CEDIA 2014: My Day Two Observations

gary-cake-boss-0914Usually, the second day of a show is slightly less crowded for a plethora of reasons (e.g., training classes, meetings, people who pop into a show for only one day usually attend Day One, late night Day One parties, etc). But CEDIA 2014 enjoyed a busier second day than the first. No doubt. And, the lines for all the demo theaters, live presentations and giveaways were as long as I’ve seen them at any show in years. CEDIA is back!

Here are my Day Two observations:

christie-d4k-0914Barco and Christie are both going high-end: Both debuted at CEDIA for the firs time with big booths and big projectors. Christie focused mostly on their Cinema-centric line (you know, the same one’s they use in movie theaters) to demonstrate their capabilities in the high-end home and Barco focused on their biggest differentiator – a 2.35:1 aspect ratio projector known as the ORION. Both Christie and Barco are focused not he highest-end of homes and both will help drive the custom installer into a more profitable segment of the market. I think Barco has a bit of a head-start over Christie as they have models already for sale but both companies won’t have a complete portfolio until some time in 2015. In Christie’s booth, they had a killer demo of a complete theater included with Dolby ATMOS sound — it was stunning and, by far, the best theater on the show floor. Barco demo’d their CinemaScope capabilities with a very creative rear-screen super-wide-screen 120” image from a 12” throw — perfect for urban dwellers.

speakercraft-new2-0914CORE Brands Dominates Buzz: Nortek’s CORE Brands was the most visible of the holding companies on display here at CEDIA and all their brands had very significant introductions. SpeakerCraft’s new AIM Series 2 were some of the best looking (and sounding) in-ceiling speakers introduced here while everyone was happy that Niles is finally shipping their AURIEL Controller – long overdue. But, the highlight of day-2 for me was meeting The Cake Boss himself, Buddy Valastro, during ELAN’s 25th birthday celebration. Right across the aisle from CORE was another Nortek company, OmniMount who had the biggest new product launch at CEDIA in years.

finest-0914The Finest Brands: The most fun booth of Day 2 was The Finest Brands, which is which is focused on differentiating its HomeAV dealer by providing them with access to cool things like pool tables, ping-pong tables, pin ball machines, massage chairs, etc. I love this company as, as I mentioned, they are providing differentiating products for AV dealers at high margins.

rug-0914Speaking of Differentiating: There’s a carpet company here called Joy Carpets that is a company that EVERY HomeAV dealer should engage with. All they do is patterned carpets — perfect for home entertaining and home theater spaces. They started as a commercial office and gaming space carpet company, but for the past two years, they have provided a dedicated line of home theater carpet that’s profitable and very cool looking — hundreds of styles, too! And, the best part is that you can actually make three times as much selling the carpet for a theater versus the projector you install. Check them out!

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Nexus: There are probably 200 companies named Nexus – according to Google – so, how do you stand out? Name yourself Nexus 21! That’s what Jeff Meskan and Cory Lovett decided when they formed the best “hide AV gear” company I’ve ever seen – dubbing their expertise “concealment systems.” And, they can hide anything, anywhere. We pyng-hub-0914shot a few videos of their new stuff but this is the kind of creativity that any AV dealer should make part of the product portfolio.

Pyng: That’s the name of Crestron’s new App-based control system. Really it’s a configuration simplifier as you still need a Crestron control system, but it is simple to use! It’s was one of the most popular things here at CEDIA.

URC-ccgen-0914Universal Remote Control (URC): Most of us old-timers remember the days when URC was just an OEM remote company making handhelds for DirecTV, TiVo and a plethora of TV companies. But now they’re a full-fledged control company and they told us at CEDIA 2014, they’re taking aim at the big guys in custom control with their new ccGEN2 total home control system. They actually called it a Crestron killer.

Do you use PowerBridge? There’s a tiny company based here in Colorado called PowerBridge that has the coolest, timesaving, simplest idea ever for CIs. PowerBridge provides extended power and allows for external surge-protection and UPS-backup power to expensive televisions, standard electrical outlets installed cannot — and, although you’re running Romex inside a wall, it can be installed by low-voltage integrators! I love this company!

stealth-lrg-0914Stealth Acoustics LRG: Stealth has been known for years as the best invisible speaker company in the industry, but their LRG line uses a really cool proprietary face panel that makes it super-low profile and they actually use a woofer in their in-wall speakers – most don’t.

And, that’s Day Two! Sure, there’s no way to cover everything in one blog, so that’s why we have a handy dedicated CEDIA 2014 microsite that already houses over 500 videos, 500 show floor photos and nearly 250 new product news stories – all in one place.