Lady Gaga at CES 2010 (MARIO ANZUONI_Newscom_RTR)

January in tech means only one thing – CES.

CES 2014 kicks off in Las Vegas on 7 Jan and MSN Tech will be treading the vast trade show floor in order to bring you all big news from the biggest technology expo of the year.

But before it all begins we thought we better get you up to speed with all things CES. We wouldn’t want you going in blind. So here’s your essential guide to everything you need to know about International CES….

  • The first CES was held way back in 1967 in New York. There were 100 exhibitors showing off their devices, to an attendance of 17,500.
  • In 1978 CES went bi-annual and moved to Las Vegas for a winter edition and Chicago for a summer one.
  • In 1998 it went back to being an annual event held, as it is still now, every January in Las Vegas.
  • The show is not open to the public; it’s press and tech tradespeople only we’re afraid.
  • Despite the lack of public action, there’s still expected to be over 3,200 global technology companies showing off their stuff to a total attendance of more than 152,000 people.
  • The show itself takes place at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
  • There is a press-day on January 6 (held at Mandalay Bay), a day before the show kicks off. This is traditionally the day where tech giants like Samsung, Sony and LG announce the new products that they’ll be demoing on the show floor.
  • A pre-event, called CES Unveiled, is held before the big show – a smaller expo, but one where it’s often possible to get a first look at some of the new tech that’s going to be announced. This year’s CES Unveiled takes place on January 5.
  • CES is run by the Consumer Electronics Association - the preeminent trade association promoting growth in the US$203 billion US consumer electronics industry.
  • Apple and Microsoft don’t take part in CES. Microsoft’s final appearance was at the 2012 show.
  • Despite those two big absentees, there will still be more than 20,000 products on show.
  • CES at the LVCC covers an area measuring 1.6million square feet – that's 148,600 square metres or around 28 soccer pitches.
  • Notable product launches over the years include the VCR (1970), Atari’s Pong (1975), the NES console (1985), HDTV (1998), Xbox (2001) and Blu-ray (2003). 
  • It’s not uncommon for A-list celebs to rock up at CES. In recent years Will Smith, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and Justin Timberlake have all made appearances. We’re guessing it’s their love of tech, rather than endorsement cheques, that is the main reason for their attendance...
  • It takes 18 days to set up, run and take down CES.
  • It takes an MSN Tech editor around the same time to feel human again after returning back to their office.

Now you know its vital statistics, enjoy the show!