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This video tour of CES in 1980 is an evocative piece of gadget history

CES 1980
[Photo courtesy of CTA]
I’m not making the trek to Las Vegas next week to attend CES, but I sure enjoyed watching this video—which I stumbled upon on YouTube—showing someone roaming the floor of the 1980 edition of what was then called Winter CES. (I’m not sure about the provenance of this footage or who the guy is.)

For all that’s changed about consumer technology—and the garb worn by businesspeople attending trade shows—the vibe of this CES isn’t much different from those of the far more recent editions I’ve attended. Among the highlights: discussion of VCRs (then known as VTRs) and video cameras (compact by 1980 standards, bulky and bulbous by ours), an early compact-disc demo, a glimpse at Magnavox’s Odyssey game console, and a Toshiba rep showing off an intriguing home video format (LVR), which the company never shipped.

Toward the end, there’s also an extended clip of Jaws 2, which you can feel free to fast-forward through. But stay turned for the bonus item: a 1980 segment of ABC’s 20/20 about how pre-MTV videos, distributed on laserdiscs, were going to save the recording industry. Even then, its executives were whining about how consumers weren’t paying for music.HM