CEDIA 2013: Day 1 Impressions

day1blog-5There’s no question that the theme for this year’s CEDIA Expo is, “We’re going commercial.”

What?

Yep, the HomeAV’s annual trade show is full of ProAV gear. It’s all over the place. In small ways — like Draper showing its VTC camera-lift systems and in big ways where AMX and Crestron are showing as much commercial AV gear as home AV gear in each of their booths. And, there are educational sessions that include digital signage, conference room design and even image mapping applications. day1blog-4 day1blog-3 day1blog-2

So, what’s up with that?

Well, to be frank, the truth is that the HomeAV market and the ProAV markets have been on a convergence path for a while now. For example, a lot of the LCD display companies use the same raw component in ProAV “commercial-grade” displays as they do in the ones they sell in Best Buy. Also, there’s been standardization of resolutions. For example, five years ago, there were 10 different resolutions of projectors that most manufacturers sold – now the big three resolutions make up 85 percent of the ProAV install market (XGA, WXGA and 1080p). So, a lot of manufacturers of projector and HDTVs have standardized their production lines on just making 1280 x 768 (to accommodate both 720p, XGA and WXGA resolutions) and 1080p — which accommodates nearly everything else.

And, it doesn’t stop with video. In the audio world, everything’s gone digital or IP — both in HomeAV and ProAV. So, the simplest thing to do is build everything on one platform and slightly modify it for the commercial and residential markets. Done!

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Wire? Well, HDMI is being used on 90 percent of sources in the HomeAV market and nearly 50 percent of the ProAV market — the rest is using the plain old VGA connector or the all-new mini DisplayPort connector popularized by Apple (but called Thunderbolt by them). Sure, there’s some DVI, but not much.

And, both the HomeAV and ProAV markets are going AV over IP. It’s everywhere at CEDIA and has been for three years and at this year’s InfoComm show back in June, video and audio over IP networks was shown by just about every projector, monitor and control systems company on the show floor. And, as you may very well know, the entire digital signage market’s been driving signals and content via IP for years!

So, do you blame the HomeAV integrator for going ProAV?

day1blog-1As products and technologies converge it’ll work both ways, too. Putting AppleTVs in to commercial AV projects is huge right now. Likewise, doing a digital signage project at the office for the same doctor a HomeAV integrator put in a home theater system for is a natural.

But, the ultimate convergence product could very well be 4K. There will be NO DIFFERENCE in a commercial-grade and consumer-grade 4K display. They will be the same. So, as we move towards the higher-resolution form factor and do BYOD in the ProAV installation, one of those guys bringing their own device may very well be the same guy who installs home entertainment systems.

Now, the big question is: When will CEDIA and InfoComm merge into one, giant mega-AV show?