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ZDNET's guide to CES: What is it, when is it, and who can attend?

The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is once again playing home to some of the biggest technology product reveals of the brand new year. Let's take a closer look at exactly what the event is, when it's taking place, and who can attend.
Written by Michael Gariffo, Staff Writer
Reviewed by Alyson Windsor
CES 2023

The biggest tech show of the year is here once again. 

Image: ZDNET

What is CES?

CES, or the Consumer Electronics Show is a massive, annual event where some of the most important technology makers and innovators show off their latest and greatest releases. The show began all the way back in 1967 in New York City, and was a bi-annual event until the late 1990s. In recent years, the formerly transient show has settled into Las Vegas as its regular home, typically taking place at the Las Vegas Convention Center. 

The only exception to this practice was during the COVID-19 pandemic, with CES 2021 being held as an all-digital event for the first time in its history. The event returned to in-person status in 2022, but concerns over surging COVID infection rates led to many exhibitors cancelling and the show ending one day earlier than originally intended.

In 2023, CES is once again at just about full, in-person capacity, housing major reveals from companies like Samsung, Acer, Asus, HTC, Lenovo, and many, many others. According to the event's website, CES 2023 will include vendors from 174 countries spread across 41 separate areas of technology. 


The  West Hall of CES during a previous year's convention.


Where will CES 2023 be held?

CES 2023 is taking place at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Winchester, Nevada. The venue includes more than 2.5 million square feet of exhibition space, making it one of the largest convention centers in the world.

A CES sign over the show floor
CNET/Sarah Tew

What are the dates for CES 2023?

The CES 2023 event begins on Tuesday January 3 and ends on Sunday, January 8. However, the first two days of the in-person portion of the event (Tuesday and Wednesday) are largely a preview event held exclusively for members of the media. The main portion of the event doesn't begin until Thursday, January 5. However, many exhibitors start showing off their new products and publishing their announcements as soon as the show opens on Tuesday. 

Is CES 2023 open to the public?

No. CES describes itself as a "trade-only event for individuals 18 years of age or older and affiliated with the consumer technology industry." All attendees must fall into one of three categories: industry attendee, media, or exhibitor. Attendees are required to show proof of their eligibility for each of these categories. This can be a business card or proof of employment at an eligible company for industry attendees, a list of published articles for a media attendee, or many other forms of proof. Registration and attendance for exhibitors is handled a little differently. 

Full details on exactly who is eligible to attend and how they can prove their eligibility can be found at the CES website's registration page

RYO Alexandre / Shutterstock

Is it hard to get into CES?

That all depends on whether or not you're employed by a participant in the consumer electronics industry. For employees of an exhibitor, or a company that operates within the consumer electronics space, it's usually just a matter of showing some basic proof of eligibility and paying the cost of your chosen ticket (more info on this below). 

For those that don't fall into any of the aforementioned categories, it is still possible to attend if the individual in question is at least connected to consumer electronics in some way. This connection can be as nebulous as having been quoted in a consumer electronics news piece or verification of the individual having been cited as an "industry professional" within the past year.

If none of these facts apply to someone, it's unlikely they will be able to attend at all. If you're uncertain, additional resources are available at the CES registration page linked in the section above. 

A list of CES exhibitors' logos

Just a small sampling of this year's featured exhibitors.


Who will be attending CES 2023?

The list of CES attendees is far too long to include all of them here. Simply put, if there's a leader in a given area of consumer technology, chances are they will be attending the show in some capacity. This year's biggest names include chipmakers like Intel, AMD, and Nvidia; mobile and home electronics companies like Samsung, Google, and Amazon; PC makers like Acer, Asus, and HP; and even numerous automakers like Volkswagen. 

All told, CES expects this year's exhibitors to include 323 members of the Fortune Global 500 and 40 of the largest retailers in the world. A full, searchable list of individual exhibitors can be found at CES' website.

How much are CES 2023 tickets?

As mentioned above, registration for any CES 2023 ticket requires eligibility. If you are eligible, there are three tiers of ticket: 

  • The Digital-Only Pass - $279: Includes access to the CES Digital Venue to schedule and view exhibitors' Digital Activations, stream keynotes, and view select conference sessions.
  • The Exhibits Plus Pass - $300: Includes everything in the Digital-Only Pass, as well as access to all in-person CES programming on show days. In-person access includes the exhibit floor, keynote addresses, Great Minds sessions, and select conference programming. 
  • The Deluxe Conference Pass - $1,275: Includes everything in the Exhibits Plus Pass, as well as four days of CES conference programming, consisting of 175+ sessions, and all partner programming. 

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