Blackout at CES? Try turning it off and on again

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Blackout at CES? Try turning it off and on again


The Consumer Electronics Show venue at the Las Vegas Convention Center is plunged into darkness after a power outrage Wednesday morning. [INTEL]

The world’s most high-tech show was plunged into darkness for nearly two hours Wednesday morning local time due to the unusual level of rainfall the day before.

Large swaths of the Las Vegas Convention Center, the venue for the 2018 edition of the Consumer Electronics Show, lost power at 11:14 a.m., remaining in the dark until 2:10 p.m.

“A preliminary assessment indicates that condensation from heavy rainfall caused a flashover on one of the facility’s transformers,” said a statement from the Consumer Technology Association, which runs the event.

The power failure came after heavy rain a day earlier, which had forced Google to shut one of its booths installed in the convention center’s car park.

The association said power was restored within minutes to the 3.2 million-square-foot convention center’s South Hall, where many gaming companies had exhibits, but other areas took longer - Central Hall, home to Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, Sony, Panasonic, Intel, Qualcomm and Toshiba, among others, remained without power into the afternoon.

Many companies were forced to suspend their presentations and barred from conducting demos at the annual tech fair. Thousands of attendees were ushered out and security guards temporarily refused entry to parts of the convention center.

Even after the power was restored, companies had to go through the hassle of resetting devices on display - those connected wirelessly with each other, in particular.

But the Samsung booth still had limited electricity thanks to its own private back-up power, according to CNET, an online IT news service.

CES, celebrating its 51st birthday, has more exhibitors than ever this year - 4,000 from 150 countries. The power outrage, caused by an error with fairly rudimentary electronics, is ironic considering the wealth of next-generation technology exhibited throughout the event.

“We have to pay thousands of dollars to have one booth at CES - even the smallest one,” said a spokesman from a Korean company. “The blackout is utterly nonsensical.”

Exhibitors have not yet put forward any complaints concerning damages caused by the power outage, nor has the show organizer officially mentioned a plan regarding the mishap.

Some official accounts run by exhibitors, reporters and attendees took to Twitter to make jokes with the hashtag #CESBlackout. Intel tweeted, “Introducing Blackout TM: The biggest thing to hit #CES2018 since #5G. #CESblackout.”

LG Electronics used the power cut to promote its OLED TV by saying, “Even without power, #CES2018 still can’t match the perfect black of an #LGOLEDTV.” Huawei Mobile also promoted its Mate 10 Pro smartphone, saying, “Caught in the #CESBlackout? Don’t miss a moment with #HUAWEIMATE10Pro and its outstanding lowlight photography camera.”

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