Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)

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The CEA is the preeminent trade association promoting growth in the $172 billion US consumer electronics industry. More than 2000 companies are members of the CEA, including legislative advocacy, market research, technical training and education, industry promotion, and the fostering of business and strategic relationships.

At recent CEA Industry Forums (2009), the focus has been on consumer electronics retail trends (e.g., changes in channel dynamics), 3DTV technology, green technology, and social media. CEA takes the (tentative) position that the 3DTV technology is demonstrating clear success at movie theaters and will gradually evolve into other facets of consumers’ viewing habits. But the guidance is that the industry needs to have reasonable expectations for 3DTV. 3DTV is gaining momentum, as covered in this text, but may not completely reach critical mass for several years. CEA recently observed that the top trends and technologies likely to prominently feature at upcoming international CES events are as follows: interactive TV topped the list as a trend to watch with a variety of partnerships, widgets, menus, and new ways to manage content across screens likely to generate “buzz” at upcoming CES trade shows; and 3DTV also will be a big trend, with the question of whether 3D glasses or an alternative solution will emerge as the most viable option. E-books and Netbooks were also highlighted as top 2010-and-beyond CES trends [17].

CEA is developing standards for the interface for an uncompressed digital interface between (say) the STB (called source) and the 3D display (called sink); these standards will need to include signaling details, 3D format support, and other interoperability requirements between sources and sinks. In 2008 CEA started standards work aimed at enabling home systems to play stereoscopic 3DTV. The group’s first step was to upgrade the interconnect standard used in the High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) to enable the cable/interface to carry stereo 3D data. Specifically this entailed an upgrade of the CEA 861 standard (A DTV Profile for Uncompressed High-Speed Digital Interfaces, March 2008) that defines an uncompressed video interconnect for HDMI. The standard defines video timing requirements, discovery structures, and a data transfer structure (InfoPacket) that is used for building uncompressed, baseband, digital
interfaces on DTVs or DTV monitors. A single physical interface is not specified, but any interface implemented must use Video Electronics Standards Association Enhanced Extended Display Identification Data (VESA E-EDID) for format discovery. CEA-861-E establishes protocols, requirements, and recommendations for the utilization of uncompressed digital interfaces by consumer electronics devices such as DTVs, digital cable, satellite or terrestrial STBs, and related peripheral devices including, but not limited to DVD players/recorders, and other related sources or sinks. CEA-861-E is applicable to a variety of standard DTVrelated high-speed digital physical interfaces such as Digital Visual Interface
(DVI) 1.0, Open Low Voltage Differential Signaling Display Interface (LDI), and HDMI specifications. Protocols, requirements, and recommendations that are defined include video formats and waveforms; colorimetry and quantization; transport of compressed and uncompressed, as well as Linear Pulse Code Modulation (LPCM), audio; carriage of auxiliary data; and implementations of the VESA E-EDID, that is used by sinks to declare display capabilities and characteristics.

At press time, CEA was also working on creating standards for 3DTV active and passive eyeglasses, metadata, on-screen displays, and user controls. A CEA group set up in 2009 was working on a standard for infrared signals used to control active shutter glasses; the group developed a requirements document and published a broad call for proposals in early 2010. The CEA also has a task group studying how to place captions in 3D space; the group was expected to issue a call for proposals in early 2010.