Report from the digital den

CBS' Chief Marketing Officer George Schweitzer takes a behind-the-scenes look at CNET's television-reviewing lab.

Talk about the ultimate man cave. I dropped in at the CNET testing headquarters in New York City and visited with two of the smartest guys in the TV/video space, David Katzmaier and John Falcone. I rely on these guys to keep me up to date on all the latest and greatest in TV-viewing technology.

Taking a behind-the-scenes look at CNET's television-reviewing lab.

Their man cave was more of a man cavern! It consisted of eight 50-plus-inch Internet-connected HDTVs loaded with all kinds of shows, applications, and add-on devices. It's their job to review and test the newest products in the digital home space. From TV widgets to Blu-ray players to Roku boxes and Boxee, they had everything a TV technophile could possibly hope for...and a comfy leather couch to boot.

And though it's exciting to see what's new and hot, I always remind myself and my staff that mass-market HDTV sets are what the majority of our viewers are working with. According to David and John, the average TV set in the U.S. is a 37-inch LCD that retails for about $500 and is bought at a big-box retailer. That's how America consumes television.

Naturally, that begs the question of whether (and when) people are willing to upgrade their sets once again to the latest innovation: 3D. As David and John recently reported, Panasonic's new 50-inch 3D sets, bundled with a Blu-ray player and glasses, are now available in Best Buy stores.

At this point, I'm not so sure that people want special glasses as part of their TV experience at home. People have a hard enough time keeping track of their remote controls--making sure they have ample pairs of compatible glasses could be a chore. In all the research and studies we've encountered, simplicity is central to the TV experience; if it's not easy, people won't do it. (Stay tuned for future posts here about the impact of 3D on the world of home entertainment.)

For tech geeks like me who are always looking for fresh, new ways to enhance our home viewing experience, the CNET Reviews team offers expert insight. Even if I can't always make it down to their man cavern, I always keep an eye on CNET's Television Central to keep tabs on the latest trends and innovations. For now, no matter how you look at it, the digital den is shaping up to be one very cool place.

About the author

    George Schweitzer's position as chief marketing officer at CBS gives him a unique opportunity not only to observe but also to help shape the ways technology is altering the television industry. A communications major at Boston University who joined CBS after graduation some 30 years ago, George is also an unabashed technology geek who specializes in the latest home automation and entertainment gear.

     

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