As members of the traditional print media, AV bloggers, and custom electronics enthusiasts gather information for their CEDIA Expo — now renamed CEDIA Future Home Experience — wrap-ups, it’s interesting to watch the trends that are developing.

No doubt, video made a huge impact at the show, with high-quality, 4K projection systems taking center stage. Professionally installed home automation looks to be getting easier and more affordable, putting even more power in the hands of consumers without eliminating the importance of the custom integrator. There was a lot of talk of recurring revenue and streamlining business processes for custom integrators and many suggestions on the best ways to do it. These trends are inextricably linked – as integrators make less money in service calls for programming high-end control systems, remote networking management and monitoring is a great way to increase profits through recurring monthly revenue. Audio was not forgotten, as new high-end speakers turned heads and perked audiophiles’ ears.

KMB Communications was proud to see our clients playing key roles in many of these trends. Please read on to see the KMB Communications list of CEDIA highlights.

Stewart Filmscreen
The Stewart Filmscreen buzz started even before we touched down in Dallas, with a red-hot sizzle reel that got movie lovers’ hearts pounding with a solid soundtrack in the Hollywood tradition and amazing visuals. The LuminEsse “edgeless” rigid front projection screen system continued to garner positive attention, as did the Ambient Light Rejecting screens – notably, the Firehawk G40, which has been offering low-gain options that minimize reflections and deliver impeccable image fidelity that doesn’t drop off at the edges for more than 10 years.

In fact, many of the products in the Stewart Filmscreen booth, including masking systems like Director’s Choice, Iten, and Cinecurve, have a long legacy of excellence and CEDIA attendees ate this up. Who wouldn’t want to spec the same screen used in director Michael Bay’s private cinema?

In terms of new product introductions, the company’s Tela 80 woven acoustically transparent screen material joined Stewart Filmscreen’s industry standard MicroPerf to provide even more options for discerning consumers. The screen is already winning the hearts of audiophiles and other discriminating end-users, as it appeared in the James Loudspeaker booth and is an option in Quantum Media Systems’ Private Cinema Packages and was showcased in the company’s demo.

Quantum Media Systems
If CEDIA Future Home Experience had a “sleeper hit,” we’d say it was Quantum Media Systems. The company’s Private Cinema Package prototype was previewed in the Stewart Filmscreen booth at last year’s CEDIA event.

This year, the company had its own booth and a fully rolled-out solution, now shipping, with an acoustically transparent Stewart Filmscreen 4K+ Tela 80 woven screen, and a first-of-its-kind Commercial Grade Digital Cinema 4K RGB Laser Projector from NEC that uses true DCP technology to deliver newly released and recently released movies that are of the same quality as Commercial Theaters.

Available at three price points, the Private Cinema Packages offer ease-of-installation for custom integrators, along with custom calibration and unmatched service from Quantum Media Systems technicians. While the system is priced lower than commercial systems of the same quality, it’s designed for the high-end market. As AVS Forum Editor Scott Wilkinson says in this video, “If you can afford it, you want it.”

Grimani Systems
The dedicated home theater was alive and well at CEDIA Expo 2015 (now CEDIA Future Home Experience) and, with it, loudspeaker systems that exceeded expectations and up-leveled the definition of immersive audio. Writer Brent Butterworth kicked off the positive praise for Grimani Systems’ new CinemaOne Ensemble, a fully networked, high-performance audio system for private theaters, in his CEDIA wrap-up on the Soundstage! Global website. “[E]verything about Grimani’s new system astonished me, from the configuration to the design details to, most important, the sound quality,” writes Butterworth.

Mentioning the broader, more consistent dispersion that turns every seat in the room into “the sweet spot,” with a solid center image, Butterworth pointed out, “[T]here are many pricier systems out there that can’t do what this one does.”

Grimani Systems makes it easy for installers to spec and integrate the CinemaOne Ensemble, offering expert system design, tuning and support for every system.

Torus Power
Torus Power had, dare we say, one of their most successful trade shows ever, with the introduction of a long-awaited new toroidal isolation transformer with automatic voltage regulation in a smaller footprint and a lower price point, the TOT AVR. Combining the best of the affordable TOT series and popular AVR series, the unit received industry praise and a well-deserved CE Pro BEST Award.

You’d think this would be enough to cast Torus Power in any CEDIA Expo highlight reel, but the company from Canada also brought an outstanding experience to the show floor for everyone to enjoy, with a concert demo by acoustic bass virtuoso Dean Peer and percussionist Bret Mann.

Inspired by writer Bob Archer’s comparison demo, where he recorded guitar chords through an AVR2 power transformer and then without it, to demonstrate the low noise floor and clean sound, Torus Power invited Peer and Mann to play a set live through an AVR unit. Hearing was believing for CEDIA attendees and we’d like to believe a number of audiophiles and the trade press left the booth with a new appreciation for the benefits of power isolation products.

With previews of its new SI 2016 software, D-Tools showed off upcoming features that include integration with SupplyStream and SpringDeck, enhanced integration with QuickBooks Online to easily send estimates and proposals, and a new Proposal Wizard for faster, more professional bids.

Even with all the amazing goodness on the horizon, we’re happy to say that the trade media recognized SI 2015 as a great advancement in operational software for custom integrators. The software took home three awards, and training sessions were well-attended.

Finally, much of the buzz at the D-Tools booth focused on the appointment of Randy Stearns as CEO. Randy brings his extensive experience as president and founder of leading residential integration firm Engineered Environments to the company, along with his enthusiasm for the System Integrator solution. If CEDIA Expo 2015, Stearns first show as D-Tools CEO, is any indication, more amazing things are on the horizon for the company.

There were so many highlights for our client, Ihiji, it’s hard to list them all. On the heels of new office space in downtown Austin, a new website, and even stronger, more solid branding, Ihiji rocked CEDIA Expo with a brand new booth, the introduction of ServiceManager software, and many packed-house training sessions. Recurring monthly revenue, as we noted, was a hot topic at the show, and with the addition of ServiceManager Software-as-a-Service to the Ihiji offerings, it’s easy than ever for integrators to implement tiered service plans to increase profits while simplifying operations.

Ihiji shares all their show highlights in this awesome CEDIA Expo Recap Video and a mesmerizing timelapse video of the new booth build.

Read More Across the Web
Did you miss any of these manufacturers on the show floor? Not to worry. Check out top industry publications like CE Pro, Residential Systems, DealerScope, Hidden Wires, and websites like Projector Central, rAVe, AV Nation, and so many more. This is, of course, by no means a complete list of the CEDIA coverage our clients have garnered, and we thank ALL the trade media for their perpetual support and ongoing interest.