The Home Entertainment Show Opens Today in Costa Mesa, CA

I had to pause for a moment when I saw the cover of the show guide. Could T.H.E. Show, aka The Home Entertainment Show, which opens today in the Hilton Orange County in Costa Mesa, really be North America’s longest-running HiFi Audio Show?

Then it hit me. When I first started attending audio shows, there were only two big games in town: the late and lamented Stereophile Show, which moved around the country, and CES in Las Vegas. Nor was CES a monolith. For many of us, the parts of CES we loved the most and flocked to were not the exhibits in the jam-packed, noisy Las Vegas Convention Center but rather the far more manageable and negotiable high-end exhibits a fair distance away in the anything-but-glitzy, far-lower-key Alexis Park and, across the street, in the alternative, independent T.H.E. Show in the St. Tropez.

Years later, T.H.E. Show’s co-owner Richard Beers may be gone, but T.H.E. Show lives on in Southern California with his partner, T.H.E. Show President Maurice Jung (above; Maurice has just emerged from an extended hospital stay including double-bypass surgery and a toe amputation) and his wife, T.H.E. Show Vice-President Emiko Carlin (below, addressing the exhibitors before the show opened). It’s not the biggest of affairs. In the strangest show guide I’ve ever seen, which unfathomably lacks maps of floors, I count approximately 141 brands. Beyond those with booths in the marketplace, I’m told there are “40 or 50” active exhibit rooms on the ground, first, and second floors. [I am told that there are five full doors in total.–Jim Austin]

When I couldn’t find any listing of the show’s hours in the guide, multiple searches finally led me from T.H.E. Show’s Facebook page to its new webpage. That’s where I learned that Friday’s hours are 12–6, with press invited to roam as early at 10AM. (We’ll see who’s actually ready for business then.) Saturday’s hours are 10–6, and Sunday’s 12–5. There are a bunch of seminars, many from people promoting products, and an enticing Saturday night concert. And, last but not least, there’s the music and camaraderie.

Please stay tuned over the next week for lots of show reports, with a special focus on companies I did not cover at either AXPONA or Munich.

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