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The Great CES Swindle: Five Years of Flaunting and Failing 2

2005: The Year of the Home Invasion

While HDTVs had already become a perennial focus at CES by '05, and while the year's screen-size arm's race winner was Samsung's positively ridiculous 102-incher, the big CES trend story that year was the digital home. Earnest but misguided product engineers shoved LCDs and Net connections into everything imaginable, hoping that something would stick.
  • TMIO's Internet-connected (and award-winning) oven was an object lesson in imagined markets. Are people really fighting to control their oven via PC?
  • Similarly, LG's fridge with a built-in TV has yet to become a standard home appliance, perhaps because staring at the fridge while trying to cook is counterproductive (and really creepy).
  • Philips insisted there was so much interest in its line of mirrors with built-in TVs that it made a consumer model. We assume people didn't and don't want a reminder, literally staring them in the face, of the fact that they're watching 'Matlock' reruns and eating Cheetohs at 4 a.m.
  • In a case of poetic justice and godlike foreshadowing, Bill Gates's keynote presentation of Windows Media Center was abruptly interrupted by... the BSOD. Home media PCs had been around in many forms before Windows introduced Media Center Edition in 2001. Still, every major company and a slew of minor ones hoped to capitalize on the burgeoning non-craze by developing ever clunkier and noisier boxes. It's been almost 10 years since the debut of WMCE, and, despite countless iterations, we've yet to see a blockbuster model.