I had a great time attending CEDIA this year. The pacing of it was very relaxed and the show floor wasn’t that crowded. In fact, most of the manufacturers were pretty calm about things and they simply showed off their latest iterations of products that raised the bar on quality or lowered the price to the consumer through efficiencies and cost savings in the manufacturing process.
Blu-ray, having been the declared winner of the format war that was still right in the middle of its battle during CES didn’t have an elaborate booth to show off BD-Live or Bonus view with and there was merely a section of the Sony booth displaying a few informational placards here and there. Blu-ray was the defacto standard at the show for displaying high detail content though as many booths used a Playstation 3 or some stand alone player to show off their displays or screens. I was a bit amused during a press conference when Sony announced a 400 disc mega changer in the works. Certainly the price of Blu-ray media will have to come down a ways before a product like that will become attractive. In fact, some manufacturers such as Toshiba weren’t ready to buy in to Blu-ray just yet as they thought that it represented only a small piece of the pie and other forms of receiving content such as via high speed downloads would compete for just as much attention in the near future.
There were a lot of other cool products to see at the show though but not many of them were heading into new frontier. Most of the manufacturers were releasing products that kept up with the latest technologies such as the latest lossless sound codecs or the latest trends such as in-wall speakers or subs. There were a few exceptions to this such as Mitsubishi’s booth which had a demonstration of their 3d technology present in their DLP displays. I found it to be very novel while playing video games to see the hero character virtually hover in front of me as he hacked and slashed away at the three dimensional ghouies that seemed to float in mid air. During movies though, my eyes would often lose focus while looking through the specialized 3d glasses and it often became a strain to continue watching not to mention that I often became distracted with annoying characters that I wanted to reach out and squash. Still, it’s something new and different and Mits gets the kudos for that. Dolby and Audysssey also definitely get the thumbs up for their dynamic volume technologies that give regular listening levels that much more punch without disturbing the other residents of our domains. At least half of my listening is done way below reference levels and these features are a welcome addition as they also handle abrupt changes in volumes between source material such as a broadcast movie and a noisy used car commercial.
Alas, the most enjoyable aspect of this CEDIA for myself was corresponding with all of the people who make up this industry. Whether it be the awesome group from Paradigm who always push the envelope in quality and features, Ron Stimpson from SVS who is passionate about getting consumers great products at great prices, Jason Liao from Oppo who is determined to deliver the best player to value ratio, or all the others who I am failing to mention, these are great people who love this stuff and continue to bring it to market year after year.