Transparent monitor… very cool.
The CEDIA Expo is a smaller and more manageable event than something like CES, and it’s a lot easier to get a feeling for what’s going on. The team made it through Day 1 yesterday… today’s filled with high-level meetings. So, here’s the report that I know you all have been waiting for.
What’s new pussycat?
The truth is there wasn’t a lot of new technology on display here at the CEDIA Expo. That’s not much of a surprise as last year had almost nothing new to report. The big hit for me was a truly transparent monitor, which I show above… you have to use a little bit of imagination and realize the stuff that isn’t moving is actually behind the monitor itself. This is a very cool idea that I think will find its way into offices before really getting wide adoption in home theater. Large, bulky monitors allow people to hide, while transparent monitors would encourage open workspaces with plenty of opportunities to collaborate… very trendy right now.
What’s really different this year is the unbridled optimism. My first CEDIA Expo was in 2012 and while I said back then that the more important takeaway was an optimistic perspective, remember that we were all coming out of three years of serious recession. This year’s expo is so optimistic you just tend to break into a giggle here and there. The show is full of really high-end products that regular folks will never get to guy, and the point is that someone thinks that there’s a market for that. It says a lot about the confidence that manufacturers have in a strong economy.
We spent some time with our friends over at Vericom who make many of the accessories we feature in our daily deals, as well as visiting the booths from Core Brands and Lutron who provide some of our home automation hardware. There were two standouts though:
DISH’s big reveal was their new exhibit space. They have been using the same booth for trade shows with the giant DISH logo for about 4 years and this is an all new exhibit space for them. Inside there were Hopper 3’s, HopperGOs, and Wallys, but no really new hardware except…
DISH’s Playmaker isn’t really new, because we’ve already been selling it for a few months. But, it was the first time it was shown at a trade show and if you’re looking for the fastest, easiest way to get HD in a surprisingly economical package you owe it to yourself to look at it.
Our friends at SureCall had a fairly low-key booth but it was full of goodies. They showed the latest and greatest versions of all their pro-quality cell boosters including the amazing Force7, the only booster on the market rated to provide 80,000 square feet of coverage in a single kit. The competition doesn’t even come close.
There were a few other little tidbits at the SureCall booth as well… but I’ll leave those for another day as I’m hoping to get some demo hardware next week for a full review.
Wrapping it all up
CEDIA Expo isn’t the biggest show of the year but it is turning out to be the most exciting. We’re finally beginning to see home automation move out of the “early adopter” phase into something that average people can afford, and the show had production ready hardware from Google and Amazon that actually doesn’t require fancy installers. That’s kind of odd for a show that’s supposed to focus on installers, but it’s good for all of us.
In fact, while there were really high-end things to be seen as I said, the best part of this year’s show is the sheer number of things that average folks can do for themselves with no installer. That’s where Solid Signal comes in… we’re scouring the show floor to find the stuff you want without forcing you to hire a pro.