CES 2013 – what's the big deal?

Don't know what all the CES fuss is about, or even what CES really is? Let us fill you in on the world's annual tech pilgrimage

While CES is a yearly occurence on our calendar, some of you out there could be new to the largest tech show on Earth. So here's an introduction before the onslaught of shiny new tech begins in earnest.

What does CES stand for?

It stands for Consumer Electronics Show, and it's chock-full of the latest tech designed for the public (that's you).

When did it start?

The show first arrived in 1967 in New York with just 14 exhibitors as a spin-off from the Chicago Music Show.

Where is it?

Since 1967 it's hopped around a bit, appearing in Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas and even Mexico City, with four shows in 1994 alone. Now it's a once-a-year blowout in Las Vegas, Nevada, attracting 156,000 visitors last year alone.

Is it just going to be lots of new TVs?

Okay, so at times CES can feel like a show populated by more TVs than people, but as the tech world descends upon the giant exhibition halls in Vegas there will be plenty of other things to see. We're digging out the cream of the next big things, tech gems and tech oddities served up at the show. You'll find them on our CES page.

Are all the big tech brands there?

Most, but not all, of the big names turn up year in, year out to showcase their latest wares. The most notable absences are Apple (which has done its own thing for years) and this year Microsoft is also out. This follows a run of Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer dominating the keynote speech since 1995. But you can bet that almost everyone else is there working hard to show off their latest and greatest.

Is it all just concepts or will I be able to buy some of it?

Remember the name? It's primarily consumer tech so most of it is already on, or very close to, the production line. That's not to say there won't be a few out-there concepts to spice things up and give a taste of what we might see more of in years to come.

Has anything ever launched at CES and made it big?

You bet it has. Being the world's biggest tech show, it's attracted some big launches over the years. Here are a few you might recognise:

1971 8-track

1974 LaserDisc

1975 Atari home Pong console

1976 First cheap ($20) digital watch (Texas Instruments)

1981 Compact Disc (CD)

1982 Commodore 64

1985 Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)

1993 MiniDisc

1996 Digital Versatile Disk (DVD)

1998 High Definition TV

1999 TiVo Digital Video Recorder (DVR)

2001 Microsoft Xbox

2004 Blu-ray and HD DVD

2008 OLED TV

2009 3DTV

So there you have it: CES in a Las Vegas nutshell. Now that you know the ropes, keep an eye on Stuff.tv and we'll return the favour by filling your eyes with all the most exciting and wackiest new tech CES 2013 has to offer.

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