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Then And Now – 40 Years Of CES

1967 was a powerful year — Lyndon Johnson sat in the White House and the International CES opened its doors for the first time. That’s right, this year, CES turns 40.

This is a milestone for any event and a major achievement for a consumer electronics trade show, where the average tenure tends to run 20 years.

A lot has changed since the first CES, known then as the Home Entertainment Show. What originally started as 150,000 net square feet in the Americana and Hilton hotels in New York, and included 110 exhibitors and 17,500 attendees, has grown into the world’s largest tradeshow for consumer technology.

The show began as a forum for companies to display their radios, phonographs and televisions. Forty years later, CES encompasses 30 product categories including wireless, mobile communications and digital imaging — many technologies that simply didn’t exist in 1967.

Throughout the past 40 years, CES has remained an industry event where consumer technology companies, both large and small, can display their latest products. Part of the wonder of CES is that you never know what life-changing innovations will be revealed. Over the past four decades, CES attendees have witnessed the introduction of groundbreaking products like the VCR, CD player, DVD player and HDTV. The average U.S. household owned 1.3 CE products in 1967 and that number has grown to 26 products in 2006. Who knows — the 27th and 28th CE product to arrive in U.S. homes may be discovered at the 2007 CES.

In fact, this CES promises to be nothing short of amazing. We expect more than 140,000 attendees from 130 countries to walk through the CES exhibit halls. And with 2,700 exhibitors covering more than 1.7 million net square feet of space, including our newest venue at the Sands Expo and Convention Center/The Venetian, our attendees will experience an amazing showcase of consumer technology products.

As you’ll see on the show floor, CES has a wide range of special events and displays. Visit the CES TechZones — we’ll have more than 20 spread throughout the LVCC and Sands/Venetian — to see the latest developments in gaming, IPTV, legal downloading and more. Which high-definition format will win the hearts of consumers? Visit both the Blu-ray and HD DVD TechZones and decide for yourself.

Keynote addresses at CES have always been hot-ticket items. This year we are privileged to have some of the biggest names in the consumer electronics and content industries as CES keynoters, with the top executives from Microsoft, Motorola, Disney, Dell and CBS delivering their industry vision. And with the keynote addresses getting a new home at the Sands/Venetian, there will be more than double the capacity as years past.

The CES conference program continues to grow and now spans hundreds of industry topics, with more than 175 conference sessions and 300 speakers featured at this year’s show. Whether it’s connected home entertainment, broadband advertising or vehicle integration infrastructure, there’s bound to be a session that fits your needs.

As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of CES, it’s clear that our show continues to thrive due to the amazing products and technologies our exhibitors create, and to the hundreds of thousands of consumer electronics professionals that travel around the world to experience this industry’s greatest innovations.

CES would not be the world’s largest trade show for consumer technology without the support of our exhibitors and attendees. You all contribute to the growth of our industry and for the success of CES — and for that we, and the CE industry as a whole, are grateful.

Forty years of new technologies, new product categories and new ideas — and what a ride it’s been. As you walk the show floor at this year’s CES, please take a minute and reflect upon the big ideas and innovations that have shaped our industry. Think about the products that have debuted over the past 40 years, and what those inventions have done for our lives. Imagine life without cellphones, PDAs and MP3 players.

What will the next 40 years of consumer electronics bring? We can’t wait to see!

Thank you for making the past 40 years of CES a success — and here’s to the future of consumer technology!