Instead of the usual photos and details,
i would like to take this time to give some overall impressions and
controversy that transpired during the 2002 Las Vegas shows. While the high
point for me was the Classic Records announcement
concerning their Vanguard and Blue Note series, low points are the usual
"politics" one suffers through when being a press member simply
trying to cover a show. Of course it always brings delight to hear personal
triumphs from those within the industry as well.
The best thing in life are the wondrous joys. Jeff Joseph of
Joseph Audio has been fruitful and multiplied! Jeff's lovely wife gave birth
and they now have a third member to the Joseph family! Jeff, being the proud
father and a cool techno-savvy dude, proudly showed off some cute movie files
of Joseph Jr. on his Apple laptop computer. My congratulations to the Joseph
family! In more good news concerning the show, attendance was down overall at
both shows it seems. While you may think this is a bad thing, show exhibitors
were saying that the quality of those who attended were very high.
Therefore the usual "time wasters" and "tire kickers" did
not take up valued resources during this ever busy show. In fact on the last
day most people have sore throats and have "lost" their voice due to
many conversations and presentations.
While we all are well aware of the September 11th
events and how it has caused some business' financial turmoil, the vibe of
both Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the The Home Entertainment Expo (THE
Expo) were very up beat. Virtually everyone i met appeared happy and optimistic.
The worries of last year's format wars (DVD-Audio and SACD) now only seem like
a bad memory. Not that either format is bad mind you, just that manufactures
within the high-end are now more settled in the reality of the true future of
either format. Of course all was not trouble free bliss here in the land of
As many of your know, THE Expo is an offshoot high-end show
and not part of the CES. Why would one want to have anther show during the
same time as the CES. Because many high-end manufactures were simply tired of
CES' high prices, policies, and politics. The offshoot show rates were around
60% of those charged by the CES in previous years. As the CES was hoping to
get back some of the high-end companies, this year they drastically lowered
their rates while also offering free food and other benefits unlike they have
ever done in the past. Thank goodness for America and capitalists as
competition does indeed seem to work at making the higher priced competitor
work harder to get market share.
While anyone hoping to begin their very own audio show
has an uphill climb from the start, THE Expo was fighting a mountain this
year. With only weeks away from the 2002 Las Vegas show, THE Expo changed
venues from the Rio to the Tuscany! Manufactures who advertised their room
number in print magazines now found out that not only the room number they
advertised in print was wrong, so was the venue! Worse still, those who sent
their products to the Rio had to get said items to the Tuscany hotel.
As the Tuscany was closer to the CES' Alexis Park high-end
show, this new venue seemed to make more sense... but all is not well in Lotus
land. The Tuscany is, literally, a brand new hotel. In fact it is so new
that construction was happening within some exhibitor's room up to the first
day of the event! Therefore various kinks and gremlins would pop up from time
to time. Regardless, the rooms at the Tuscany were on average much larger than
any previous Las Vegas show no matter if it was conducted by the CES or THE
Expo (previously known as THE Show).
Since the Tuscany was about a mile from the CES' Alexis Park,
THE Expo provided buses that would pick up and drop attendees off at each
hotel. In the great wisdom of CES, they decided in the middle of the Las Vegas
events to forbid THE Expo buses from entering the CES' Alexis Park property.
Therefore a new bus stop had to be made a block away. Of course all was not
well with the CES either.
There were the usual complaints of lost products, exorbitant
product delivery fees and the strange way exhibitor rooms are laid out within
the Alexis Park hotel venue. In fact one must wonder if the Alexis Park is a
legal venue as it has no handicapped facilities for those who desire to see
exhibitors that are located on the second floor of various buildings (there
are no elevators). You see, the Alexis Park and THE Expo use hotels that consists
of many separate buildings. As such, to visit exhibitor rooms within a show
one will need to go from building to building. While the Tuscany has elevators
for those wishing to go to the second (or third) floor, the CES has no such facilities.
Therefore someone who is wheelchair bound can not visit CES' second floor show
rooms. In fact the Press room was on the second floor so any member of the
press who can not transverse a flight of steps is seemingly left out in the
cold. While the CES' Alexis Park appear to have more than enough hotel rooms
to have all exhibitors on the first floor in an organized manner, as usual the
rooms appeared to be decided upon by someone with darts and a map of the hotel
venue. If anyone from the CES is reading this, please consider having all
exhibitors on the first floor and also in an organized manner and not all
spread out. Thank you.
Regardless of all the various problems, the 2002 Las Vegas
shows were a great success. Almost all across the board everyone appeared to
have had a great time. This includes exhibitors and attendees alike. Good
music was heard in many rooms while at the end of a day there were many
smiles... yet tired feet and hurting backs from all the walking on hard
surfaces. We all hope 2002 will indeed be a wonderful year and a much needed
improvement to the roller coaster year of 2001.