BBC Future

CES: Hits and misses of the last 45 years

  • Gadget gathering
    CES in Las Vegas has debuted thousands of gadgets over the last 45 years - some which shaped the modern world… and many that did not. (Copyright: Getty Years)
  • Goggle box
    New ways to watch TV dominate the show, which has seen the debut of HDTV (1998), plasma screens (2001), internet TV (2005) and OLED techology (2008). (Copyright: International CES)
  • Extra dimension
    However, 3DTV, notably introduced at the 2009 show and pushed every year since, has failed to take off in the same way as other formats. (Copyright: Getty Images)
  • Watch and learn
    It has also seen the introduction of various media formats, such as the laser disc (1974), DVD (1996), HD-DVD (2004) and Blu-Ray (2003). (Copyright: Getty Images)
  • DVD battle
    Supporters of HD-DVD and Blu-ray battled to be the format of choice at successive shows, before the HD-DVD consortium finally backed down in 2008. (Copyright: Getty Images)
  • Musical youth
    The show’s history traces the rise of digital music technology, from some of the first compact disc players, which debuted in 1981. (Copyright: Getty Images)
  • Game on
    Video games have been a big part of CES, which has seen the debut of Pong (1975), Tetris (1988), the original Nintendo (1985) and X-box (2001). (Copyright: Getty Images)
  • Rotten Apple
    Not all were hits. In 1996 Apple teamed up with Bandai to launch the Pippin console. It never took off and is regarded as one of Apple’s greatest flops. (Copyright: Evan-Amos)
  • No guarantees
    Sometimes just one device steals the show, such as the Palm Pre smartphone in 2009. But despite rave reviews, the phone never gained enough of a foothold. (Copyright: Getty Images)
  • Film pass
    The last 30 years has seen a surge in home movies. This HD camera, shown off in 2013, is a world away from the first shoulder-mounted camcorders seen in 1981. (Copyright: Reuters)
One of the world's largest technology shows kicks off this week in Las Vegas. The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) brings together 150,000 people and 20,000 new products.

The annual fair has been running for 45 years, in which time it has seen the introduction of many of the consumer technologies we now take for granted.

However, not every launch has met with the same level of acclaim or success.

Explore our gallery of some of the big CES debuts of the last four decades ...and decide whether they were a hit or a miss.

More stunning image galleries:

Gruesome tools and intimate views

Christmas treats and the end of the world

Bathing snow monkeys, a tweeting pope and elephant dung coffee.

Architectural giants and a new way of seeing the Moon

Red pandas, Saturn and Nature’s unstoppable forces

The world's largest bloom, the world's largest aquarium and the world's fastest sailing boat

Venice under water, a total eclipse and a pedestrian-avoiding car

Space shuttle, Baumgartner and Hurricane Sandy

The best of 2012 galleries:

A year in space

The year in technology

A year of discovery

People of the year

The year in weather

The year in wildlife

Weird and wonderful


New frontiers

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