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!