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Tales from the CEDIA Expo Trail, Part 1

Adventures in Dallas, day one — John Sciacca's CEDIA Expo tour starts here.

While CEDIA Expo 2022 is definitely about product, it is also about reconnecting with industry friends and rekindling those in-person relationships that have been suffering these past three years.

In that vein, my CEDIA actually started the night before, when I rolled into Dallas and met with Lutron’s global communications and events strategist, Melissa Andresko. While we talked product — I’m keen to review Lutron’s RadioRA3 system as well as the company’s new Palladiom wireless shades — it was far more about, “How are you? What have you been up to?” And the smokey old-fashioned I drank —served with incredible pomp and ceremony in a smoke-filled cloche — wasn’t bad either.

After that, I joined Gerry Lemay, founder and director of Home Acoustics Alliance, and Adam Pelz, owner of Bespoke Cinema and one of the finest audio calibrators in the world, for dinner, beers, and a nice, long chat. Pelz is building a truly sick home theater he calls “The Lab,” and I’m also trying to get him to put his calibration magic on my new Trinnov Altitude, so I consider those beers an investment.

Wednesday began with little on the schedule for me, so I used my exhibitor badge to get a sneak peek at this year’s show floor. And it totally didn’t disappoint! Here are some standouts from my wandering travels.

CEDIA 2022 – Show Floor

LG announced its 136-inch 4K DVLED wall at CES but didn’t have it on display there, so it was great to see it live and in person.

An announcement about new Marantz receivers and a pre-pro had slipped before the show, but it was great to see the new AV10 and its packed rear panel and exposed workings on display.

Planar had two large microLED walls on display, one with a .7mm pixel pitch and another with a .9mm pitch. This was also my first glimpse of a Top Gun: Maverick demo, which looks destined to be the go-to footage of the show.

While not new, Sony’s 220-inch Crystal LED wall is always impressive, plus I can’t wait to get a better look at the company’s new line of laser projectors and new QD-OLED displays.

JVC was slated to introduce three new 4K laser projectors at last year’s CEDIA, but that didn’t work out, so they are on display here. The company also announced an upcoming firmware release that will greatly improve its already highly regarded HDR tone-mapping solution.

Another product I had planned on seeing last year was Christie’s new Eclipse projector. Apparently, this is as close to a Dolby Cinema experience as you can get at home, and it is considered one of the ultimate projectors available on the market. Demo scheduled for sure.

Guess who’s back? Crestron returns to CEDIA Expo with a large booth and major presence and is ready to show off its Crestron Home and other technologies.

While you probably think “electrostatic” when you hear the Martin Logan name, the company is focusing on its in-walls in its sound room this year, which is definitely another demo I plan on checking out.

CEDIA 2022 – Beosound Theater

I also took a bus to a hotel to see a new Bang & Olufsen product, the Beosound Theater, which was being displayed for the first time in the United States. This is a truly high-end, luxury soundbar with all the design touches and flourishes B&O is known for, such as different wood and fabric grille colors and options for a customized look.

The bar’s seven drivers deliver 7.1.4 audio, with its two 6.5-inch woofers delivering truly deep and meaningful bass and serious SPL. The company stressed that its modular design allows for upgrades and improvements. The bar uses B&O’s beamforming and beam direction control to create an immersive audio experience, and can be connected to 16 additional B&O speakers, eight each wired and wireless, for a truly immersive surround experience.

This is also the first B&O speaker product that doesn’t require a Bang & Olufsen TV to function, but can connect to any TV via ARC or eARC. The Beosound Theater is shipping now, and ranges from $7-8000 depending on size and finish, and can include an optional fully motorized floor or wall stand for an additional $3000.

Then it was another shuttle ride to Elliston Systems to check out the company’s showroom, which features a Keith Yates Design (KYD) theater. This was a quick turnaround for KYD — completed in 4 to 6 weeks — and the beautifully designed room delivered a wonderfully immersive audio experience along with great dialog intelligibility. On display was the new Sony VPL-WX7000ES 4K projector, along with a 7.2.4 Meyer Sound speaker system fed by a Trinnov Altitude processor.

Following this was a return to the convention center for the first big, marquee demo of the show consisting of a “who’s-who” group of top luxury manufacturers including McIntosh, Sonus faber, Trinnov, Kaleidescape, madVR, Officina Acustica, Barco, and Seymour-Screen Excellence.

McIntosh Group Demo - CEDIA 2022
A demo from McIntosh and a number of other luxury manufacturers features an 11.12.6-channel system.

The demo included an 11.12.6-channel system featuring Sonus faber’s new Arena line of speakers powered by a massive 19-amplifier McIntosh system to deliver unlimited dynamics and headroom for an experience they hope will genuinely amaze the integration community. Video was provided from a 9000-lumen Barco Njord CS laser projector firing onto a 165-inch-wide Seymour-Screen Excellence screen.

Due to issues with customs, the entire theater was assembled in less than 20 hours, a testament to the “designed in Italy, built in Dallas” room from Officina Acustica. This was another opportunity to see Top Gun: Maverick along with an old tradeshow favorite, the “Never Enough” performance from The Greatest Showman and it delivered bass that was truly stirring!

John is just getting started! Read more in Part 2!