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CEDIA Expo Retro

As CEDIA Expo opens this morning you get the feeling that this is like the Expos of a decade or more ago. What I mean by that is that the product introductions are focusing on audio and installation.

However more than a decade ago security systems, home lighting and automation and other home networking systems either didn’t exist or were not digital.

But what has happened is that it has been little more than a year since broadcast TV became digital in the U.S.  Fewer TVs of any type – 2D or 3D – are being introduced here than any CEDIA Expo in the past decade. This show, for a few years, was the “HDTV Trial Balloon Show.” New suppliers, new screen sizes, new formats were all the rage. Manufacturers flocked here to showcase technologies that might not be for everyone, but they wanted to know if they had followers in the custom market. If they did they would introduce lower-priced versions for the rest of us.

This year TV makers have already introduced much of their 2010 lines prior to CEDIA Expo, especially their 3D TV offerings.

This show, two years after the beginning of the deepest recession since the Great Depression, whose effects are still being felt, has come to a crossroads. Even upscale consumers who don’t fear for their jobs and have more cash to spend on A/V than the average Joe or Jane are now more careful than ever as to how they spend on home entertainment.

Custom installers and suppliers are here to come up with products and business models to entice upscale consumers to buy upscale A/V systems – or home networking systems of various types – that provide their businesses with adaquate profit and consumers with perceived value.

We’ll see in upcoming weeks and months if the strategies proposed here are embraced by consumers.