All that matters on the first day of CES 2016

CES is open for business in Las Vegas and the news is coming fast. CNET breaks down what you need to know.

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Netflix CEO Reed Hastings

Netflix

It's only the first official day of CES, but it already feels like the show has been going for a week. That's because the biggest news day of CES, also known as Press Day, has already passed and even before that there was a ton of news at the CES Unveiled Preview event.

Still, now that the floor of the Las Vegas Convention Center is actually open, there's still much to tell you about. Company booths are jammed with attendees and cab lines to get to other CES locations across town can stretch for miles. In between all that buzz, here's what you need to know. And check out CNET's full CES coverage.

Netflix

The company that brought us red envelopes and "House of Cards" will be expanding beyond its base in the Americas, Western Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand to 130 new countries. China isn't listed for now, just as North Korea, Syria and Crimea aren't due to US government restrictions, but the move effectively make the service available worldwide. And don't worry about sharing your Netflix password: CEO Reed Hastings says it's totally cool.

Netflix also used its press conference today to show off trailers for new Netflix series coming this year, including "The Crown," a story about Queen Elizabeth II's ascension to the throne and early reign, and "The Get Down," about the birth of disco and hip-hop in New York City. Watch those trailers here.

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The 2016 Chevy Bolt

Josh Miller/CNET

GM

CEO Mary Barra used a keynote address to show off the the company's new Bolt, an an all-electric compact that will enter production this year. Maximum range is 200 miles, although it may be less depending on how you drive, with the power coming from a flat battery pack that sits in the car's floor.

There's also a ton of tech inside, including a new version of Chevy's MyLink that will support both Android Auto and Apple's CarPlay, a trick rear-view mirror that's actually a camera for a wider field of view, like lane-departure detection and collision avoidance.

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VR with care.

Connie Guglielmo/CNET

BlackBerry

BlackBerry 10 is dead, long live Android. Well, maybe that's a bit extreme, but CEO John Chen confirmed to CNET today that 2016 will be an all-Android year for the one, and possibly two, phones that the company plans to introduce. Chen also told us that the BlackBerry Priv will land on the US carriers Sprint, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile this year.

Oculus

Virtual reality fans will finally be able to buy a consumer version of the Rift headset that's now been dropping by CES for a couple of years. It's selling for for $599, £499 or AU$649, with the first batch of units scheduled to ship March 28. Two games are also included, free of charge: Lucky's Tale and Eve: Valkyrie.

That's no doubt good news as the Rift remains a popular attraction at the show. CNET News Editor-in-Chief Connie Guglielmo reported there was an hour-long wait just to try the demo. A sign at the front of the queue warned the experience could be a rough ride for some.

Intel

Powered by Intel, the Daqri helmet uses RealSense 3D camera to create a version augmented reality (AR) projected on a screen that also protects the wearer's eyes. Unlike virtual reality, AR overlays computer images on the real world. Designed initially for construction workers and athletes, it could make its way into other uses.

Intel also debuted a new version of the Compute Stick it first showed last year. The new version shares largely the same design, though it's a bit longer so as to accommodate two ports (one USB 3.0, one USB 2.0). It also has faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi and a new processor.

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The Razer Blade Stealth

Sean Hollister/CNET

Razer

Not surprisingly, a new laptop made its debut that caught the avid attention of our Sean Hollister. The 12.5-inch Razer Blade Stealth has a super high-definition 2,560x1,440-pixel resolution touchscreen display, a Core i7 processor, 8GB of memory and 128GB of solid-state storage. Thanks to the RGB backlit keyboard you also can program every key to light up in individual colors. It's all built into a thin and fairly light 2.75-pound unibody aluminum frame. Razer also showed a smartwatch called the Nabu. Beyond telling the time it, has a second scrolling stock-ticker-like screen that will track your steps and display your incoming emails and text messages.

CNET's Next Big Thing

Our annual Next Big Thing hosted by Tim Stevens and Brian Cooley asked the question, "Is typing dead?" Along with a distinguished panel and special guest Susan Bennett, the US voice of Apple's Siri, Tim and Brian dove into how voice recognition and gesture technologies are fundamentally changing the way we relate to our mobile devices.

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Just hanging with Siri.

James Martin/CNET

CNET's Must-See list

We've started assembling our list of the products you can't miss at CES. We're updating it daily so check back often.

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And more...

  • TipTalk is a "smart strap" for traditional watches adding fitness tracking, notifications and calling features to any watch and lets you take calls by pressing your finger into your ear.
  • Wilson's smart football includes sensors that can measure speed, distance and spiral efficiency of your throws.
  • Forget throwing a paper airplane in class or off your balcony, try the PowerUp FPV live streaming paper airplane drone instead.
  • Parrot's $400 Zik 3.0 headphones not only look fancy, they also charge wirelessly, have noise canceling and come with a "hi-fi quality" wired USB listening mode.
  • Premium lens-maker Zeiss is partnering with office-equipment workhorse Fellowes to make some snazzy-looking iPhone lenses.

Must-See CES 2016

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