Since 1967, the Consumer Electronics Show has been the place to unveil new technology and products, from the VCR in 1970 to Microsoft’s Avatar Kinect in 2011.
Although in recent years no single product has sparked a technology revolution, over the last few decades many innovative technologies have been displayed for the first time at the iconic show.
This year, CES experts are expecting Ultrabooks, the PC version of Apple’s lightweight Macbook Air, to be hot products.
Here's a look at some of the major debuts at CES throughout its history.
By Gennine Kelly
Posted 9 Jan 2012
Introduced at CES: 1970
Decades before digital recording devices, like TiVo and the DVR, the buzz surrounded the now-quaint VCR.
This device recorded TV programs on an analog VHS tape. Although the VCR didn’t receive mass-market success right away, a decade later it was in use by most American households. The VCR revolutionized home entertainment, allowing audiences to experience movies in their homes — instead of just in theaters — and paved the way for the now ubiquitous DVD and Blu-ray discs.
Introduced at CES: 1981
Two popular products, the compact disc player and the camcorder, changed both the way people listened to music and the way key events at home were recorded.
The CD player was introduced as a way for people to enjoy their favorite music using compact discs, replacing tape decks and record players across much of the music landscape.
The camcorder revolutionized the way consumers recorded personal home movies, setting the stage for a new breed of filmmakers, and ultimately the YouTube generation.
Introduced at CES: 1984
Although the makers of Nintendo already had a successful game console in Japan, called Famicom,it took several years to get their product noticed around the world.
After several failed attempts, including the introduction of the game console at CES in 1984 and an updated version at CES in 1985, Nintendo decided to change the look to resemble a toy, and began selling it directly to toy sections of stores in New York and Los Angeles.
The strategy paid off in late 1985 when NES sold 90,000 units at their New York locations alone between October and Christmas.
The system was launched nationwide in 1986 and became one of the best-selling video game consoles of all time.
Introduced at CES: 1996
When the DVD debuted at CES, it was presented as a new way to store data, audio and video through optical disc storage technology. By 2003, the DVD had become the standard way to view video content, replacing the VHS videotape.
As of the first three months of 2011, DVD sales plummeted by 20 percent from the same period in 2010, according to the Digital Entertainment Group, which represents film studios and consumer electronics companies. This presents a significant challenge for Hollywood film studios.
Total sales from film-related “packaged goods,” which include DVD and Blu-ray discs, fell from about $2.6 billion to $2.1 billion in the U.S., according the figures. The DEG said the decline was related to the success of films released in the period, with the first quarter of 2010 having a stronger selection of films than the start of 2011, according to The Financial Times.
Introduction at CES: 1998
High-definition televisions have signals with higher resolution than their predecessors, displaying a sharp picture in wide-screen format.
The first high-definition television sets offered for sale in September 1998 were priced at $8,000. Prices have come down considerably — consumers can now purchase an HDTV for as little as $140.
As of June 2011 two-thirds of all TV homes had an HD set, a 20 percent increase over 2010, according to Nielsen’s Cross Platform Report.
Introduction at CES: 2000
Satellite radio offered an alternative to the traditional AM/FM signals, which can usually only travel 50 to 100 miles from their source.
Now with SiriusXM the signal spectrum can be broadcast from 3.7 million square miles,allowing listeners to not have to change the dial when traveling long distances, according to the company’s website.
SiriusXm satellite radio was the result of a merger between Sirius and XM in February 2007, creating the largest satellite radio company in the United States.
At the time, there was concern that combining these two satellite radio giants would create an unstoppable behemoth, but ultimately the FCC approved the merger.
Introduction at CES: 2001
In a keynote speech at CES, Bill Gates introduced the Xbox,signaling Microsoft’s debut in the console gaming market.
“Xbox will set the standard in gaming for years to come,” Gates told the audience. Since the announcement, online gaming through consoles has exploded and some games have eclipsed the $1 billion mark in sales.
During the week of Black Friday 2011, Microsoft had its biggest sales weekin Xbox history, selling more than 960,000 game consoles. As of June,it was estimated that 55 million Xbox consoles had been sold since its inception and that the global market revenue in 2011 was expected to be $65 billion.
Introduction at CES: 2003
The Blu-ray Disc was introduced to enable recording, rewriting and playback of high-definition video, as well as a successor to regular DVDs.
Blu-ray was locked in a format war with HD-DVDs for years, a rivalry that ultimately saw Blu-ray come out on top.
At the 2008 CES, Warner Bros. announced it would no longer release its films on HD-DVD’s, signaling the victory of Blu-ray.
Introduction at CES: 2009
When Panasonic introduced 3D Full HD Plasma Home Theater System at CES, it quickly became among the most-visited exhibits that year.
The demo of the theater system consisted of a 103-inch plasma set, a Blu-ray Disc player, and a pair of “shutter glasses” that worked in synchronization with the plasma.
These glasses enabled the viewer to experience 3D forms with twice the volume of information as regular HD images. Since then, 3D HDTVs have become increasingly available while movies released in 3D format are commonplace.
Introduction at CES: 2010
A plethora of devicesranging from Hewlett-Packard’s Multitouch Tablet to Sony’s Dash Mobile Internet Device were unveiled at CES as consumer demand for more portability in personal computers heightened.
Despite Apple’s lack of participation at CES, its rumored tablet — eventually known as the iPad — generated the most buzz at the show.
Apple’s Steve Jobs introduced the iPad later that month calling it “our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device.”
Since then, tablets have become crucial to the product lines of major tech companies and have changed the way consumers experience the Internet.