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New Consumer Digital Technology Welcomed By Record CES Crowds

Las Vegas-A record attendance of 122,244 visitors, 1.2 million net square feet of exhibit space, and likely record numbers of product and technology introductions were just some of the many highlights of this year’s International CES, held Jan. 6-9, here.

Digital technology was showcased in HDTV, wireless Web-access devices, home networking, Internet audio products, digital satellite radio, all forms of DVD, and the official unveiling of Microsoft’s Xbox game system by chairman and CES keynoter Bill Gates.

Major introductions were made by Panasonic, Philips, Toshiba, Sony and Zenith, as well as newcomers such as DataPlay, Sirius, XM Satellite and many others.

The big three CE retailers-Best Buy, Circuit City and RadioShack-were all on hand and said that higher-margined digital products drove Christmas sales and everything wasn’t all bad at retail during the holidays. (See stories below.)

In addition to Gates, other keynote speakers included Intel president/CEO Craig Barrett, America Online president of interactive services Barry Schuler and Palm CEO Carl Yankowski.

Also, FCC commissioner Michael Powell discussed what role he envisions for the agency in the battles over digital television, set-top boxes and other issues during the coming year.