Aside: Holiday Season Estimated Electronics Sales Up 6.5% to $8.75 Billion Through December 23

[Author's note: the HTML in this document is allowing a large blank space before the table that can be seen a little further down. If anyone has a way of fixing it, please let me know. -BK]

Source The NPD Group as reported by Doug Olenick of TWICE magazine on 2 January 2007 (http://www.twice.com/article/CA6403572.html?nid=2402 accessed 3 January 2007)

Overall Christmas season sales grew 6.5 percent to $8.75 billion. According to NPD's point-of-sale data, $8.75 billion was spent from Thanksgiving week through Dec. 23. This year's increase was lower then the 10 percent increase posted during the 2005 season, according to NDP.

The top five selling categories for the year were LCD TVs, digital cameras, notebook computers, MP3 players and plasma TVs. Navigation systems did not break into the top five, but were the fastest growing category at retail, with revenue increasing 143 percent and unit shipments up 309 percent. Other big winners were external hard drives, digital cables and USB flash drives, said NDP. Interestingly enough, these data end on December 23, the last day of Hanukkah this year. Even the Miracle on 34th Street alludes to the crush of sales right up to store closings on December 24, not to mention the after Christmas sales. Scroll down to see the table if it is not visible:


Dollar Volume

Dollar Share of Total

Unit Growth

2005 vs. 2006

Dollar Growth

2005 vs. 2006

Average Selling Price 2005

Average Selling Price 2006


$924 million






Digital Still Cameras

$828 million






Notebook Computers

$813 million






MP3 Players

$719 million






Plasma TVs

$393 million






Source: The NPD Group

The Consumer Electronics Industries comes out with its sales estimates within a few days, if history is a guide. On yet another aside, Hanukkah gift sales are difficult to find, and business writer Carol Carter of allbusiness.com wrote in her blog that she couldn't even find any online promotions for Hanukkah gift sales other than Wal-Mart (Source: www.allbusiness.com accessed January 2007.) I guess that just adds to the Colbert Nation's "protest against the assault on Christmas".


PSP-1001 Videogame Experience (Reverse Chronological Order)

[Author's note: Parents, this is my research blog about new media coming onto the market in the United States. I am not endorsing these innovations, just writing to try to understand where they fit in the coming new media age in the U.S.]

OK, I tell my new media students that I am at best an early adopter when it comes to new media. Indeed, as a student of the adoption, reinvention, and even rejection of media innovations, it's very fair to say that I am a media skeptic. Having said that I also have been telling my students for years that the future of the web was video and that is being bourn out even as I write this blog.) I might even be late majority; I didn't buy a VCR until 1988 despite the fact that my early university research centered on the VCR. (In the case of the VCR, I also was afraid I'd start spending too much time with movies, which turned out to be true while I was in the "novelty stage" of owning my VCR. There was also a huge catalog of titles by then, and it was "obvious" that VHS had beaten Beta by then. In addition, both of my parents grew up in the Great Depression and I was molded in their form which does not include spending money like an inebriated sailor).

I did like old video games and would probably still like playing pong (there's something of a comedic effect to playing pong as the "dumb" program lets you miss easy "shots") and I really did enjoy Space Invaders and a couple of others. Should I feel old now knowing that they have returned as retros? Well, as I watched college age women adopt the same hair and clothes that young ladies wore when I was in high school and college (just before Charlie's Angels got women away from the part down the middle straight hair to the famous "blow-dried" look exemplified in that iconoclastic [I can't believe I said that word] caught on), it softens the blow that the old games are back. (It's especially funny to see Disney Channel's tween and teen shows showing boys with the longer hair, unkempt look that was thoroughly quashed pretty early in the Reagan era). Interestingly, I have not sought to play them. My students used to play Yahoo games and I'd guess it plateaued around 3 years ago as more sophisticated games became available.

What this means is I am a babe in the woods on current video games. My daughter patiently grabs the PSP out of my hands and presses the correct buttons to teach me how to play, So I have not learned, before now, the meaning of square, triangle, "o" and "x" (although x was the easiest to learn). While the PSP portable came with three games, I bought Cars (from the Pixar movie of the same name) because my daughter and I both liked the movie and its characters very much). So I began by "racing" in the "Cars" video game and left nothing on the race track, as they say (meaning my car would have been totally trashed by the time I was done, smashing into the guardrail and large boulders on either side of the road).

Good foreshadowing here: I found myself leaning left and right as I tried to keep my car on the track. (See news items about Nintendo's Wii controllers going airborne

You may use this content (better still, argue with me!), but please cite my ideas as © 2007, Dr. Bruce Klopfenstein. Find any typos! Don't smite me, let me know!

Autoethnography again: The Sony PSP Portable Video Game

[Author's note: blogger was not depicting images that otherwise appeared to be uploading fine. Do a search of " PSP-1001 " at a site such as images.google.com or the Sony PSP web site, psp.com.]

I have two daughters, and my wonderful 5th grader (11 in 2 months) wanted a portable PSP, which she referred to as a PSP3. I decided instead to get her a PSP3 regular video game console and keep it at my house (I'm divorced, of course, with my daughters spending time at both houses), thus allowing me to continue to learn more about video games.

So here is my quick overview, we just opened up her Christmas presents yesterday. I bought it at Best Buy and they just handed me a separate plastic case that is an ingenius contraption that covers all of the PSP when being used except the buttons that must be available. It even covers the entire screen which looks to be approximately 1:00 to 1:85 aspect ratio (we can look it up). It came with 2 games on 2 small, CD-like disks but with a cover for most of the game side of the disk (taking me back to the RCA Selectavision videodisc player that was abandoned in 1984).

The device is rather heavy (but solid feeling) for its small size and it has video playbak ability (I bought one such disk for $19.99 and personally would probably never pay that price for another movie unless, perhaps, it was one I'd watch repeatedly. It's just too expensive and here is Sony, once again, getting consumers to repeat buy media content they so often changw. I've never read anything to suggest that the Sony Mini-Disc music player wasn't also another successful attempt to get people to repurchase old content on a new media playform).

To get to the movie first (because that's a simple non-interactive use of the portable PSP), you need headphones for quality sound (otherwise it's the kind of telephone-quality sound you might expect from a tiny speaker). What people have to understand is that in many cases, the smaller the screen, the higher the definition. That's certainly the case with the PSP3. So if you've been reading my blog, you know that I scratch my head as to when (we don't all ride subway trains and planes) anyone would want to look at a screen this small for a 1.5 to 2 hour movie.

But there is an application that I can see working quite well: that is the fact that this player is also a wireless device which quickly connected to my home network with the kind of immediacy you'd like all such devices to make. Now if you think of the dimensions of the screen, you can imagine that browsing the Internet is not the greatest experience. However, I was able to go to Google news which is, for me personally, an activity I really want to be able to do anywhere, anytime. As for video, however, from what I learned spending about an hour seeking videos to play on the PSP3 portable, it may be only videos in a format specific to the PSP (research assistant would fill in here). So with my limited experience, it's $20 PSP CD-like disk and a caddy.

The memory stick that comes with the PSP3 portable is small and anyone wishing to download games and other multimedia content will almost certainly have to purchase a larger memory stick (no surprise to any cynical consumer electronics purchaser).

I will write a separate section on using the PSP portable for Internet access and my first videogame experience of consequence since Space Invaders was not a retro program.

Oh, by the way, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

You may use this content (better still, argue with me!), but please cite my ideas as © 2007, Dr. Bruce Klopfenstein. Find any typos! Don't smite me, let me know!