Editor's note:TheStreet.com's Troy Wolverton attended the International Consumer Electronics Show last week in Las Vegas. The following are some of his impressions and observations.LAS VEGAS -- The geeks are invading your living room -- or at least they'd like to. At the International CES here, companies from the PC industry -- computer makers such as Dell ( DELL) and Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ), network equipment manufacturers such as D-Link and Cisco's ( CSCO) Linksys unit, and software publishers from Microsoft ( MSFT) on down -- touted all the ways they are trying to connect consumers' televisions and stereo systems to the digital photographs, music and videos they've created and stored on their computers. This, of course, has been the vision for some time now. But as Microsoft founder Bill Gates put it in his
What's spurring the drive toward digital convergence is the consistent and strong growth in consumer electronics sales. The wholesale market for such products -- which consist of everything from stereo receivers to big-screen TVs to PCs -- grew 10.7% in 2004 to $113.5 billion, according to an industry estimate. CEA projects that consumer electronics sales will grow another 10.7% in 2005 and will reach $158.4 billion in wholesale exchanges in 2008. In contrast, CEA expects wholesale PC sales to grow less than 7% this year and wholesale sales of nonvideo game software to grow by just 1%.