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CEDIA Expo 2010 Wrap-up

Oct 18, 2010 12:25 PM, By Bennett Liles


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For the residential electronic systems industry’s top tradeshow and training event, it’s all over but the number crunching, and this year’s CEDIA Expo at the Atlanta World Congress Center appears to have attracted more than 20,700 attendees in September to see the latest developments in residential AV signal transmission, media players, lighting, video display, audio systems, and control along with updates on the technology behind them.

Contrary to a widely expected trend, the event produced a 6 percent increase in total exhibitors for a grand total of 453. Ninety of the exhibitors, nearly 20 percent, were making their first CEDIA Expo appearance, and their work appeared to pay off with a slight uptick in attendance from last year. Big attractions for members were new CEDIA University courses and the Future Technology Pavilion, a partnership between CEDIA and Harman High Performance AV (HPAV) that offered a glimpse into coming systems ranging into automated control of the total home environment.

One of the best things CEDIA Expo has to offer exhibitors is the chance to gauge public opinion on products and ideas, getting the first impression from attendees before committing significant financial resources into product development and marketing. In addition to showing off their existing products, companies like Premier Mounts were testing the water with prototypes for new products. Company president Lee Dodson was getting his visitors’ reaction to a new idea in wall mounting video displays that works just like a picture frame and hangs by a rear wire. In this case, the wire is a small, easily adjustable steel cable.

While it hasn’t quite set the tradeshow world on fire yet, 3D video display technology did draw crowds of the curious and one of the more revealing demos was at the Vutec booth where attendees could see active and passive versions of the technology running side by side. The steady stream of visitors went from one stand to the other trying on the glasses and peering intently at the displays. Some in the crowd went back and forth several times for more detailed comparison. While 3D in itself is drawing interest, the more impressive demo was the active version. With images such as a rotating engine, the object in the picture really jumped out of the screen and appeared to be in the room. A comment heard more than once was, “I’d really like to see a football game with this.” LG was also drawing curious crowds with a Full HD Dual Engine Single Lens Type 3D projector with a brightness ratio of 2,500 ANSI lumens for 2D viewing and 1,250 ANSI lumens for 3D content. Toshiba’s 3D video exhibition was also well attended, showing new lighter and thinner flat panel displays.

Before a considerable crowd at the DVIGear booth, Steven Barlow showed off a new system designed to provide installers with a low cost high-def video transmission method. The demo included an economical optical transmitter/receiver pair carrying a Blu-ray signal through a thousand feet of fiber-optic cable to a display and supporting up to about 7Ghz and full HDCP. A similar product at the booth was being shown to support 10.2Ghz with HDCP and infrared through a single cable with two optical fibers. Barlow also fielded questions on HDMI installation technique and a few technical comparisons on the new HDBaseT technology.

Probably in response to all of the recent market buzz on HDBaseT, there appeared to be considerable interest by the visitors at the booth of the HDBaseT Alliance. Those manning the booth were fielding a constant barrage of questions regarding the 5Play feature set and how the technology could work in specific applications.

Adam Audio was demonstrating the X-ART (eXtended Accelerating Ribbon Technology) behind the function of their tweeters and midrange speakers, designed to avoid some traditional problems with the piston-like motion of conventional drivers. The visitors here seemed to be as interested in the background technology as they were regarding the specific products being demonstrated.

Another interesting item attracting interest at the show was a new rack from Middle Atlantic Products that appears from the outside to be an ordinary credenza but inside it has ventilation ports, rack rails, and wiring channels in an answer to all the conference rooms where real credenzas have been drilled, punched, and wrenched into makeshift AV racks.

From the size of the crowd and the genuine interest seen by the exhibitors, the CEDIA Expo 2010 appeared to prove that the fear of a slowdown in business has largely passed and the custom design side of the AV industry is ready for a comeback.



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