Shortly before the economy went from bad to worse last month, CEDIA hosted its 19th annual EXPO trade show in Denver to measured expectations. Attendance for the event was indeed lower than prior years, though most attendees and exhibitors made the best of the situation, despite an attendance drop to 25,000 from 29,000 the year before.
Lower attendance did not dampen the spirits of those who did attend, however, as the EXPO show floor filled to capacity with new product introductions, and attendees who were eager to soak up free educational opportunities, new product details, and visit their favorite vendors.
The buzz of the show, by far, was the eye-catching “product-free” SpeakerCraft booth featuring scantily clad dancers and educational pods for business training. Right next to SpeakerCraft was the buttoned-down team from Lutron, which shot video of its own booth highlights and e-mailed a Web link of the footage to dealers unable to make it to Denver. The contrast of company styles was amusing, but the similarity was an effort by both companies to make the best out of tough times and to serve their dealers in creative ways.
Economic woes seemed far from the minds of the folks at the Crestron and Sonance, however, as multiple line introductions overwhelmed the press and dealers alike who toured their booths. There and everywhere else at EXPO, media server enhancements and iPhone integration seemed to dominate the trade show floor. Other evolutionary technical developments included differing opinions on extending 1080p signals over longer distances, the introduction of thinner flat-panel TVs, and a discussion of innovative retrofit concepts using Power Line Carrier-based technology from both NuVo and Russound.
It may have not been the same record-breaking CEDIA EXPO of a few years ago, but then again times are tough. The following pages attempt to capture the energy of those who persevered at the show.
One of the goals of CEDIA EXPO planners was to enhance the show’s educational and training for attendees. In addition to new and free classes, seven Electronic Systems Technician courses featured ADIsponsored “Learning Labs” for hands-on training during a lecture-based curriculum. Helping launch this new feature at EXPO were (l-r): Utz Baldwin, CEDIA chairman; Ken Erdmann, vice chairman; John Sullivan, ADI vice president of sales; and Michael Masten, ADI national training manager.
Digital Projection International (DPI) launched an alternative to oversized plasma screens at EXPO. The Titan RP97, designed for high-ambient rooms in homes , features a 97-inch image with saturated colors, deep contrast, and stellar dynamic range. Pictured is George Walter, vice president of home cinema, for DPI.
Yoshinori Ogata, product manager for Marantz America, presented the company’s eight new separates at CEDIA EXPO. The new line includes four new integrated amplifiers, two SACD players, and a CD player. Pictured here are the PM8003 and PM5003, the SA8003, and the CD5003.
Gear was not the focus of the SpeakerCraft booth. Training and, well… titillation were as the dance troupe, Lucent Dossier, made periodic appearances and company president Jeremy Burkhardt and his team led business training powwows.
It was a busy time for the team at Crestron, which introduced a new TPS-6X touchpanel, new Cameo Keypad Controllers, a stand-alone wireless lighting and shades control system called iLux CLS-C6MRF, DIN-Rail lighting and control modules, a control app for iPhone, an integrated iPod-based home audio server, a ZigBee two-way MLX-2 remote, and many other products. On hand to present the company’s annual Integration Awards to his top dealers was company founder and CEO George Feldstein.
OmniMount held an open house at its CEDIA booth, where new furniture products such as the Orbit 50 and Echo 50FP were introduced. Attending the event were (l-r) Alex Robertson, senior VP of sales; Geoff Miller, president/CEO; and Brett Stenhouse, VP of marketing.
Auralex Acoustics debuted eight new products at EXPO, including its custom-printed SonicPrint Pro Panels, the “green” Eco-Tech Panel, and the Home Design Series. Pictured (l-r) are Auralex founder Eric Smith and director of sales, Tim Martin.
Da-Lite chairman and CEO, Richard Lundin (left) and director of marketing Wendy Long, were happy to usher in 3D front projection at their CEDIA booth. The company’s new 3D Virtual Grey screen fabric is designed to virtually eliminate cross talk or “ghosting” to more effectively hold the polarization of the image on the screen.
SIM2’s new partnership incorporates Entertainment Experience’s Digital Entertainment Center and SIM2’s C3X 1080 full HD home theater projector. SIM2 president Giorgio Corazzo (left) and vice president of sales and marketing Charlie Boornazian presented a prototype of the C3X 1080 host.
Residential Systems magazine and NuVison played the “giveaway game” when the magazine’s editorial director Jeremy J. Glowacki (left) and NuVision’s president Scott Deley presented Esteban Tettamanti, of Aurix Home Solutions in Miami, with a free 42-inch LCD display.
