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History of CES the Consumer Electronics Show

The History of CES – the Consumer Electronics Show

General, Industry


The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the world’s largest annual trade show, officially opens tomorrow. Every year CES draws attendees from all around the world that are ready to share ideas, achievements, revolutionary developments, and to do business. It also presents a huge opportunity for developers and manufacturers to show and discuss their products, to recognize the competitors and to help them understand the future of the consumer technologies in order to stay tuned.

For those of you who are not fully aware about this significant annual event in the world of technology, we would like to tell you the history of this tradeshow and its major announcements.

It all began back in June 1967 in New York City at the Hilton and Americana hotels. Actually, this tradeshow was as a spinoff of the Chicago Music Show. And by that time this Music Show had served as the main event for exhibiting consumer electronics and technologies. Only 14 companies had attended that very first CES including Motorola, LG and Philips. This first CES was particularly notable by presenting solid-state electronic devices and a real avalanche of electronics from Japanese manufacturers. The show really wowed its visitors with amazing new gadgets. The tradition of promotional models, officially known as “CES Guides” but commonly referred to as “booth babes” or “trade show hostess” was alive and well at the first CES.
They’ve been the subject of controversy and nerd fantasy ever since.

The next year, CES was held in three New York hotels. One of the stunning gadgets on display was a radio small enough to wear on your wrist. For two-way communication, you needed the wonder of the age: a Portable Executive Telephone. It cost more than 2000 dollars, weighed 19 pounds and required an FCC license to operate.

In 1972 CES moved to Chicago and the format changed to a biannual event in 1973. By 1978, the show fell into a regular schedule – In January The Winter CES took place in Las Vegas, Nevada, and in June the Summer CES took place in Chicago. In 1994 the popularity of the summer shows in Chicago was declining, so the organizers experimented by having the summer show travel to different cities including Orlando. In 1998 the summer show was cancelled, making CES an annual trade show with Las Vegas as the location. Some say this was because the video game industry was snubbed by the CES organizers who game them terrible booth locations, until the video game industry created their own summer event, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, which had its first event in the summer of 1995 in Los Angeles.

Since the time of the very first show in 1967 many new electronic products, developments and concepts have debuted at CES. Some of them have come and gone, others have come and stayed – all this happens every year in the one of the most popular tradeshows in the world again and again.

The last CES 2015 hit several records in the entire history of the show – verified attendance reached a record 176,676 industry professionals with 48,833 coming from outside of the United States. More than 3,600 exhibitors, more than 2.23 million net square feet of exhibit space and 6,952 media and analyst attendees. The independent audit, performed by Veris Consulting, LLC, confirms CES’ status as the world’s biggest gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technologies.

Here are some major announcements made throughout the history of CES:

1970 – the very first VCR (video cassette recorder) presented to the world. In 1971 Sony showed their U-Mati VCR that came into consumer marked several months later.

1974 – the premiere of the world’s first Laserdisc player. The same year CES become a partner of NARM – National Association of Recording Merchandisers.

1975 – Atari Pong game console is present, which was a successor of the previous Atari’s hit – Breakout.

1977 – the very first VHS (Video Home System) VCR – a portable VCR, which become one of the most popular and long living standards of home video players for years to come. Also, cheap electronic watches were present as the main hit – models from Texas Instruments were available from 20 USD.

1978 – early home computers were present in the first show in Las Vegas, which became the only city for CES in January up until now.

1981 – world’s premiere of portable camcorder and the very first CD (Compact Disc) and CD Player.

1982 – Commodore 64 personal computer and Western Technologies Vectrex game console.

1984 – number of attendees hit the record – almost 100000 people have visited each summer and winter shows. Amiga home computer is present.

1985 – the milestone Nintendo Entertainment System (also known as Nintendo Advanced Video System) game console was introduced.

1988 – Tetris game was present. Henk Rogers was the first publisher. In 1989 every Game Boy console has this game in its memory.

