T.H.E. show is industry-only as well. CES/THE easily surpasses the HE show, IMNSHO.
CES and THE are much bigger than any of the HE's so far. CES's Alexis Park (skip the convention center) and THE's St. Tropez are where you will find the good stuff. THE Show usually has the more exotic 2ch gear, and a free barbeque lunch on all of the show days I think. Both shows are supposed to be industry-only, but that is with a wink-wink from what I have seen. Just get a dealer to sign you up, or print some business cards with a high end audio sounding company name and you can get it just fine.
Audiofile9 has answered your question, and in case you don't understand his suggestion, ANYONE can sign up for CES.
Do it now and avoid the late registration fees. Once you have your CES badge, you are automatically allowed entry into all off site shows including The Show.
You need not be high end to gain entry to CES. Remember that this is Consumer Electronics Show and everyone is welcome regardless if your industry is involved in Computers, telephones, security systems, home entertainment, automotive electronics, watches, televisions, satellite systems, fax machines.
Also welcome are advertising agencies, press and writers that have ANY connection to any of the above.
(Getting the idea?) They don't care, just sign up and enjoy yourself.
Well...although everybody can go to the CES and THE SHOW but both is actually a manufacturer show and mainly catered to distributors and wholesalers (or industry-only like Audiofile9 mentioned above). On the other hand, HE is catered for consumers and most exhibitors are local dealers plus some small presence of manufacturers.
Is it worth it for consumers to attend? It depends.. if your hobby is want to see the latest technology gadgets at the Las Vegas Convention Center and wish to buy discount audiophiles LPs and CDS and audiophile show specials then it may be worth it. Otherwise, CES is heavily business oriented show and as a consumer, you probably feel your presence is sometimes unnoticeable.
Thank you guys for info, I have heard that The Show was for public only CES is for business. I guess I was wrong. Especially interesting is the information about this press pass. Maybe it would be stupid question for you but:
How one can get such press pass ? Is there special procedure to get it? I could try to represent some polish audio press (I do not think so they are going to send any of their legitimate reps - to expensive for them). How is it done?