Well CEDIA was once again truly the audio and visual feast for all things imaginable. It absolutely amazes me what niches people can think to address and what products they come up with to deliver to that niche.
Take the simple little front doorbell for instance. In a normal electronic-lifestyle-equipped residence, a front gate call or front door call will produce a ring of the telephones, or a pre-recorded chime or recording in the overhead house speakers to announce the visitor. Some of the more sophisticated systems even produce an automatic pop-up of the associated security camera to allow for the immediate viewing of the guest, along with a gate release button to permit their entry. But not enough for the CEDIA realm! You can now provide for that very special client of yours, a Snow-White-esque Magic Mirror that will turn into the image of a talking spirit announcing the intruder at the gate in any number of pre-recorded phrases and displaying their camera image directly there on the mirror. Answer the Gate Call and the Magic Mirror returns to its normal reflection duties. Surely this is what every well-provisioned electronic home absolutely needs to be considered complete.
Motion chairs and sofas have come a long way as well. The movements and tracking seem to be getting better, and there was even a Harley-Davidson that you could simulate a ride on. With the of Blu-ray and HD-DVD, there is now at least one company that is making available a motion track to consume more of that available HD-DVD space. Geared to the actual movements of the movie at hand, their demos of the track were indeed quite realistic. Im certainly glad that HD-DVD came along to save my sofa from boredom.
But there can be no doubt that the star of the show was 1080p. Just how every vendor on the planet can, in six months, put an entirely new format into total production is indeed amazing. Projectors, LCDs, plasmas, you name iteverything seemed to be showing 1080p. There was little doubt about what an improvement you got over the alternate images that many vendors provided in their A-B comparisons.
But I have to wonder about just where all of this 1080p content actually came from. There are a few Blu-ray discs out, HD-DVDs out, but most of what was being shown wasnt from any of those. So most of the video being viewed was up-scaled, privately produced, or otherwise created specifically for CEDIA viewing. Then, too, there is the lack of actual HD-DVD players of either flavor to actually provide the HD content. What we all witnessed was actually just the display side of things, with the content being selected uniquely by each display vendor. So I would say that the 2006 CEDIA show should go down more accurately as the 1080p DISPLAY showcase. I guess well just have to wait until next year to actually have a chance to see what we can display onto these new beauties. For now all we get to sell is the beautiful potential of these new models, and then later we can go back and install the content providing devices like HD-DVD players and such.
After all this, Ive got more questions than answers or at least I think I do. Now that the Holy Grail of 1080p display technology has been attained, what is to become of the display world? Because we cant get any better picture resolution, is it all going to boil down to cheaper displays and larger screens? There really arent any new display technologies on the immediate horizon to keep this frenzy going. LCDs, plasmas, and DLPs are about to be pronounced mature and ready for common consumption. How boring after so many years of all that buzz. And people will actually be able to own a display for more than a year without it being out-of-date. How strange.
On the other hand, the frenzy for content provision is about to go crazy. Standard-definition DVDs have been mature for way too long now. After all, hasnt everyone finally ditched every VCR on the planet and installed several DVD players throughout the house? So this 1080p content requirement is just what any established product line needs…obsolescence! Perfect. And what else are we to soon find on these HD-DVDs, besides the ability to rumble my sofa in a foreign language? Then, too, all of those audio/video receivers with built-in video switching will probably need upgrading to handle all of this. Yep, there can be no doubt that finally achieving that elusive 1080p Holy Grail has certainly solidified things.