Jim McGall, VP of sales
Jim McGall, VP of sales for Screen Research, showed off the manufacturer’s range of products, including the LeWing fully retractable screen, the in-ceiling theater screen and range of fixed and motorized cinema screens,and advanced screen-making systems.
Norway’s projectiondesign revealed its new 1080p avielo series of home cinema DLP projectors in Denver. The first three models—the spectra, optix, and prisma—are hand-built and equipped with Phillips UHP VIDI lamp technology, projectiondesign’s RealColor color management suite, TI’s DLP technology, 10-bit processing, custom-designed optics, and HDMI 1.3. Pictured (l-r) are international home theater market manager Joe Manning, international marketing and communications manager Anders Lokke, and president Gary Plavin.
Joaquin Rivera, director of sales for Stewart Filmscreen, gave a rundown on his company’s new products, including a new Cabaret electric retractable screen, the Oasis weatherresistant outdoor screen, a partnership with Media Décor, and new window treatments to enhance theater viewing.
Sonance added several new models to its Architectural Series of in-wall and in-ceiling speakers, including the X6R SST “single-stereo” design and ThinLine for European and high-rise installations. It was hard not to stop and stare, however, at the company’s NacSound line of concept speakers. Sonance COO Ari Supran poses with Free Wheeler—a wireless speaker within that line of products.
Another buzz-worthy moment at CEDIA was produced by Tributaries, when company president Joe Perfito (center) gave away a 2008 Mini Cooper S Clubman to lucky dealer Larry Scott of Artistic Sound and Video. Michael Pup (left) of Bay Marketing represented Scott at the drawing, after Utz Baldwin (right) drew his name.
At his EXPO booth, Niveus Media CEO and co-founder Tim Cutting showed off his company’s new products, including the 16TB Niveus Cargo Edition Storage and rack-mountable Pro Series line (pictured), Movie Library 1.5 move management tool with disc-in-drive support,and intuitive interface, and expanded metadata with high-res cover art (including Blu-ray). Cutting also unveiled the Niveus Media Server Vail Edition for whole-house, highdef digital content access and distribution.
NetStreams VP of marketing and business development, Sanjay Castelino, unveiled the TouchLinX TLA250 touchpad during an EXPO press conference. The controller’s glass faceplate includes a 50-watt/channel amp, custom skins, and a flush wall design that eliminates button cap controls.NetStreams also introduced the SL254 IP speaker, and new software upgrades for the company’s current IP-network devices.
ELAN, SUNFIRE, HOMELOGIC
Sister brands, ELAN, Sunfire, and HomeLogic displayed its “Power of Three” initiative, which offers dealers with enhanced purchasing power, efficiencies, training, and support. Pictured are (l-r): Buddy Duncan, VP of operations and co-founder of HomeLogic; Jim Herman, GM, VP, and co-founder of HomeLogic; Cat Fowler, VP of marketing, inside sales, and customer service for all companies; Bob Farinelli, president for all companies; Mark Weisenberg, general manager for Sunfire; Bob Carver, CTO and founder of Sunfire; and Paul Starkey, EVP of all companies.
Michael Toscano, CTO of Autonomic Controls,demonstrated the company’s MCS•EX2. The media control server is designed to bring the power of Windows Media Center and iTunes to touchpanels, control systems, and multi-room audio systems,enabling access to digital media through the home.
Ben Jamison (left), new VP of sales for Savant Systems,detailed the company’s new products and initiatives during its press conference at CEDIA. At the heart of its latest roster of control solutions is the ROSIE System 36, which supports up to 36 1080p video zones and can distribute audio to as many as 144 stereo zones or up to 18 separate 7.1 surround sound zones. Company president Jim Carroll (right) helped to introduce the ROSIE iPod Media Dock and unveiled Savant’s iPhone application, which is now available on iTunes.
Electrograph Systems’ director of product management showed off the Philips 3D Solutions WOWvx display,which incorporates proprietary software drivers tocreate a system that is capable of running many of the PC-based games on the market.
JVC expanded its D-ILA projector line with four new models.Lon Mass, VP of marketing, presented the DLA-RS20, one of the two THX models with a 30,000:1 contrast ratio. JVC also unveiled its 4K2K DLA-SH4K, and a line LCDs with Clear Motion Drive III.
ATON’s playful and controversial ad campaign culminated in a photo opportunity at its CEDIA booth with a model named “Wanda.” The exhibit’s product focus included the DH44, the first shipping DIGI-5 Digital Audio Router for multi-room installs with crystal clear sound, and the company’s first HD video routing solution distributing up to four 1080p signals to four zones. The DH44 product requires only a single run of Cat-5 cable for signals and power in each zone. The HDR44 HD Video Router distributes four HD video sources at up to 1080p, in tandem with digital and analog audio, to four zones over dual Cat-5 cables.