CEDIA EXPO 2005
Thoughts, vibes, trends and a farewell to Indianapolis
By Joe Paone
CEDIA EXPO 2005, the 16th annual installment, drew over 26,000 attendees, a new record and up more than 1,000 from last year. There were over 500 exhibitors.
The overwhelming theme of the show was a realization in the CEDIA community, among both dealers and manufacturers, that audio and video quality are taking a back seat to issues such as the portability and availability of content and how products fit into a room's overall décor.
Some would say this was a long time coming, as even just last year, scoffing at the iPod was commonplace at CEDIA EXPO. But it's completely understandable, because not only are so many people working in the CEDIA channel themselves hardcore A/V enthusiasts from back in the day, but old selling habits die hard. After so many years of serving hobbyists—audiophiles and videophiles, some with tastes so finicky as to make
The Simpsons' Comic Book Guy look reasonable and well-balanced—the CEDIA channel is finally recognizing that John and Jane Q. Public want HDTV, love the iPod and are intrigued by the digital entertainment universe in general. These people are more interested, for now, in the portability and ubiquitous availability of audio and video content (they love their iPods, even though the sound quality would make a vinyl connoisseur gag), and in interior design issues (they love those sleek flat panels, even the ones with the jaggies and the poor stretching and the lousy response rates). These are the people that flinched on sight when they saw the old big, boxy CRT rear-projection sets, who didn't see the point in high-end audio. Now they have iPods and DVRs and satellite radio, are looking at flat panels, and are intrigued about tying everything together.
In other words, these are great days for the CEDIA channel. They're just different days, and CEDIA 2005 showed that the channel is comprehending the changes and adapting very nicely. The market still needs CEDIA dealers to help them keep up with the rapid pace of technological development and especially to properly install and integrate all of these wonderful new products, which have limitless possibilities. It's up to each individual C-tailer and integrator to accept and assimilate these market shifts and communicate their value as the consumer's digital lifestyle partner to the marketplace.