CES 2009: Preview of the World’s Largest Consumer Electronics Show

By Will Sullivan
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

Well, it’s early January, again—and that must mean it’s time for: a) the annual misdating of checks and documents debacle; b) the early abandonment of too-ambitious (and already onerous) New Year’s Resolutions; c) the counterbalance to the latter for all techno-geeks worldwide: the cornucopia of emerging technologies, realized and packaged in alluring consumer electronics toys that is the ginormous annual, International Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

This year’s CES, presented as ever by the international Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), promises to be no less of an utterly humongous, glittering, near-bewildering tech smorgasbord than in years past. The show is so big, no single attendee can possibly cover more than a small fraction of the exhibits. Unlike over forty years ago, when CES debuted in New York City (1967) with some 200 exhibitors and 17,500 attendees, this year’s edition, which takes place in Las Vegas from January 8-11, will feature over 2700 exhibitors, and will welcome over 130,000 industry retailers, marketers, competitors, journalists (and sneaky fans) from more than 140 countries all over the world—in over 1.7 million net square feet of exhibition space.

Too big for any one single venue, CES will span two major expo spaces: The Las Vegas Convention Center/Las Vegas Hilton, and the Sands Expo and Convention Center/The Venetian, with countless individual outliers and tangential, non-affiliated demonstrations in individual hotel and meeting rooms around the city. This is THE place to debut new tech, in whatever niche. Some highlights of historic debuts (and acronyms!) from years’ past:

-1970: Video Cassette Recorder (VCR)
-1974: Laserdisc Player (LDP)
-1981: Camcorder, Compact Disc (CD), and CD Player
-1990: Digital Audio Technology
-1991: Compact Disc-Interactive (CD-I)
-1993: Mini Disc
-1994: Radio Data System (RDS)
-1996: Digital Versatile Disc (DVD)
-1998: High Definition Television (HDTV)
-1999: Hard-disc Video Recorder/Personal Video Recorder (PVR)
-2000: Digital Audio Radio (DAR)
-2001: Microsoft X-Box, Plasma TV
-2002: Home Media Server
-2003: HD Radio
-2005: IP TV (Internet TV broadcasting)
-2006: A plethora of digital content services
-2007: Convergence of new digital content streams and technologies
-2008: Organic Light-emitting Diode (OLED) video screen technology

Since even large teams of journalists are hard pressed to cover more than a fraction of the show, what I will do over the next few days is bring you a compendium of the best-of-the-best coverage of major tech niches, from the most respected journalists, publications and websites from all over the web. Stay tuned, sexy geeks; shiny new tech toys await!

[Source: CES 2009/CEA official site]

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