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Top 5 Most Interesting Trends at CEDIA 2010 Print E-mail
Tuesday, 28 September 2010
Article Index
Top 5 Most Interesting Trends at CEDIA 2010
Apples Influence, Economy and Innovation

Apple’s Influence on the High-End CE Market

Similar to 3D, the iPad was hard to escape when traveling from booth to booth.  Nearly every audio company and home automation company was showing off native iPad applications or how the iPad integrated into their audio systems.  There were single devices with multiple iPod / iPhone docks for shuffling between two people’s music collections.  

Ipad Pioneer system

Taking the Apple influence a step further and making it their own, the folks at Control4 were stressing the accessibility of their own app store, 4Store (previously shown off at CES 2010).  The 4Store is open to third party developers and they can submit apps for approval by Control4, thus allowing the ability to sell their applications to Control4 consumers.  Similar to Apple’s model, they use a revenue split so both the host and the creator are making money of the sales of the applications.  There were a couple third parties on display, specifically for locking doors remotely as well as tracking utilities.  These applications are ideal for keeping track of who is coming and going from the house as well as bringing the cost of your utility bill down by regulating when devices are turned on and off.

ML SpeakerVenturing Down the Economic Ladder

It’s clear that the current state of the U.S. economy is taking its toll on higher end companies.  You can just look at the overall decreased amount of product announcements at CEDIA 2010 as an example of the slower pace.  That being said, there were companies releasing products on the less expensive end.  MartinLogin is the perfect example of this trend, just look at the $2000 (pair) ESL speakers they announced .  The speakers are in a familiar design to the rest of their line, but use a matte black plastic housing at the base of the speaker rather than wood.  I got a chance to listen to these new units in their listening room and the quality of the sound is pretty amazing for the price point.  Digital Projection, among many other companies, was following in kind with their first sub $10K projector being announced.  

Glimpses of Innovation

There wasn’t a tremendous amount of innovative products shown off at CEDIA this year beyond the inevitable foray into 3D for nearly all video involved companies, but two booths come to mind.  The first was at the Harman booth; specifically their work in transferring a technology that was built for the car audio space into the home theater space.  The result was a thin digital amplifier from Lexicon that couldn’t have weighed more than 10 pounds and retailed for about a grand.  The change in size was due to a small chip developed for the yellow Lexus LFA car on display at the show.  The chip, seen to the right, was no larger than the size of a small button.  Watching companies develop smaller, more compact technologies for the home theater space is definitely impressive for consumers that are ultimately looking for a sleeker design on their high-end components.

Harmon Chip

The other innovative product that I spotted was at Digital Projection’s booth, a projector designed for the limited space of the stereotypical “New York” sized apartment.  There’s a vague 10K price range assigned to the unit and there’s no name yet.  The projector is designed to be mounted either above or below the projector screen, about a foot away from the screen.  It could hypothetically sit on the same rack that holds your home theater components, right below the screen.  It bounced the image off a thick lens mounted on the front of the unit.  It was projecting about a 90” image on the screen in the booth and the quality was surprisingly excellent, despite the heavy lighting around the convention center.  

In the End

CEDIA seemed more low-key than in past years, specifically less innovation with product design and more conformity into the CE industry’s hasty launch into 3D hardware.  Frankly, I’m surprised that the industry thinks that the CE consumer, even the affluent high-end folks, are going to adopt the 3D format when it’s still being perfected for the home theater space and high-definition still isn’t fully adopted.  The limited amount of content makes the situation even worse, thus it’s curious why everyone is desperate to jump on the 3D bandwagon.

Overall, CEDIA 2010 was a nice look at some of the products announced over 2010, but there wasn’t an overflow of new products flooding the show floor.  It will be interesting to watch the progression of the industry leading up to next year’s CES (a little over 3 months away) as well as CEDIA 2011 (which is moving to Indianapolis).

What was the most interesting announcement that you heard out of CEDIA 2010?

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