CEDIA is fast becoming the trade show of choice from the harried booth technician to the pressured CEO. And what does that mean to the CE, PC, home networking and custom installing consumer, pro-sumer or professional? A happy and rested manufacturer, buyer, retailer or journalist is likely to make a better deal; field product queries with patience and have time to think out the vicissitudes of technology retailing.
“I think we can examine new products, get into the real nitty gritty of what we need for our customers and have the time and peace to negotiate in a better fashion from this show as opposed to others,” said Jimmy Garson, CEO of Data Vision, the New York City based retailer. “At CES, It’s getting too crowded to appreciate the presentations and while we bring our customers concerns to that show, we don’t always come away with answers or solutions,” Garson added.
And the manufacturers are having a great time, too.
“This show comes just at the right time for us to launch and market our holiday TVs and new XDE players,” said Maria Repole, a Vice President at Toshiba. “The venue is relaxed, we get our messages across for all our new products…which also means the Pro Installers have time to ramp up and consumers can get all the information they need before making a holiday purchase.”
A visitor from a rival technology show, who wished not to be identified agrees. “This was more installation and less innovation for years and now the public and private sector can get a lot of information as the home, installation, the technology innovation and networking seems to have merged here.”
And for those retailers and installers and manufacturers readying their offerings, this first official day of CEDIA delivered new and better products for consumers.
The longest (but fast moving) lines at the show was for the latest Iteration of the award winning D-Box. D-Box, which had been previously been a leading provider of motion technology for the entertainment industry, demonstrated an upgraded version of its Home Theater System and custom installer model, which more than wowed the crowds. It literally bumped, and throttled and sank and rose this reporter by using a recliner equipped with the $4,000 system. The system, featuring the company’s patented D-BOX MOTION CODE™ technology, now has a system specifically designed for the commercial theater market and should be commercially available within the next 12-18 months.
The model that I used is an upgraded home version with advanced motion simulation and it seemingly acts like a thrill ride experience. There’s also a version designed for gamers which looks like a hot rod and immerses the rider into the video game itself. All the D-Box systems work with many DVD, Blu-ray disk and possibly soon many on-demand titles from cable companies.
On the low key side, a company called QVS out of Las Vegas demonstrated HDMI, VGA extenders that enable you to transmit video, data or music over longer distances than even Monster cable delivers. QVS Operations Manager Robert Incognito was not hiding anything (his real name) also showed off HDMI, component and VGA switching boxes for consumers and pro installers, whose audio video equipment may lack extra inputs and outputs. The extenders ranged from $129 and the switch boxes from $69.
Cables To Go, an arch rival in this niche but growing market, now offers one of the widest pro and consumer add-on cables in the market. They offer over 125 different kinds of cable, splitter and connector solutions for home theater especially in the transfer of DVI-to HDTV and HDMI extenders.
The fastest growing segment of this industry…not including the traditional CE and home networking products at the show, is the design and install your-self segment where firms like Flatwire and Black and Decker, offered up a slew of products for consumers and pro installers.
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Richard Sherwin is a former syndicated technology columnist and TV/Radio analyst, who has also been a marketing executive with IBM, Philips, NBC and a chief advisor to several manufacturers and service providers.