Fifty years ago the first CES had to move to NYC due to a fire at the Chicago McCormick Center due ironically to a coffee pot. The hottest products were color TV, transistor radios and cassette players. The 110 exhibitors and 17,500 attendees were jammed into only 100,000 sq.ft. … today’s Vegas show is approaching 50 acres, about 3,000 exhibitors and a seemingly uncountable number of attendees.

But if we look back only ten years ago (or seventy in dog years!), it gives a good perspective to see just how far away 50 years really is.

  • First 50” plasma under $2500 introduced from Hitachi. Comparable LCD from Sharp is $5300. World’s largest LCD TV prototype shown at 108”.
  • HD DVD tech was circling the drain despite better technology and half the price of a Sony unit. The Sony PlayStation 3 with built-in Blu-ray made the difference for dominance. An industry mistake with Sony that still plagues us to this day. I have a 2007 Toshiba HD DVD player and yes, it still looks better than any 2016 Blu-ray player.
  • Sony was #1 in sales of television, home audio, camcorders, DVD players and headphones. I’m not aware of any category that they are tops in sales any longer with the possible exception of projection TV’s.
  • The original iPhone was introduced at MacWorld January 9th by Steve Jobs at the same time as the show was going on. Most everyone there discussed it, but didn’t see its importance. Many products at the 2007 CES would be rendered obsolete in only a year or two as a result.
  • Predictions by most highly-placed industry insiders that dedicated portable music players such as the iPod will continue to be popular indefinitely is proven wrong. (see 4th bullet point)
  • The cheapest portable GPS debuts from Audiovox (NVX227) for “only” $399.
  • The Pharos phone with GPS, audio player and PDA debuts … the expression “a day late and a dollar short” may apply here. (see 4th bullet point again)
  • GoPro introduced its newest action camera the Hero 3 for $140. The basic design is still the same today, although the specs are hugely improved on this industry leading cam.
  • Most digital cameras in 2007 were around five mega-pixels (MP), with the high-end stuff at ten MP. A normal Samsung phone is 12MP today.
  • Nokia released a wireless tablet (N800) that had “apps” and could access the internet. I still have one and amazingly … it works.
  • Downloading industry-legal movies are growing slowly as it takes approximately 15 hours to download a movie from Disney or major studios.
  • The cheapest HD camcorder I could find was $699 and only 720p. Versions capable of 1080 were almost unknown.


2007 truly was a seminal year for tech even if most people didn’t realize it. We saw the beginnings of legal streaming music and a “Swiss army-knife” phone that would change almost the entire landscape of the tech industry. Digital cameras were becoming the de facto standard for photography. Large flat screens are simply “what-you-buy” when it comes to a new TV. This may be the single most important year in the history of tech and it slipped by us. This is the year that tech started to put its foot to the floor, so to speak. “What’s past is prologue” applies as never before. And this was only ten years ago. Only the introduction of transistors and chips is more monumental. Streaming content, the absolute victory of digital imaging and HD video becoming common … they rule modern tech today, and for the foreseeable future. Yep, 2007 was a year to remember.

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