Consumer electronics manufacturers, retailers, and journalists gather at CES to not only see what products will be available in the coming year, but to get a sneak peek at prototypes for future products that are still in development. The Annual CES is organized by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the largest trade organization for consumer electronics manufacturers, retailers, and others associated with that industry.
2013 marks CES's 46th year. This important trade show began in 1967 with 17,000 attendees and 150,000 square feet of exhibit space. However, the CES has grown to well over 100,000 attendees (not including 5,000 press) and takes up over 2 million square feet of exhibit space, including the entire Las Vegas Convention Center, and significant portions of the The Venetian, and space in surrounding Hotels, including the Las Vegas Hotel, and The Renaissance Hotel.
CES was the spring board for cutting edge consumer electronics products throughout the years including:
1970: The Videocassette Recorder (VCR)
1974: The Laserdisc Player
1981: The Camcorder, Compact Disc Player
1997: The Plasma TV
1999: Hard-disc Video Recorder (PVR/DVR)
2000: Digital Audio Radio (DAR)
2001: Microsoft Xbox
2002: Home Media Server
2003: Blu-Ray Disc, HDTV PVR
2004: HD Radio
2007: Wireless HDMI
2009: 3D Blu-ray and TV
2010: Tablets and Android Devices
2011: Connected TV, Ford's Electric Focus
2012: 4K and OLED TVs
What will be the big thing at this year's CES in the home theater arena? If some of the pre-announcements are any indication so far, 4K UltraHD will be a hot topic, with more TVs coming from LG and Westinghouse.
On the other hand, it seems that LG and Samsung might be retreating from OLED, after stunning demos at the last CES. In addition, Mitsubishi will no longer be showing off DLP TVs after its recent announcement that it has discontinued them, and it will also be interesting to see what Panasonic will be showing in its booth as there are indications that they may announce that they will phase out their Plasma TV product line sometime during 2013.
2013 also marks the first year at CES in a very long time that Microsoft will not be exhibiting or have a keynote speaker slot.
That being said, there will be plenty of examples of refinement in current technology on display at CES, such as 3D (including a day-long seminar on 3D technology and content), Smart TV platforms (including Google TV), media players, media streamers, media servers, and whole house systems. On the audio side, it looks like Sound Bars will be everywhere this year, as even high-end audio manufacturers jump into the market, and for audiophiles, the Venetian Hotel will be featuring its usual collection of high-end audio exhibits.
There will also be several specially designated Tech Zones, including Eureka Park. HDMI, Innovations Design and Engineering Showcase, Gaming Showcase, and more. Check out the Official CES YouTube Channel for information on exhibit venues, special event programming, and other activities.
For more news and announcements from the upcoming CES, check in during and after right here at About Home Theater. For a look at my past CES Show Coverage, check out my On-The-Road At CES Photo and Report Archive. Image © CEA - Consumer Electronics Association - Used by Permission