One of (many) ways that Long Beach was less enjoyable than Monterey as the locale for TED was that the seats were uncomfortable. You may think this is a frivolous criticism, but just try sitting from 8:30-6:30 for days on end. I wasn't the only one who complained about the seating.
TED has always tried to encourage people to sit outside the main hall, watching the speakers on HD video while lounging on soft seating and a variety of other seating. I for one never took advantage of that seating - there's an electricity in sitting in the main hall where speakers are live. And it was a particular thrill when I sat in the onstage seating for one session. It seems that the new design aims to combine a variety of seating right within the main hall. I look forward to trying it out. :-)