I was a bit worried that I would find an economically battered battle field full of horror stories and spilled blood. I was pleasantly surprised to find lots of optomism, some great success stories and the same old entepeneurial spirit that keeps me enthralled with this industry. Yes, there were a few sad faces and sad stories ... but not nearly as many as I had expected. In fact the general consensus for me was ... business as usual ... in many respects.

Highlights from Cedia Expo 2008

Bob Hetherington | Hometoys

CEDIA Expo 2008 - Highlights

Author: Bob Hetherington

I was a bit worried that I would find an economically battered battle field full of horror stories and spilled blood. I was pleasantly surprised to find lots of optomism, some great success stories and the same old entepeneurial spirit that keeps me enthralled with this industry. Yes, there were a few sad faces and sad stories ... but not nearly as many as I had expected. In fact the general consensus for me was ... business as usual ... in many respects.

Off to Denver for the whirlwind tour of the CEDIA show floor. This year we got organized and made a point of visiting as many booths as we could fit into our 2 day blitz.

I must say, along with many others, I was a bit worried that I would find an economically battered battle field full of horror stories and spilled blood. I was pleasantly surprised to find lots of optomism, some great success stories and the same old entepeneurial spirit that keeps me enthralled with this industry. Yes, there were a few sad faces and sad stories ... but not nearly as many as I had expected. In fact the general consensus for me was ... business as usual ... in many respects.

Here are a few factoids from CEDIA about the show:

  • Over 25,000 attendees (last year 29,000)
  • The number of non-exhibiting professionals in attendance increased along with the number of electronic systems contractors (ESC) taking advantage of CEDIA University training.
  • Over 500 exhibitors, including more than 90 new companies

In general I found that those companies whose business is focused on the higher end market are doing fine while those with products aimed more at the middle market are suffering a bit. But obviously people still want the goodies and there are more than enough companies out there ready and willing to provide them.

While this is not a comprehensive list, here are a few things that stood out for me.

 

Media Servers

 

Savant Rosie System

 

The ROSIE Systems offer a competitive solution with the capability to control various devices and services in multiroom environments: flat panel displays, DVD players, AV receivers, set-top boxes, projectors, lighting, security cameras, thermostats, window treatments, and other equipment and services commonly deployed in residential settings.

The touch control interface looks and feels a bit like the iPhone and their new remotes have the iPod feeling.

 


SE2 ITC One System

Custom build your home theater system today, with SE2 Lab's ITC One—the first fully personalized, fully integrated, all-in-one box home entertainment center. ITC One integrates a variety of the best components out there, including high-definition DVD players, audio components, video components, gaming systems, control devices, cooling systems and more. And the system is even available with displays, speakers and other peripherals for a complete home entertainment setup.


FuzeOne

FuzeOne is the last home media gadget you’ll ever need. It integrates your HDTV and Blu-Ray DVDs; its easy DVD Library Manager allows you to easily sore hundreds of DVD movies; it stores all of your home movies, digital photos, and music files. All that’s left for you to do is decide what you’ll enjoy first. HD CableCards, recorded HDTV, and optional Blu-Ray DVDs, all with a simplified, easy-to-use interface and remote. FuzeOne starts at $5,995, a fraction of the cost of professionally installed whole-home media systems. The system comes standard with one media playback zone plus five audio zones, but it can be configured for up to seven media playback zones and up to nine total audio zones.


Displays and Screens

 

Philips 3D WOWvx 42” LCD display

Over in the Electrograph booth I was blown away with this "glasses-free" 3D display. The Philips 3D Solutions WOWvx display and proprietary software drivers create a system that is capable of running many of the PC-based games on the market. Far superior to systems that use special red/green glasses or helmet-based virtual reality, the gaming experience is far less confining and can accommodate multiple players in a wide range of viewing angles while producing a real “out-of-screen” 3D effects.


Elite Raptor Projection Screen

This is a premium grade electric floor-rising screen that conceals itself in a functional furniture cabinet. It is an elegant choice when wall or ceiling projection screen installations are not practical. Elite’s Raptor comes in three sizes: 72 inches, 84 inches or 100 inches measured diagonally with a 16:9 aspect ratio. It is housed in a fully functional media cabinet that accommodates a variety of media players and software. Currently, furniture finish options are matte black or cherry wood surfaces.


