CES 2009 is only days behind us and after spending the week at CES and going to several of the pre-show events, I can say that I found CES 2009 to be one of the worst shows in recent years. We already know that attendance at the show was down compared to other years.
Don't Miss: The Best HDR TVs
It didn’t take long walking around the show floor to notice that many of the booths were vacant; there was more space around than in previous years. As I walked around the show floor, I found myself thinking that there were very few new and interesting products being shown.
In previous years, hopping into the booth of a large electronics maker like Samsung or LG meant that you would see hoards of new TVs and other items that were coming to market very soon. These products were the focus of the booths and something you could expect consumers to be able to get their hands on.
When I went to these big booths last week, what I found were few new products that would actually be available soon and many more products that were mere prototypes that wouldn't be available for a year or more. One of the big things that were being shown in the booths of electronics giants were prototype TVs that were ultra thin.
I have already mentioned that I don’t think how thin or thick a TV is matters to most consumers unless the TV is being wall mounted. A thin TV doesn’t offer a better picture, it doesn't perform any better, and when/if they ever come to market they will surely cost more than the thicker brethren will.
Hitachi is a very good example of this, its 13mm thick LCD TV looked great, but offered little to the consumer other than a thin design. The PR person who I was talking with didn’t expect the set to hit market until around 2010 at the earliest. None of the thin TVs I saw, other than the OLED sets Sony has been offering for a long time now, will be available soon.
The biggest problem I had with CES 2009 aside from the lack of many new products was that it boiled down to a waste of my time. What is the point of spending money to travel to the show and spending my time trekking through the massive convention center halls if my fellow writers at home have faster and easier access to information on the new products than I get by attending the show?
Every product I saw that was new and actually going to be available this year was announced in a press release at the same time that it was available on the show floor. That meant that other sites working from press releases typically had a lead before I did. What I would like to see is companies introducing products at CES wait a day (or even a few hours) before release a PR across the wire to give those of us who actually go to the show a bit of time to attempt to get information out first. As it is short of live blogging an event or announcement, those at home typically get the scoop.
In retrospect, I would have been better off not going to CES 2009. I would have had time to cover more products, been able to publish details of new items faster, and saved myself from lost time flying to and from the event and walking around the halls looking for interesting gear. When all the dust settled from the show, CES simply isn't worth my time to attend. Unless things change drastically, CES 2009 is the last time I will attend the show; there is simply no need to go.