What I’ll Miss About CES

I used to look forward to CES, the Consumer Electronics Show held every January in Las Vegas. Like everything else in town, it was glittery, glitzy and way over the top. But I always focused on finding the tech experts to learn more about how products worked. Now, it’s all changed. This year’s show starts Jan. 11, totally online, a reflection of where life is headed as the pandemic continues.

Being a techie, I loved talking to the engineers at the exhibits of product manufacturers. Whether it was for a product that caught my interest or one that many of my clients use, the engineers could answer my questions or explain the key areas that made a product work. They told me where I could unlock more capabilities and where I could stumble into a deep, dark hole.

You didn’t have to be a techie to get into the show. There was always something to wow anybody who attended, and there were neat toys that companies were giving away. Last year, I registered to get a flood detector that a company named Orbit introduced. It’s a good concept. It has Wi-Fi enabled sensors that you can put on the floor in a place that might flood, such as near a water pipe, sink, toilet or washing machine. It has an app that you install on your smartphone, and it warns you when the sensor detects water.

My friend, who attended the show with me, registered for one, too. They said they’d ship them; that’s what everyone says. After a while, we forgot about them. But last month, we got FedEx notices, and we could see that they were legitimately from Orbit. My system is on my basement floor, where, fortunately, it’s been silent.

But for all its glitter and glitz, CES is a show of concepts more than readily available products. Last year, as you may recall, healthcare was the major focus. If you had wristwatches stretching from your wrist to your shoulder, they would all contain features and apps that you couldn’t condense to just a few units. There were that many.

Flexible telephones, such as the one Samsung introduced, were not available until later, and the same was true of really large, really lightweight TVs with 8K resolution. Very few of them are on the market, and there is hardly any content I can think of that you can view with 8K resolution. Even 4K resolution is not universal – nor is it compelling technology for many.

I may go to the online CES, but it’s not the same. If you’re wandering around virtually, I’m sure there will be links to product manufacturers’ websites. But if you’re looking for information about the types of products you might buy, you can go directly to the websites. And if you want to actually see and touch the real thing, you might consider heading off to Best Buy.

If you’re looking for a TV, for example, you can get side-by-side comparisons by looking at multiple brand names, screen sizes and levels of technology. You can see if a specific size will fit in the room where you’ll watch it. You can do the same with any appliance and any type of smart home device you want to install. Seeing a product in person gives you a different perspective, and even with minimal sales staff, you can find somebody in a store who can answer some of your basic questions better than with most online chat services.

A trip to the store can also help us help you better with buying and configuring TVs, home electronics and smart home devices. You’ll have a better idea of what you want or need to buy and where to install it, and we’ll be better able to answer questions about what can work better and what’s possible to meet your expectations. Call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us. We can review product specs to help you make a good selection and provide whatever installation and configuration help you might need.