Custom Comes Of Age At CEDIA Expo

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By Joseph Palenchar and Greg Tarr

The custom channel is commanding plenty of attention from suppliers, dealers and consumers, if CEDIA's 10th annual Expo, is any indication.

Expo attendance rose more than 25% to about 12,700 for the four-day event staged this year in Indianapolis; and the channel itself could be expanding at a similar rate, according to the results of a survey released at the show. The survey found that 91% of polled CEDIA installers expect their revenue to grow by an average of 30% during the next year, matching the result of last year's survey.

Acknowledging the channel's growing prominence, at least three companies -- Onkyo, Harman International and Thiel -- signaled their intention to target the channel more aggressively, and many of the 338 exhibitors (up from last year's 320) used the show to unveil new products or diversify into new categories

While that long sought marriage of audio and video never really took place in the analog world, the show demonstrated that in digital the romance is at least past the engagement stage. A host of digital video products were in the CEDIA spotlight, including a number of new digital High Definition and HD-ready color TVs and an unexpectedly broad array of DVD players with progressive scan output.

For details on new custom install audio products, distributed-AV systems, and home-control systems on display at CEDIA, see our Audio report. For a video product rundown, see our Video report.

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