Thousands of new products would have been unveiled; chief executives and celebrities would have vied for attention; and robots would have probably malfunctioned on stage.
But the coronavirus pandemic meant the giant CES tech expo could not be held in Las Vegas, and it has instead slipped later than normal to an online-only event, beginning on Monday.
There will still be lots of new gadgets. New kinds of TVs, vacuum cleaners which throw away their own waste, and computer monitors specifically designed for Microsoft Teams work chats, are among products to have been teased in advance.
But the shift to a virtual event means much of the buzz will inevitably be lost.
“Seeing products in real life and networking are without a doubt the two biggest reasons to attend CES and it will be very hard to replicate these two digitally,” Carolina Milanesi, an industry analyst, told the BBC.
“One of the aspects of the show floor I always appreciated was walking around to find hidden gems, companies I never heard of that had great products. This is impossible to do scrolling down a catalogue list. “One consequence is that there will be a bigger focus on the stage presentations and panels.