CEDIA Expo 2013: Day 1 Wrapup

CEDIA Expo 2013 doesn’t compare in size or scale to its larger cousins IFA and CES but this trade show for home theater installers really stepped things up this year. Your blog team was on hand to see everything there was to see, and we’re happy to report that home technology is healthier than it’s ever been!

Overall impressions…

What a difference a year makes. CEDIA Expo 2012 was a quiet event filled with tentative explorations and very few new products. This year, there was an upbeat spirit in the air and a much more crowded hall. There was hustle, bustle and glitz everywhere, and the whole show seemed to sparkle a bit, and not just because of the LED lighting that was everywhere. It was just a more exciting place to be.

2.0? What 2.0?

HDBaseT 2.0 and HDMI 2.0 products were no-shows this year, except in prototypes that were shown in their own booths. It looks like manufacturers just didn’t have the time to get those standards into their products quite yet.

If there were two words to sum up this year’s show they would have to be “home automation.” Crestron and Lutron, the twin giants of the high-end home world, were both there with new products and enthusiastic staffs. The real winner of the show was Control 4, though. Control 4’s open standard for home automation is growing by leaps and bounds, and showgoers were surprised by twin announcements today: both DISH and thermostat maker Nest have announced Control 4 compatibility for their products. Our patented blurrycam technology caught a Nest demo in progress, with the thermostat being controlled by the Control 4 app.

On the other hand, the award for loser of the show goes to Logitech. The company has struggled for years and has never known quite what to do with its Harmony products. This year, they exhibited at CEDIA in a sparse (and sparsely noticed) 10×10 booth that showed a minimal amount of effort. They would have been better off not doing anything.

Also spied…

DISH had a very large booth in the center of the hall and it’s clear that they are in the high-end home market for real. They had several exciting products to show, and we’ll give you a full booth tour tomorrow.

Our friends at Winegard showed their line of small antennas along with a prototype auto-aiming HD dish for DISH customers.

Cabletronix showed a new HDBaseT transmitter/receiver combination that looks promising, along with modulators and other products for the more industrial market.

TiVo’s booth was about a quarter of the size of last year’s effort but the smaller size really added excitement. Of course the Roamio DVRs were there for a coming out party … we’ll take a booth tour tomorrow.

Sony’s booth, while large and full of equipment, seemed a bit stale, since it looked just like last year’s booth. They showed a prototype curved LED TV that didn’t really pique anyone’s interest, and a lot of 4K content that had been seen before.

Tune in next time for…

Tomorrow is day 2 of the show and we’re hoping to bring you full coverage of Darbee’s new products, DISH and TiVo booth tours, and a behind-the-scenes look at the Antennas Direct party bus, parked just outside the show. We’ll post those reviews as soon as we have them!