CEDIA 2016 was another "evolutionary year" in the residential and business AV technology markets. While there were many new home theater, house music, automation and network products announced or released, many of them were improvements on already existing technology. Even so, we were happy to make the trip to Dallas this year for the training opportunities and to ensure that Mozaic stays up to date on all of the latest technology available as well as to discover new products that fit our vision and design philosophy to keep technology beautifully simple. We came away excited with fresh ideas to bring to our clients all over the Huntsville, Madison and North Alabama areas!
Here are the biggest take aways from CEDIA 2016
- 4K is everywhere but not quite ready for primetime...yet.
JVC finally got into the "true 4K" projector market with their new BLU-Escent phosphor projector (at $35,000 no less) and Epson continued down the pixel shift path with their impressive laser projectors and newly announced and very cost effective pixel shifting 5040 and 6040 models.
Sony, meanwhile continues to lead the market with true 4K projectors offering HDR support stating at under $10,000. Sony hosted a projector shootout with some of the competitor projectors from Epson and JVC and while I am sure the units were skewed in Sonys favor, it is none the less still apparent that seeing true 4K content on a true 4K projector does make a difference. Still, I remain impressed with the capabilities of JVC and Epson at upscaling 1080p material and how well they handle 4K on their own merits.
The biggest issue is still content. Sony addressed this with a new 4K BluRay Player that will be available exclusively to the custom AV market. However the show was largely quiet on the content front. We are still limited to viewing compressed 4K content through digital delivery platforms such as Netflix and Sony's Ultra service while DirecTV, Dish Network and Comcast are still "ironing out the details and delivery methods" they will be using for 4K content.
I stand by my assessment that true 4K content with HDR is still the biggest leap in image quality since the jump to HD from standard def content but until there is more content available for people to take advantage of what their display can really deliver, 4K will not move the market forward.
-Alexa is everywhere!
Nearly everyone showed some type of Alexa or voice control integration. From industry stalwarts such as Control4 and Crestron to specialized products such as Sonos, Alexa was everywhere. I think this transition is a good thing for the market and for taking the idea of smart home technology to the mass market. While we strive every day to make our user experiences as simple as possible and we continue our focus to deliver user interfaces that are as intuitive as possible, when you experience properly done voice control, the idea of pressing buttons to turn on lights etc can seem archaic.
We are closely watching the development of voice control in our industry and will be "responsibly" rolling it out to our clients in a very measured degree over the coming year.
-Distributed Audio Systems are better sounding than ever!
Mozaic Audio Video Partner, Sonance, was first to market with DSP amplifiers for house music systems a few years back and other manufacturers have followed suit. The benefit here is that house music and distributed office and commercial audio installations now have more tools than ever before to make sure the audio system sounds its best in different environments.
Sonance continues to lead the pack with products such as the Discrete Opening System which uses the design of more in obtrusive, smaller footprint in-ceiling speakers spread over an area and complemented by an in wall or in ceiling subwoofer. The sound benefits versus using one pair of larger in ceiling speakers is remarkable as is the improved aesthetic allowing these smaller speakers to easily match up with smaller can lighting.
We look forward to using the knowledge we gained at CEDIA 2016 to continue the Mozaic mission of making Audio Video systems in Huntsville, Madison and across the Tennessee Valley area - Beautifully Simple!