1990 – More than 1600 journalists has visited the show. This fact has identified the tendency for years to come – from this time forward more press media representatives are visiting the show than actual consumers from the street. DAT (Digital Audio Technology) is present.

1992 – Apple attended to show for the first time and John Sculley officially presented a pocket computer – Newton.

1993 – Sony’s premiere of Mini Disc – portable player with disc that contained up to 74 minutes of music in digital format of high quality, which was kept manufacturing up until 2011. RDS (Radio Data System) presented. The Summer CES was open for general public as one-time experiment.

1994 – the very first Digital Satellite System is shown.

1996 – the very first DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) is present. As well as VHS at its time, DVD has become a standard de facto for home video entertainment for years to come.

1998 – HDTV (High Definition Television) introduced for the first time.

1999 – Dish Network demonstrated a DVR (Digital Video Recorder) that was utilizing hard drives to store and play movies and video shows.

2000 – Digital Audio Radio is presented.

2001 – the original Microsoft Xbox game console firstly introduced. It was the first video game console manufactured by an American company after the Atari Jaguar stopped sales in 1996 and Microsoft’s first endeavor to enter into the gaming console market.

2001 – PDP (Plasma Display Panel) aka Plasma TV firstly shown. The technology is based on display cells containing electrically charged ionized gases (plasmas).

2002 – Home Media Server is presented.

2003 – a year which was remarkable by series of shows presented by Microsoft with constant narrator – Bill Gates as head of the corporation.  The very first Blu-Ray and HD Radio consumer technologies and products are present.

2004 – HDA (High Definition Audio) is presented.

2005 – CES becoming the biggest consumer electronics tradeshow in the world with number of attendees of 150000. IPTV and Windows Media Server firstly introduced to the public.

2006 – Variety of new digital content services is presented

2007 – New convergence of content and technology – the tendency that as technology changes.

2008 – OLED technology coming into TV panels.

2009 – Palm Pre multitask smartphone is debuted. This smartphone was the first to use Palm’s Linux based mobile operating system – webOS. It has camera, portable media player, location and navigation features built-in. The very first 3D HDTV, 3D-projector and the world’s first 3D-webcam are presented.

2010 – very reach year for dozens of innovative products: Intel Core i7 computers processor debuted, the very first tablet PC, world’s first netbook, variety of Android based portable devices

2011 – lots of new tablets from different manufactures were introduced, such as Motorola Xoom. New 3D TVs were also presented by many famous manufacturers like Samsung, Toshiba, LG and others.

2012 – Photo Marketing Association held its first annual tradeshow in conjunction with CES. Microsoft keep making different presentations of their products, but this time without Bill Gates, who has announced about his retirement back to 2008.

2013 – this year a lot of new products were present in such categories as 3D, Audio, Automotive Electronics, Embedded Technologies, Electronic Accessories, Lifestyle Electronics, Wireless Device and many others. Qualcomm presented Snapdragon 600 & 800 processors mobile processors that can bring 4K recording capability in Mobile Phone market. Samsung unveils multi-view TVs and Flexible OLED Display Youm.

2014 – The very first Li-Fi smartphone debuted. Samsung unveiled its curved TVs with two series of concave TVs. Pebble is announcing their first Pebble Steel smartwatch. LG debuts with their WebOS on SmartTVs.

2015 – hit a new record as the largest CES tradeshow though the entire history of the event. 3600 exhibitors and 170000 professional attendees were presented on the show. The Internet of Things that would have an major impact on all the other related industries has been recognized as buzzword of CES 2015 edition. Major TV manufacturers presented their model of 4K compatible TVs.

In 2016 CES will be hosting over 3600 companies across 2.4 million square feet exhibition areas. The show promised to be quite interesting and promising for new gadgets and appliances for personal, home and corporate use. At AVADirect we are excited to attend CES and present the AVA Omni VR Desktop at the Virtuix Omni booth.

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I'm a marketing professional who loves to get down to the geeky details. When I'm not studying the latest components or industry news, I can be found biking, hiking or gaming.