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Expo Expectations: A/V, Networks, And More

Distributed-A/V products, home networking and products that centralize control of all home subsystems will get their fair share of attention during the CEDIA Expo.

Microsoft and the Home Phoneline Networking Alliance (HPNA) will exhibit home-networking solutions, and Elan and IntelliNet will show new products that build bridges between distributed-A/V systems and other home subsystems.

Custom suppliers will also expand their selections to position themselves as full-line custom suppliers. SpeakerCraft, for example, will show its first in-wall touchscreens and a line of IR receivers and repeaters.

For their part, A/V suppliers will unveil a variety of new products, including products intended to broaden the customer base for distributed-audio systems. These products will include a smattering of two-zone and multizone stereo receivers. Rotel and two other companies will join B&K in this market.

More companies, including NAD, will also enter the market for multichannel distributed-audio amps.

Other A/V introductions include:

  • Lucasfilm will unveil revised THX Ultra specifications for electronics and speakers.
  • More companies will adopt Lucasfilm-licensed THX EX decoding, with NAD and Parasound showing their first EX processors.
  • More receivers and processors will be equipped with licensed THX EX and DTS ES decoders. Suppliers will also expand the selection of receivers compatible with 6.1-channel DVD-Video soundtracks.
  • The first receiver incorporating the new backward-compatible DTS 96/24 format for 5.1-channel DVD-Video soundtracks will be displayed.
  • More new DVD-Audio/Video players, including the first from Parasound and the first DVD-AV changer from Denon, will be exhibited.
  • More DVD-Audio/Video players will feature built-in bass management, and at least one new receiver with DVD-Audio bass management, a Sherwood model, will be shown.
  • Marantz and Sharp will show their first multichannel-SACD players, and Philips will display new models. The models from all three companies will also play DVD-Video discs.
  • A greater selection of receivers equipped with licensed DTS ES Discrete and Matrix decoders will be shown, some priced down to a suggested $599 with compatibility with Dolby Digital Surround EX soundtracks. (Marketers have begun to call such compatibility Dolby Digital 6.1 Matrix decoding.) Six-channel receivers compatible with 6.1-channel Dolby EX and DTS ES matrix soundtracks will be available down to $499 MAP from Pioneer.
  • More single speakers with stereo inputs will be introduced to deliver stereo in cramped places or in hallways.