CES2014 FUN FRIDAY: CES looked pretty goofy back then

Robert Minkhorst, president and CEO of Philips Consumer Electronics Company, displays the next generation compac disc called DVD (digital video disc) during a news conference Friday, Jan. 5, l996, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The discs look like today's CDs but have a storage capacity that is seven to 14 times greater. That means they can hold more music, video images or other data. (AP Photo/Lennox McLendon)

You have to love the look on this guy’s face as he holds up a very early production DVD. Did it have to be The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert? The photo dates from 1996 and it’s part of Paleofuture’s photo essay on the CES’s of the past. Here you’ll find electronic e-bibles, mind wave readers, and some of the ugliest virtual reality gear ever.

It just goes to show you that the state of the art in tech is always changing (although honestly the Oculus Rift does look like it comes from the 1990s) and what looks cool to us this year probably will look utterly ridiculous in the future. Still, it’s a tantalizing look at what could have been and what actually was. It’s also a reminder that some of today’s “breakthrough” technologies like smart watches have been tried before. If you don’t remember the devices shown in these pictures, that’s because they failed in the market. Think about that for a second.

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Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.