CEDIA Expo 2014 Overview

Large Displays, Projection – The 2014 edition of CEDIA Expo held September 10-13 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver CO, USA was a good example of the manner in which consumer electronics products and systems are evolving in new and sophisticated ways. CEDIA, the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association, is focused on the industry that manufactures, designs, and integrates goods and services for the connected home including audio, video, control, networking and lighting products. Also in evidence at CEDIA Expo 2014 were exhibitors offering ancillary products for the home theater market which included seating, furnishings, carpeting, decorative items, as well as displays and speakers for outdoor applications.

I note that as compared to prior CEDIA Expos I have attended, there was an increased emphasis and level of sophistication on networking, control and system integration. Prior CEDIA trends including the use of tablets and smartphones for home theater and networked home control were still much in evidence. However, the trend toward sophisticated system integration was exemplified by manufacturers like Sony whose booth and home theater demo highlighted the firm’s approach to delivering a complete solution from a single vendor for video, audio, internet protocol (IP) control, as well as content availability and distribution. Another trend for Sony and other LCD, OLED and projection display providers to the home theater market was 4K or Ultra High Definition (UHD) displays and content.

While Samsung did not exhibit at the show, LG Electronics exhibited a wide range of high end displays at CEDIA Expo 2014. For example, LG exhibited their model 105UC9 105″ 21:9 aspect ratio UHD TV (5120 x 2160p pixels) with an IPS LCD panel incorporating a direct LED backlight. This curved screen television was first shown by LG at CES 2014 and also incorporates a 7.2 channel 150W audio system by Harman Kardon. LG also exhibited their model 77EG9700 77″ curved OLED UHD TV (3840×2160 pixels) which utilizes LG’s WRGB pixel architecture. Attracting as much or even more attention at the rear of LG’s CEDIA Expo booth was a range (40-98″) of flat screen IPS panel LCD UHD televisions culminating in the model 98UB9800 98″ set. With its wide range of great looking high end OLED and LCD televisions, LG’s booth set the standard for direct view home theater displays at CEDIA Expo 2014.

On the projection display front, CEDIA Expo 2014 included new product announcements from Digital Projection and a new market entry by Christie. Digital Projection announced two new 4K projectors for the “elite home entertainment” market, one each with laser and LED illumination. The 12000 lumen Insight 4K laser projector was on display in the front of the Digital Projection booth while I viewed the 2000 lumen LED-illuminated Insight 4K projector in the firm’s demo projection theater with a low lighting level. The outstanding feature of the UltraHD LED projector is that the color gamut of this LED illuminated projector very nearly matches the full ITU Rec 2020 color space.

First time CEDIA Expo exhibitor Christie took advantage of the 2014 event to announce the firm’s entry into the high end home theater market. I met with Christie’s new Director of Home Entertainment George Walter in the Christie booth and will report on more details of our discussion in a following article. Interestingly, George Walter joins Christie from Digital Projection where he previously served as Vice President of Home Cinema. Given Christie’s experience in the digital cinema market and the excellent CEDIA Expo 2014 demo theater in Christie’s booth, I expect that the firm will have a considerable impact on the very high end home theater market as the company proceeds to develop new product offerings for these discerning consumers. The 2014 edition was a step beyond my prior CEDIA Expo experiences and I will expand on this Expo overview and provide additional coverage of these and other topics in my subsequent articles. – Phil Wright