Well, the annual eye-candy AV show known as CEDIA kicks off this week and I thought I would write a quick blog that, hopefully, you can print out and keep with you to make sure you see these seven things while in Denver:
1. The projector market is back! For years, the projector has been seen as the commodity product of the HomeAV market, but you will see that change with CEDIA 2014. Why? Well, even though there are over 30 projector companies that “brand” various products, there are only a few that control the technology and where it is today – and those few are all launching new lines at CEDIA to cover the entire gamut of applications of projectors. Unlike in the past few years, these products are not only technologically sound, but command a higher price point AND margin. For example, both Christie and Barco are launching dedicated residential lines (not just products — entire product lines) at CEDIA in Denver this week. These companies only make high-end products – so quality will be tops in both booths (Christie in #1078 and Barco in #700). Epson, the world’s leading manufacturer of 3LCD projectors, will also launch a new line of reflective 3LCD products aimed at the home cinema market. Make sure you go see all three of these companies. And, if you’re a DLP fan, the largest manufacturer of DLP home theater products, BenQ will bring a line that includes portable home projectors all the way up to 2,500-lumen home theater projectors using DLP technology.
2. Control, Control, Control: The control market is going through a major revolution via all the App-based control systems out there. However, there isn’t one clear leader – and no one company is universally compatible as an interface to control all the disparate parts of the home that can be controlled vain an iPhone or Android device. Until CEDIA 2014. Watch for a couple of biggies to bring you universal control via Apps. Certainly, stop by Crestron and see what it has but also make sure you stop by the Key Digital booth and check out the Compass Control line as it’s the best third-party app-based control I’ve seen.
3. Audio BOOM: Audio has always been the most important segment of the HomeAV world and CEDIA always has over 100 audio companies exhibiting. I already had a cool podcast with a VP over at Stealth Acoustics who told me all about their new Outdoor Patio Home Entertainment systems, but expect to see EVERYONE go in-wall. Even the companies that used to bash in-wall as sounding terrible will tell you that they’ve finally solved the in-wall speaker system “problem.” Wink, Wink.
4. The Network: You don’t have to use Cisco to network all your gear in the home as there’s an AV-based networking company called Pakedge. We love the company’s technology and AV focus, as well as its service model for profitability. Check it out while you are there and start selling its networking gear instead of D-Link for the home.
5. The Screens: Both Draper and Stewart have already given us a sneak-peek of their CEDIA line-up and it’s all about improving the experience of the viewer — not just technology. Expect to see more immersive (aka large) screens and options for home theaters.
6. The 10×10: Some of the neatest and coolest products are from companies you’ve never heard of. I know you’ll all head down the middle aisles at CEDIA, but make sure you leave time to head around the perimeter of the show and see the plethora of small booths that will, in the future, have big booths at CEDIA. They’re almost always looking for new integrators to try them out!
7. Finally, Apple: Somehow, Apple always seems to steal just a little thunder from CEDIA each year as they always launch a new iPhone during CEDIA week. But this year Apple is also expected to launch a wearable and maybe a new Apple TV, so people just could be talking about the world’s largest electronics manufacturer, even though they don’t exhibit.