• CES in Retrospect

Hey folks, Valkor here. Ahhhh it is that time if year again as we get ready to head to the big show of all shows, the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2008. This will be my 4th year attending the show and by now you’d think I’d be bored with it. But on the contrary I find the whole event exciting. From the moment you step off the plane and enter the baggage terminal, you’re swamped with all kinds of banners and ads welcoming you to CES as well as banners from various companies who will be featuring their hot new product on the show floor. Almost every year since I started going, I’ve met someone who was kinda blasé about the whole event, like this is something they do daily. But more often I meet folks who do go and are still excited about the whole thing and the chance to play with all these new fangled gizmos and what not. What you’re about to read is not a preview of what’s to come, I’m saving that for Unveiled next month, but my CES in retrospect from the very first time up to 2007 and some brief thoughts on 2008.

My love for CES began back when I got the original Nintendo NES and I’d read Nintendo Power and Gamepro magazines. Yearly there would be articles that discussed games and such that would appear at CES and since then it has always been my dream to attend this wondrous event where I could play with all these games and electronic gadgets that wouldn’t be out for months, maybe years to come. My chance came when I met someone within the industry who signed me up. But I didn’t get excited until I was confirmed and I was literally holding my badge in my hand. I mean OMG I was about to go to CES. Years before I only read about going, dreamt about going and here I am on the cusp of attending the greatest gadget show ever. This also, mind you, would be the first time I would be visiting Las Vegas so I was double excited. (It’s Vegas baby!) When I got there, yes I was overwhelmed by all that I saw, and I had a nice time, but it felt like I was missing out because I was just an attendee with no real business, so it felt like I was wasting the exhibitor’s time and yes in a sense I was. I mean I was only a lookee loo not a buyer or press; literally I was there just to look, nothing more. So yes it was great, I didn’t get the full experience but still I was quite happy that I was able to attend.

Fast forward to 2004, TOV was a year old already and Krush and I really wanted to expand our coverage, so we thought why not try CES? We’ve done a few tech articles on stuff we bought. And if we didn’t get in we don’t lose anything right? Fortunately we were allowed to attend the 2005 show and let me say that was a MUCH better experience than when I first attended in 2001. This time I was there on business, this time I am not there just to look, I was there to test gadgets, chat with reps, take notes, take pics, and basically get the inside scoop on what’s hot and what’s not. Since I’m wearing a different badge, a press badge, would exhibitors be more or less receptive? I mean TOV isn’t as well known as it is now; we had no prior meetings with these companies, I mean what would really happen? The answer they were a more receptive than my first outing however most were a bit stand offish because who the hell is this “The Other View” guy anyway? However companies like PQI, Apex, Samsung, and Dolby were most welcoming and I always enjoy going back to them. And on the second day, I found my stride, hopped from booth to booth and gathering as much info as I could. It was cake and I was relaxed, open to talking with reps, really just enjoying the moment. One thing about CES, if you do the whole show, by the end of the day you will be exhausted. Ok now that I got over that hump, CES 2006 should have be cake right?

You damn well better believe it. TOV was now heading into its 3rd year, the site took a change for the better and at CES Unveiled in 2005 we made some new contacts with companies such as Axion and Parrot. Krush and I knew going into CES 2006 would change TOV from then on. We simply didn’t know just how much it would change. The one misconception that we gathered about TOV was that it was a Blog. I don’t hate on Blogs, but most leave such a bad taste in my mouth. I’ve read my share in the past and most were really depressing or just UGH! (I don’t need to read about someone’s day, from the time when they woke up, till when they got home and all the schtuff in between). I made it a point to stress to the companies I met that year just what TOV is all about. They listened and I was greeted openly. More so by the people at Dolby, who gave me my very first booth tour. CES 2006… what a blast and again it opened many new doors for TOV, we met many new contacts, got to play with lots of new gadgets, and the site received a much needed new look that year.

This brings me to CES 2007. Now that I’ve settled into my role as an Editor and writer and TOV was in its 4th year, I knew the game plan going in, I knew what I had to do when I stepped on that showroom floor. It wasn’t about me just having fun and getting the chance to play with all these new toys, I wanted to not only meet up with past contacts but also make some new ones so that TOV can go to the next level. I walked into 07 with a whole new air of confidence which was a complete opposite to the meekness I had in 2001. I was comfortable with my ability to be objective, I felt positive that when I stepped on that showroom floor things would look up… and they did. It was the first time I was truly professional and yet that kid in me still ooo’d and ahhhh’d at all the new shiny gizmos that lay before me. How can you resist controlling a new HD-DVD player, checkin out new MP3 players, winning an Xmod from Creative, laughing it up with NetGear, and listening to the live, acoustic sounds of Duff over at Belkin’s area? It was an amazing year and helped boost TOV where it is today.

But now with an all new look that’s streamlined and added sections, TOV will be in top form come CES 2008. I’m still not bored taking the journey to Vegas. Hell just the fact I’m going to Vegas is plus enough, but adding CES on top of that? I can’t lose. I’m excited to see the new sections that have been added to CES, I’m eager to check out the future of television, movies and gaming, and I yearn to try out all that’s new in the tech industry. CES 2008 is going to be most interesting so stay tuned to these pages for Unveiled 2007 and my CES 2008 report.