Crestron Exiting CEDIA Was GENIUS

It appears that Crestron can, in fact, predict the future. The 2017 CEDIA Expo is shaping up to be a very good show. We have a team of five people out in San Diego right now covering it live and you can follow our coverage here.

The show floor is beautiful and we’ll spend the morning, right before the floor opens today, going around shooting booth photos and tweeting new gear. You can see the photos — when they are posted here — or on our Facebook Page. And, you should, if you aren’t already, follow our live coverage on Twitter here.

But, Crestron is breathing a huge sigh of relief this morning for not exhibiting. Why? The show is a giant race to the bottom!

Now, I don’t really mean that in a bad way — it’s a show full of app-based control systems, a plethora of entry-level product announcements — in fact, the top-two HomeAV projector manufacturers in the world, Epson and Sony, both decided their big launches for CEDIA 2017 would be “entry-level” and “cost-effective” 4K and/or laser projectors. Nothing high-end at all. The new 4K Blu Ray players? Yep, you guessed it, all “value-priced.”

Heck, even the big, high-end audio companies are all promoting control and distribution via Amazon Alexa! Huh?

Look, CEDIA is evolving… The show is EXACTLY what it should be. Truth is, everyone’s kind of a DYI and companies like Amazon and Google (e.g., Home and Nest) are driving the trend. Not Control4, not Crestron, not Savant, not NameAnyControlSystemCompanyHere. So, the show — the Expo — is doing it all right!

But, the association better beware. They are two different things now. They don’t own the show – they sold it to Emerald Expositions earlier this year – just a few months before the mysterious disappearance of their CEO; still no explanation of that one.

Look, CEDIA, the association, is not hurting for money. In addition to getting a pile of cash for selling the show, they also get a ton (nearly 50 percent) of the profit from the ISE (Integrated Systems Europe) show each year — even though they contribute only about 16 percent of the total exhibitors. It’s a jack-pot payoff money-tree for CEDIA.

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So, don’t cry for them as far as money goes — they will survive and thrive as they have tons of money to burn through. And, it would take them a dozen or so years of no income at all for them to lose out. So, nope. CEDIA will survive.

But, they need to evolve. They need to figure this out. Their show is going to become the stepdaughter of CES, the wanna-be CES for slightly higher-end products. But, they don’t have to be. As the lower-end (or as the manufacturers like to call it — the entry level) of the market explodes, the high-end grows, too. Not everyone is happy streaming everything via an AppleTV or Roku. Even if only 1 percent of the AppleTV owners (the SMALLEST of the streaming box companies behind Roku, Amazon FireTV and Chromecast) bought a high-end projector, that would grow the sales of 4K projectors tenfold. So, there’s plenty of high-end to go around.

So, let’s hope the new, incoming CEDIA Board — you can vote NOW — takes the time to plan a strategy. Give up on Crestron as, if they race to the bottom, they’re headed for doom and gloom. But, they will certainly support the high-end efforts an amazing training and certification program that end-users could believe in.

Anyone can call themselves a CI for the CEDIA channel. It didn’t used to be this way. And, Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook, etc. will keep dumbing-down the process of home automation, entertainment and streaming. But, if I were you, I’d pay attention to what Origin Acoustics’ founder Jeremy Burkhardt’s doing — he’s a freaking genius. While nearly everyone else at CEDIA is bragging about their low-end home AV gear, he’s announcing partnerships with Bang & Olufsen and wooden $15,000 LCR speaker set. #AWESOME.

Maybe Jeremy should be the next CEDIA CEO? Heck F*@%ing yea!

Gary Kayye

About Gary Kayye

Gary Kayye, founder of rAVe Publications, is one of the most prominent personalities in the audiovisual industry. He has been a contributor to WIRED magazine and a technical advisor and columnist for Sound & Communications magazine as well as an opinionated columnist for rAVe [Publications] since 2003. In addition to his writing and market analysis, Gary has been a product, marketing and business operations consultant to dozens of AV companies in the U.S. and overseas. Clients have included companies such as Sony, Sharp, Epson, Lutron, InFocus, Sanyo, Mitsubishi, NEC and Philips.   Gary, who has been involved with the audiovisual market for over 20 years, was the recipient of the InfoComm 2003 Educator of the Year Award and the 2007 NSCA Instructor of the Year Award. Over the years, he has donated much of his time as an active volunteer in the AV industry’s trade association and served as chairman of InfoComm’s Professional Education & Training Committee (PETC), chairman of the ICIA Design School Committee and chairman of InfoComm’s Installation School Committee. In addition, he has served on the InfoComm board of governors. He also helped grow the InfoComm Projection Shoot-Out as the premiere AV industry trade show special event serving on the committee from 1991 through 1997, and was instrumental in launching the Shoot-Out in the European market at the Photokina Expo in 1994 and 1996 as well as the Asian market at the 1995 and 1997 INFOCOMM Asia shows.   Prior to founding his own company, Gary was vice president of sales and marketing for AMX Corporation (, a manufacturer specializing in professional AV and residential AV control systems. Prior to AMX, Gary spent nine years at Extron Electronics (, rising to the position of vice president of sales and marketing. Gary earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1987 from the University of North Carolina and is currently Adjunct Faculty at UNC in the School of Journalism teaching a class on how future technologies will affect the future of advertising, PR and marketing.   He is also the founder of Swim for Smiles, a non-profit that raises money for the N.C. Children’s Hospital through swimming and other fitness-related events for kids. You can contact him at