@ CES: CEA’s Shapiro On State Of The Industry: Sure, The Economy Is A Mess, But CE Can Save The Day

It’s cheerleader time for Gary Shapiro, the president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association, pulling out all the stops to rev up the troops at CES before this morning’s keynote by Sony’s Sir Howard Stringer. Buried in the middle of it all — a projection that the industry will be flat as a pancake in 2009, with a .6 percent drop in revenue growth if all goes well. That compares with 2008, with projected growth of 6 percent and estimated actual 5.4 percent growth. Unit sales are growing but prices are coming down as retailers try to shove product out the door. The general message he wants to get across: times have been bad before and CE has survived; the economy is horrible now, but if the government stays out of the way, CE can be a force for revival.

Litigation: Referring to the CEA’s involvement in the Sony-Betamax decision as a key moment that paved the way for today’s technology and anytime, anywhere access. “How many technologies were never unveiled because of the threats of litigation? … We have to eliminate these incredible statuatory damages that unfairly inhibit innovation.” More to come.

The rest of our coverage is on our CES 2009 channel