Christie Announces Move into Home Entertainment Market at CEDIA 2014

Large Displays, Projection – As a first time exhibitor at CEDIA Expo 2014 Christie Digital Systems announced its intent to enter the home entertainment market with its line of audio and display products. Christie is well known for the firm’s background in digital cinema as well as large and small venue display applications. The firm now intends to address the home entertainment market by expanding its expertise and scaling that expertise to fit the home environment.

To this end, Christie has hired George Walter the former VP of Home Cinema at Digital Projection, to serve as Director of Home Entertainment at Christie. In a company press release, George Walter is quoted as stating, “Now the Christie cinema experience you’ve enjoyed at your local theater is available in the comfort and convenience of your home. Working with an elite dealer system, Christie will orchestrate the delivery, installation and servicing of a wide-range of projectors, flat panel displays, processors and audio solutions to strengthen and complement the services of these high-end integrators”. The press release also notes that Christie home entertainment customers can also connect with the Christie Network Operations Center (NOC) to monitor their systems and components, receive software updates, and have access to 24/7 concierge support. Given Christie’s expertise and prior experience selling cinema quality theater equipment, it is clear that Christie will be viewed as a supplier to the high end of the home theater market.

At CEDIA Expo 2014, I visited the Christie booth, and enjoyed their demo theater presentation that included a range of UltraHD video selections and an UltraHD screening of clips from Angelina Jolie’s upcoming feature film Unbroken. I also spoke with Christie’s new Director of Home Entertainment George Walter. In speaking with George I asked about Christie’s market entry, upcoming product offerings and future plans for the home entertainment marketplace.

George related that Christie has had a limited number of “home theater” customers for some time. He said that these customers were not general consumers, but some were folks from the consumer electronics industry. George also described other Christie home theater customers who were involved with the film business and related industries. In some cases these customers became aware of Christie’s theater equipment and installations through involvement with post production activities and the like. Apparently, Christie has been willing to serve some of these high end clients and in doing so developed capabilities and an interest in further serving the home entertainment market.

I asked George if they were offering at CEDIA Expo 2014 new products designed specifically for the home entertainment market. His response indicated that Christie would initially offer a selection of equipment from their current product line that was appropriate to the home market suggesting that as their approach to the home market evolves so would their offerings. He did not rule out developing products specifically for the home market. For a company like Christie, having 85 years of experience and holding a highly regarded profile in the cinema and visual display markets, the firm’s move into the home entertainment market marks an interesting turn and one which we will be watching as Christie pursues the broader market for its products and services. – Phil Wright