The show floor is officially open at CES 2023 and this year, the crowds are back and so are some of the biggest names in technology.

I’ve been to CES over ten times and the past few years have been rough on the show. Organizers even gave 2023 attendees a special sticker for their badge if they attended last year, during the height of the omicron variant.

Now, it’s mostly business as usual, and companies are back at it, trying to capture the attention of journalists and other attendees.

Dolby offered me up a ride to the convention center in a $200,000 Mercedes Maybach as a quick way to demo their latest in car offering.

The slick ride has Apple Music with Dolby Atmos Spatial Audio built in.

“You’re going to feel like you’re in the music because it’s going to be moving around you,” said Rachel Lowery, PR for Dolby.

It was certainly loud, but the music was crisp, full and definitely surrounded me.

Once we got to the convention center, it was clear that 2023 is the year that CES returns to more of the show people remember: lines, crowds and lots of tech on display.

“There’s an excitement in the air of all these people that have been away for 3 years and they haven’t seen each other. They’re just excited to be back and meanwhile, the companies have been working on really cool neat fun stuff,” said Gary Shapiro, head of the Consumer Technology Association, which organizes CES.

At Google, they focused on how various products from different manufacturers work together thanks to the magic of their software, mostly Android 13.

They also showed off an updated version of Android Auto that takes advantage of various in-car screen sizes and allows you to split screen an app alongside maps. It’s rolling out now to Android phones so don’t be surprised if the screen in your car looks different the next time you plug in your phone.

“That’s the cool thing about it… no matter what kind of car you have. It will always adapt and give you the same set of functionality,” said Rod Lopez of Google.

TVs are a mainstay of CES. They always get bigger, brighter, and sharper. Companies are still pushing 8K as the future, which it will be, but many are perfectly happy with their 4K TV right now.

LG’s booth had a giant display of their first wireless OLED TV, but even though you won’t have to run an HDMI cable, you’ll still have to figure out how to plug it in with a wire.

Their MoodUp refrigerator was neat. The four panels on the fridge are LED’s, which means they can change color by tapping a button on an app. They also function as a Bluetooth speaker.

TCL is changing the way it names its popular TV’s. Gone is the 4, 5 and 6 Series naming convention.

In its place is the high-end Q Series and the value-oriented S Series. I asked TCL how they offer their TVs at a good combination of features and price.

“We make the panel we make the backlight, we make the processors, everything inside a tcl tv is tcl and that that allows us to control the quality, that allows us to innovate and allows us to bring stuff to makret faster and at a better value for our customers,” said Bruce Walker, a product evangelist for TCL.

Sony let folks play with its new version of PlayStation VR 2, which will work with the PS5. It might give the Oculus some serious competition, but you do need Sony’s gaming console for it to work.

Sony also gave their new electric car a name. It’s called Afeela and they’re making it in coordination with Honda.

Finally, some brands from the past are aiming to make a comeback. Aiwa was back on the show floor. The 80’s brand has a new lineup of retro boomboxes complete with a tape player.

Will people buy this once-forgotten brand again? Only sales will tell.

If you want to see more of my finds from CES 2023, hit up my Instagram.