Here is a list of the 8 things I learned at the CEDIA trade show, held September 13th – 17th, 2006 in Denver, Colorado.
- HD DVD and Blu-ray are still in a holding pattern.
A few second generation players were announced, but the manufacturers that don’t have a stake in the outcome are still waiting to figure out which format to support.
- Standard DVDs can look for very good with the right components/displays.
I was suprised by the number of regular DVD demos. Also, improved scaling/up-conversion technology has proven that regular DVDs can look very close to HD DVD and Blu-ray — even on large displays
- In-wall and in-ceiling speakers were everywhere.
Choosing in-walls can be mind boggling, since no two installations will ever sound the same. Of the demos I observed, Polk Audio’s THX Ultra2 Certified In-ceiling speaker surround demo was impressive, as well as Joseph Audio’s in-walls.
- Great video is not just about resolution.
Joe Kane provided the most informative presentation of CEDIA about video standards, encoding, and calibration. He proved just how good 720p can look on a 9 foot screen, with a properly calibrated Samsung SP-H710AE single chip DLP projector that he designed for Samsung (MSRP: $4,000). In addition he showed the deficiencies and improvements with the varying encoding standards (MPEG-2, WMV, and VC-1).
- Windows Media Center components were scarce.
Only a handful of companies showed media center components. Integra Research showed a $3,000 media center component, and Niveus continues to offer high-end media PCs.
- 1080p is really not here yet.
Despite the number of TVs capable of 1080p resolution, there were very few true 1080p demos shown. There is still very little 1080p content available to the consumer, and many hardware manufacturers are undecided about which HD disc format to support. Plus all High-Def TV, cable or satellite broadcasts are either 720p or 1080i.
- DLP dominates the Rear and Front Projection TV markets.
Texas Instruments’ improved DLP technology was widespread among projection TV units. Sony (SXRD) and JVC (HD-ILA) are both using LCoS technology, and Epson is using 3LCD, but it seemed everyone else was using DLP for home theater.
- HDMI is here to stay.
Finally, there is a single cable solution for high-resolution A/V connectivity. Just about every new TV, audio or video component had HDMI inputs or outputs.