CEDIA EXPO 2006: The Buzz Wasn’t the Products
Clearly, my mantra of “reliability, reliability, reliability” and cookie-cutter designs was not working when HDMI was injected into the video signal stream.
To further support my impressions and to get another point of view, I lucked out on the last day of the show. I shared a cab to the airport with someone from one of the larger custom retailers. We discussed his views of the show, and he articulated many of the attitudes and observations that I’d obtained.
He thought Denver was terrific—numerous restaurants without long waits, easy access from the hotels to the exhibits. He thought it was great having almost all of the exhibits on the one floor of the convention center, although he felt sorry for the vendors on the lower level, as they weren’t very visible to the attendees. My observer thought the floor was a bit confusing, with many aisles that didn’t run the length of the hall and many poorly marked locations. There was no grid.
He found the education and manufacturers’ seminars well done. He was so impressed with the quality of knowledge being disseminated that he committed to attending more of these seminars next year.
We talked about specific products and technologies. Many vendors addressed the integration of digital media and home theater, but we felt there was no real or good solution. The presence of the large technology companies clearly shows they believe in the custom business, but for now, they’re working with existing platforms such as Media Center; it’s not a real integration of media distribution and systems. We’ll probably have to walk before we run before we get end users involved with media distribution.
We then discussed user interfaces—a hot topic throughout the show. Almost all vendors still don’t quite get it. It’s truly amazing that we still struggle in this area, since customers do talk with vendors. We’re probably still at the stage where vendors are competing with each other on feature and button count, rather than giving the user a simple, easy-to-use device. Where’s the iPod of the remote control world?