I’m a little late on my game and just started looking at flights to CEDIA this year. With the long flight, I was considering taking the red-eye home on Friday, so that my time on the show floor would be jam packed. That got me to thinking about what booths I want to visit and what my goals for the show are. With Crestron no longer showing at CEDIA, I do have some more time on my hands, so here are few things I plan to check out.
I am hoping this is the year of ultra-short-throw. With most of our clients living in apartments, dedicated media rooms are not part of our bread and butter. But with 75-inch TVs costing more than $3,000 for the privilege, two-piece projection becomes an attainable option for many of our clients. When you are talking multi-purpose media rooms, often with gaming systems with motion detection, a traditional projector is not practical, as often people are standing up or walking in the path of the image. With ultra-short-throw, however, the projector is now at the front of the room and is unimpeded by people milling about the room. Here’s hoping Screen Innovations motorizes its ambient light rejecting UST screen (are you listening Blake?)
While we don’t sell these solutions, many of our clients ask about eero, August locks, etc. Spending time exploring these companies and their products allows us to better understand their strengths and weaknesses and gives an opportunity to ask the questions critical to our industry—security, remote access/support, dealer pricing, etc.—that make these products a potential for a dealer’s arsenal or an absolute no-go.
I’m still looking for the best combination of Sonos and Autonomic to provide an easy-to-deploy, retrofittable solution (Sonos) that is also easy to integrate and plays well in the home automation sandbox (Autonomic). For example, we love the flexibility that Sonos offers with wireless speakers for seldom-used rooms or for retrofit solutions as well as the PlayBar for rooms that don’t need full surround sound or the complexity of an AVR, but do need better sound than the TV provides. But Sonos’ very limited integration is problematic and makes it something we can’t really include in our arsenal at this point. My hopes are not very high to find an answer to this at CEDIA, but one can always dream!
Without Crestron, I will spending a lot of time walking the floor with a close colleague who is a Control4 dealer. With Control4 currently on version 2.9 of their software, he is very hopeful that this CEDIA will be 3.0, and that it will be a big leap forward in terms of end-user experience, new features, and maybe a surprise or two, like the experience buttons from last year. His biggest hope is that he may get a solution to my question from above. With Control4 having acquired Triad speakers, he would love a wireless speaker that would work with a Control4 audio matrix as an extra zone, like a Sonos Play speaker.
With the recently announced launch of touch panels and the return of Bob Madonna to the helm, it should be exciting to see what Savant brings to the show floor.
Last year was all about Alexa. Now Google Home is an established player and many control systems have integrations (mostly via third party drivers) and Apple HomePod throws a curve ball. It will be very interesting to see how the various control companies continue to address this popular and growing trend.
That’s all I have on my hit list for now. What are all of you hoping to see at CEDIA? Where will you focus your efforts in the short period of time you have in San Diego?