable industry and from the DECT crowd. CableLabs has published all the standards for full-blown SIP transport between its members and it’s about time for the cable industry to do more than just talk.

We’ll see more out of the over-the-top (OTT) crowd both in terms of G.722-based hardware solutions – think Ooma (www.ooma.com) – and wideband software clients on the iPhamily and Android devices.  OTT represents a wild-card in the HD voice world, because OTT services are dependent upon QoS (or lackthereof) by a third-party.

I don’t want to forget the component-level guys, such as CSR and D2 Technologies (www.d2tech.com).  If you listen carefully, you can get some hints on products in the pipeline.

Finally, I’d like to have a talk with the Google TV guys and see what their thoughts are on voice and video in the home.

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