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The Great CES Swindle: Five Years of Flaunting and Failing 5

2008: The Year the Other Shoe Dropped

As the beginnings of the sub-prime mortgage disaster were becoming apparent, and as the U.S. economy began to hiccup before it nose-dived later that year, CES's usual celebration of pricey high-end gear was decidedly out of step with the national mood.
  • Intel showcased WiMAX by hosting wireless service from a truck, and LG debuted a purported WiMAX phone that could ostensibly be used anywhere there was WiMAX service (at the time, precisely nowhere in the U.S.). By the end of 2008, Baltimore was lit up, and a few other cities have gone online since. Still, WiMAX's long-term prognosis is still hotly debated.
  • The HD wars ended in dramatic fashion when, just two days before the big HD DVD press event, Warner Bros unexpectedly threw in the towel and opted to go Blu-ray-only with all future releases. Other studios soon followed suit, and HD DVD quickly joined the growing ranks of the unemployed.
  • Backed by actor Michael Douglas, XstreamHD announced plans to launch a super high-quality 1080p HD satellite service by the end of 2008. Unfortunately, the company neglected to partner with any content providers first. Due to that fact and other assorted issues, it has yet to launch as of 2010.