Nov 1, 2005 12:00 PM,
By Mark Johnson
Whole-house control dominates CEDIA EXPO 2005.
In a word, yikes! That about sums up the 2005 CEDIA EXPO. The show has outgrown its home at the Indy convention center/RCA Dome. Exhibitors' booths were set up in every conceivable location, with overflow into the Marriott across the street and some manufacturers setting up shop at other surrounding hotels. Since booths were everywhere, navigating the show was confusing at times (and the map in the show guide was a challenge for my 51-year-old eyes). But in three days I was able to traverse all of the exhibit areas. Next year the show will be held in Denver. All under one roof with exhibitors grouped by category would be my vote.
Each year, CEDIA recognizes the best in the industry at its annual Electronic Lifestyles awards banquet. This year, Billilynne Keller, executive director of CEDIA, was presented with the Lifetime Achievement award. And dealers, installers, manufacturers' reps, and manufacturers were all recognized for their contributions to the industry. Installations were acknowledged as well, with awards going to individual installs that ranged in value from less than $60,000 to more than $3 million.
So what about the show? CEDIA this year was all about whole-house control. Many of the new product offerings were control systems or devices. In fact, at the banquet for the 2005 Electronic Lifestyles awards, held at the Indiana Roof Ballroom, three of the five products that received the Manufacturers' Excellence Awards for best new product were control products. The control winners were AMX Amenities Solution from AMX, the Control4 Composer from Control4, and the iHome Multi-Center from Audio Design Associates. The Runco CineWide with AutoScope and BTX EZ-9 were the other winners in the best new product category. This year's Electronic Lifestyles Manufacturers' Excellence Awards for best new product, sponsored by Sound & Video Contractor, included products priced from $32 up to $80,000. The products chosen ranged from sophisticated and high-tech in design and manufacture to ingenious in their simple design and efficient application.
The high roller at $80,000, AMX's Amenities Solution is a service with accompanying hardware and software designed for large-scale implementation in multi-unit dwellings (for example, in high-rise residential buildings or condo complexes). The solution provides for the selection of personalized concierge services, activity scheduling, maintenance requests, and local information from a menu on AMX touchpanels installed in the individual residential units.
The Control4 Composer is a software package that allows users to design (remotely or onsite) and monitor Control4 home automation systems. The system features templates for common automated functions like lighting scenes or scheduling of automation, customizable sequencing, and drag-and-drop device icons.
The iHome Multi-Center is a three-function entertainment server, a two-zone music server, a Microsoft Media Center PC with an HDTV video card, and an IP-based system server for control of an Audio Design Associates entertainment system. The iHome Multi-Center also features a hot-swappable onboard backup drive.
Runco's CineWide with AutoScope uses a combination of software, electronics, and motorized anamorphic optics to provide CinemaScope widescreen reproduction of movies that were originally filmed in the 2.35:1 format. This provides the ability to display the image over the total area of a wide screen, eliminating the upper and lower horizontal black masking bars.
The EZ-9 (CD-DB9MEZ and CD-DB9FEZ) connectors from BTX represent the low end of the retail price scale, but are perhaps some of the most valuable pieces of equipment listed here because they help make the installation process more efficient. The EZ-9 uses a terminal block that eliminates the need to solder D-Sub nine-pin connectors. It fits in a standard D-Sub hood.
Technology, utility, and support were primary factors that show attendees considered while casting their votes for this year's recipients.
Genelec showed two surround systems, the first designed for any surround sound environment measuring up to 2,500 cubic feet and the second system is designed for environments up to 4,000 cubic feet.
The first system comprises five Genelec HT205 two-way, bi-amplified active monitors, and one Genelec HTS3B Active Home Theater subwoofer. The HTS3B integrates a 200W amplifier and features a frequency response of 18Hz to 120Hz, and a maximum SPL of 114dB. The HT205 features a 5in. woofer and a 3/4in. tweeter loaded with Genelec