Stewart Media Decor

Partnering with Media Décor, the world leader in blending elegant designs with AV technology, the Stewart Media Décor system conceals a front or rear projection screen with exquisite artwork in enlarged sizes ranging from 92" to 110" diagonal, in a 16:9 aspect ratio. Stewart Media Décor provides homeowners, interior designers, systems integrators, and homebuilders a sophisticated and tasteful solution to discretely camouflage residential entertainment centers and business boardrooms.


Projectors

 

Mitsubishi Diamond Series

The HC7000 Home Theater Projector is a Diamond Series home theater model that is setting the industry standard for image quality. Better black levels are a key to the home theater experience, and this high definition projector features new black optimization technologies that generates amazing image quality.


Digital Projection Titan RP97

The TITAN RP97 pairs DPI’s powerful and efficient TITAN 1080p- 500 projector with an optically precise, 97" Black-Bead Fresnel screen to assure cinema quality imagery, even in high ambient light environments. Equipped with DP’s exceptional ColorMax™ and Xenon Color Mode calibration systems, the RP97 portrays an extraordinary 97" image with the saturated colors, deep contrast and stellar dynamic range that have made DPI’s projectors the reference standard for Home Cinema use. With the TITAN RP97, the impeccable imaging of DP’s legendary projection systems can now be deployed in any venue in the home.


Remote Controls

 

Philips Pronto TSU9800

The Pronto TSU9800 offers all the advantages of the TSU9600… and more. With a razor-sharp, full-size 6.4” VGA display, two extra buttons and an optical rotary wheel, the Pronto TSU9800 touch screen control panel is even easier to operate than other models. Some consumers will appreciate the readability of the larger screen while others prefer the possibility of displaying more icons or menu options on one single screen. 


Automation Systems

 

HomeLogic Integration With Elan and Sunfire

 

HomeLogic™ announced a newly tuned product line featuring embedded product integration with Sister Companies, ELAN® Home Systems and Sunfire™. This compatibility is now built-in to all HomeLogic products and supports complete control of Sunfire products as well as seamless integration with ELAN’s Touch Panels, Multi-Room Controllers and Source components. These integration enhancements deliver powerful, innovative features and save installation time for Dealers.

These new options are available with the company’s flagship HomeLogic controllers, and work with dozens of ELAN and Sunfire components -- allowing Dealers to flexibly configure scalable systems to fit any Client need and deliver complete home solutions.


Lutron LED Dimming and Hi-lume® LED driver

 

These products will help installers offer more eco-friendly options to their HomeWorks system clients. 4A modules can directly control line voltage LED sources while the Hi-lume units offer smooth and continuous dimming of LED lights from 100% to 1%. They also offer a Service free lifetime of at least 50,000 hours and are compatible with Lutron 3-wire controls and EcoSystem controls.


Multi Room Systems

 

Netstreams TouchLinX™ TLA250

 

NetStreams’ new touchpad features a built-in 50-watt per channel amplifier and designer friendly glass finish faceplate that can be tailored to compliment virtually any home décor. The new glass faceplate features a completely flat look, operating with only touch sensitive buttons. Further, a design layer under the glass can be matched to virtually any surface, design or accent, thanks to a variety of standard and designer color options. The TLA250 features many of the control features of the NetStreams touch screens, TouchLinX TL430 and TL700, offering user-friendly features such as an Intercom for whole house paging, room-to-room paging, and room monitoring. The LCD screen can display meta-data (song, artist, album name), and control any audio / video source connected. The front of the unit includes an IR receiver to enable control from a universal remote, including the ability to pass through IR commands to control sources anywhere on the DigiLinX™ network.


Speakers

 

Yamaha Digital Sound Projectors

True multi-channel surround sound enjoyment from a single compact component! Digital amplifiers individually drive 21 sound beam drivers and two woofers to deliver true multi-channel surround sound for an elegant home theater system. With the IntelliBeam™ Automated Calibration System, each sound beam is precisely directed. Total sound beam effect is optimized. Frequency response and other parameters are optimized for the room.


KEF Muon Speakers

 

Not much to say except ... WOW! Extreme high end sound from an extreme high end work of art. Not for every budget but it's nice to see what can be created out there.


Paradigm Monitor Series

 

Paradigm's Monitor Series, with its proprietary SuperDrive™ technology, combines very high efficiency with very high output and ultra-low distortion. These models compete directly with the efficiency and output of major brands of horn speakers — they not only play as loud, their sound is authentically high-end Paradigm® fidelity. Paradigm has a line of speakers for every taste and budget.

 


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