2004 CES Showstoppers

Is convergence dead? Not the concept - the term. With the Consumer Electronics Show awash in TVs, components, and speakers full of computer technology, maybe it's time to just dump "convergence" and embrace ever-shrinking, ever-more-powerful chip sets as our home-entertainment destiny.

CES 2004 was the most upbeat show in years, and the biggest ever with almost 130,000 people in attendance - drawn mainly by all those (trendy new name to be determined) PC-meets-A/V gizmos. All products flowed from the seemingly inexhaustible digital cornucopia, including big-screen wireless HDTVs, whole-house media servers, and upscale home theaters in a box. In a sense, everything at the show was more of the same - bigger and bigger TVs, more and more flexible and interconnected A/V components, and tumbling prices. But the selection of products was so bountiful, and prices were so much more reasonable, that this CES actually represented a break from the past. HDTVs and DVD recorders will be affordable for the masses within the next year or so, home networks will become commonplace, and no one will have an excuse not to have a decent-sounding home theater system.

This year's CES was almost too big to cover - but cover it we did, and the pages that follow give you a first look at the products, trends, and innovations that will define 2004 and beyond. Video Convergence Audio