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Robert Goodwin

Excellent wrap-up from CES. If they call it the Consumer Electronics Show why don't they let consumer's into the show? I read that it's closed to the public.


Robert, consumers have been finding their way into CES for a number of years. All you need to do is go to any number of audio/video forums on the internet and each year there's always someone who gives directions as how to get in. Actually, it's pretty easy to do.

With that said, I guess I'm old school in that I think CES should be open only to the trade. If an end-user wants to see the latest and greatest stuff, that's what your local audio/video store is there for.

Since my living is predicated upon making sure audio/video stores stay in business, I detest the amount of consumers who make it into CES each year. And the Consumer Electronics Association (parent of CES) will not do anything to stop the tide as they garner kick backs from Las Vegas hotels for keeping the number of attendees high.

This year, I had less than 10% of my total dealers show up for CES. It was the same for a number of other regions around the nation. But, once again, the CEA announced record attendance figures of over 147,000 attendees for CES. So where is the increase coming from? End-users.

Consumers waste the time of all manufacturers that show at CES. When we're trying to conduct business with our current or potential dealers and consumers are interrupting and being just plain rude when asking questions.

And the worst ones are the consumers who try to pass themselves off as dealers. I have absolutely no time for those people.

I'm hoping the CEA changes the name of the show to the Professional Electronics Show or something like that. With the "Consumer" in the title, end-users think they have an invitation into the show.

But as long as they continue to encourage growth by lining their pockets from kick-backs from Las Vegas hotels, the CEA will never clamp down on end-users showing up at CES.

Tony Jobe

CES was actually open to the public once about 15 years ago. I recall attending the show at McCormick Place in Chicago. It was a one time experiment that ended with that show.

I think it would be pretty cool to open up at least a portion of the show to the general public. They could still keep part of it open only to dealers.

After all, part of the reason for trade shows is to create a buzz and get end users excited about buying the latest and greatest products.

End users can't just go to their local audio/video store to see this stuff because a lot of it won't be available in stores for several months.

We wanna see it now, dammit. :)


CES was open to the public for two years in Chicago back in 1993 and 1994. Those were the last two years the show was held in Chicago. The results were deemed a success by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), but most manufacturers called it a woefully failed experiment.

The CEA was grasping at straws trying to keep attendance high at the Summer CES in Chicago. But most manufacturers had abandoned Chicago in favor of one CES show in Vegas. And that was primarily due to two factors - the high price of union labor in Chicago; and the advent and rise of the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association (CEDIA) show.

Tony, you're right in that people can't go to stores to see the new stuff - mainly because a lot of things that are shown at CES are prototypes or works in project. A lot of times these are products that are "floated" for feedback from dealers who have a firm grasp on the direction and needs of end users.

As I said, a lot of end-users get into CES in Las Vegas. For the most part they are time wasters and propeller heads who are rude and demanding. Their feedback is usually unreasonable and unproductive. But the CEA isn't doing anything to try and keep them out of CES so their presence is going to continue to alienate the exhibitors and cause more manufacturers to pull out of the show.

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