A brief history of CES (and why you should care about the world's biggest tech show)

  • Pranav Dixit, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jan 07, 2015 01:39 IST


If you're interested in technology, even slightly, January is an important month. It's when the annual CES -- Consumer Electronics Show -- happens in Las Vegas. CES sets the tone for the technologies we'll see in the year ahead. Here's a guide to the basics.

What is CES?

CES is short for Consumer Electronics Show. It happens every year in early January in Las Vegas in the United States and sees exhibitors more than 140 countries come together to show off their latest inventions to international press.

CES first started in New York in 1967 where the highlight of the announcement was -- ta da -- televisions with integrated circuits. Yep. This year, we saw a smart flower pot that automatically waters your plant and a $6,000 smartphone. Yep. That's how far we've come in almost 50 years.

Why should I care?

You don't have to, you really don't. But the truth is that nearly every major technology that you take for granted and have taken for granted for many years debuted at CES events -- the VCR (1970), the CD player (1981), the DVD (1996), the HDTV (1998), and the Xbox (2001) among others.

CES sets the tone for the technologies that we will see in the year ahead, which makes it incredibly exciting for nerds like us. It's a chance to be the first to see the incredible innovation that we will see in the months to come.

Is everything released at CES incredible?

Nope. Most of the stuff that is shown off at CES is never released. Some of it is, well, weird. And a lot of the things that do see the light of day turn out to be duds.

How can I attend?

You can't. CES is a media event and it's closed to the public, unfortunately. But seriously, if you go to Vegas, poker chips might be way more fun than microchips.

This is exciting! Where can I find out more about CES?

The Verge has an incredible series of photographs from CES events starting all the way from 1967 to 2014. There's also a fun infographic right here. The Wire has a great piece about CES "booth babes," the young, attractive women who act as show floor guides and date all the way back to the beginning of CES. And Mashable has more great pictures.

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