CES 2009, Day 1: Let's all join the happy HD family

It's been a manic 24 hours here at CES, with press conferences virtually every hour and the entire whathifi.com team running from A to B like mad things to bring you up-to-the-minute news.

It started with LG at 8am yesterday (fortunately jet lag meant I was wide awake at 6am), followed swiftly by Toshiba and Sharp in the morning and Panasonic and Sony in the afternoon.

Now maybe it was the lack of sleep (or caffeine), but I couldn't summon up quite the same level of enthusiasm as my American colleagues during these events. You see, American journalists are in the habit of clapping. Every two minutes. Regardless of what anyone says.

Now call me a curmudgeonly old Brit, but we're here to report the news and bring it to you, not to engage in some orgy of backslapping every time Mr Corporate CEO opens his mouth.

The worst offender was Noel Lee, Mr Head Monster himself, who urged us at the end of virtually every sentence to applaud him if we liked what he said. Which, judging by the raucous applause, everyone did.

Don't get me wrong. CES is a fabulous event, and an amazing showcase for all the new products heading our way in the coming year. And Vegas is a crazy, crazy town.

But my natural British cynicism was stretched to the limit when I saw two very young children sitting in front of me at the Panasonic press conference. What on earth were they doing there?

I should have known better than to ask. No sooner had the question formed in my mind, than a (very enthusiastic) American executive invited us to meet "our two living in HD families".

Pardon me? As I wiped the tears from my eyes, Mr and Mrs cute-n-perfect American Mom and Dad (x2) stood up to the rapturous applause of the crowd and held their little darlings high in the air.

No, I've still no idea what it was all about. But then one of the little ones promptly burst into tears and drowned out whatever our host speaker was saying, and had to be rushed out of the room by her embarrassed parents.

Ah, there is a God!

Andy Clough

Andy is Global Brand Director of What Hi-Fi? and has been a technology journalist for 30 years. During that time he has covered everything from VHS and Betamax, MiniDisc and DCC to CDi, Laserdisc and 3D TV, and any number of other formats that have come and gone. He loves nothing better than a good old format war. Andy edited several hi-fi and home cinema magazines before relaunching whathifi.com in 2008 and helping turn it into the global success it is today. When not listening to music or watching TV, he spends far too much of his time reading about cars he can't afford to buy.