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John Sciacca Writes...

Features, Reviews and a Blog by John Sciacca

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Random Thoughts (Blog)

CEDIA 2011: It has begun!

Posted on September 7, 2011 at 8:00 PM

For the next few days, I'm going to be in Indianapolis, Indiana site of this year's CEDIA (Custom Electronics Design & Installation Association) Expo. I'm excited because this is really one of my most favorite-est trade shows to attend; it is bigger than the regional-esque feeling EHX (or EH Expo; I can't remember how they phrase it) which you can walk easily in a few hours. A few hours that includes stopping to have several lengthy chats with whomever strikes your fancy or get into deep and meaningful conversations about cable bandwidths and the dangers of not using proper power conditioning. And yet EHX is still much smaller and more manageable than the ungainly CES. CEDIA basically attracts somewhere between 20-25% of the people from CES (if you're to believe the CES attendance figures...) and boils that show down to all of the essential items that I am actually interested in. No giant halls filled with car stereos, no walkways with cellphones batteries and cases and other plastic crud and crap that looks like it is destined to end up at some weekend swap meet at an abandoned drive-in theater, no computers and all of their peripheral networking, storage and other miscellany. CEDIA is all about things that are near and dear to my A/V loving heart: surround sound, automation, distributed audio, TVs, speakers, remote controls, etc. The only thing that would really make this show better would be if they moved it back to Denver. Everyone seemed to like Denver -- with its clean streets and sweet mountain air and ease of getting around downtown -- so I'm not sure why the CEDIA higher-ups had to punish us with two years in Atlanta. Since CEDIA's HQ is actually IN Indy, it doesn't take too many guesses to figure out why it is back here for the next two shows. (Then, thank you, sweet Jesus! back to Denver for two, glorious, mountain-air, downtown Rockies stadium filled years!)


But, I'm here, and I'm pretty stoked to get my CEDIA on. Perennial "nice guy," Jeremy G, stepped the niceness meter up to an entirely new level by extending me an invitation to share his hotel room. (Not his BED; his room. You people...Though there was a bit of a scare when the hotel said that they didn't have enough double bed rooms and would a single King be OK? No. No, it wouldn't.) He is staying at the 4-star Omni downtown, and I have to say his -- I mean OUR -- room is totally swank. Though, as is to be expected at any downtown, 4-star hotel, they charge you for the WiFi. (Greedy bastards! Two nights ago I was at a $79 Hampton in that included a free breakfast AND WiFis. Bet there's no free waffle machine here either. Sigh...)


So, for the next few days, I'm going to be writing like a madman for Jeremy, covering stories for the CEDIA Daily. This is a real honor, as I always used the Daily as a source of keeping up with the times before I did any writing. Now I’m a part of the action. The circle is complete. I am your Father. They manage to give you a different slice of the show each day, helping you to see what's hot and maybe find some things that you missed. And even though I was actually part of the process last year, it is still pretty amazing to be attending a press event one minute, being yelled at by Kirsten for, “I need that Starbucks, Sciacca!” as you are trying to desperately type away and file a story the next, and then a few hours later seeing that same copy being handed out to 20,000 or so people. It really gives you a whole new respect for what goes on at a daily newspaper.


Anyhow, since I'll be busy-busy over the next few days, I'm going to try and turn this into a CEDIA coverage micro-site. Instead of long posts recapping my day, I think I'm going to take a bunch of pictures of things that I find interesting and then post those up. I'll try and give you who can't attend a floor-eye view of what it is like to be here.


A couple of quick things from yesterday...


When I arrived, I met Lutron's PR gal, Melissa Andresko in our hotel bar for a drink. While it was supposedly a "martini bar" their actual selection of martinis was pretty limited. And, I must go on record as saying that just because you put something in a martini glass, does not MAKE it a martini. I had some yellow and red drink called a “Happy Ending,” basically just so I could text Darryl and say, “I’m having a Happy Ending with Melissa!” So after a while who should walk in but Glasses (Kirsten Nelson) from the Resi team! She is all geared up and ready for another grueling 4 days in her command chair, deep vein thrombosis sock be damned!


Then who should walk in? THE Darryl Wilkinson! Darryl was carrying a Lutron box which I thought was probably filled with overage -- random extra processors, keypad controllers, shade devices, whatever -- he wanted to return to Melissa. Then I realized that was a ridiculous thought...Darryl would NEVER return any overage, he would just sell it on eBay like he does with all of the other manufacturer freebies he never returns! Turns out the box was for me. And instead of holding a severed hand with an upright and fully erect middle finger (which would actually be classic Darryl) it contained a bottle of absinthe and a bottle of Bakon flavored vodka! Super cool! Darryl has been goading me to try absinthe for a while -- though I think he is just hoping that perhaps I'll go mad and start cutting off pieces of my body a la Van Gogh -- so now there are no more excuses. And what could be a better day-starting, breakfast of champions than bacon flavored vodka? Nothing. That's what! Well, perhaps I can get some of that espresso flavored vodka and have a right and proper breakfast. Either way, very cool and many thanks, Darryl!


Then last night the Resi Daily team headed over to Jeremy G's house (he lives in Indy) for pizza and a movie. Jeremy has a 5 year old daughter that reminds me A LOT of Lauryn. She has big curly hair, likes doing ballet and prances around from the protective cover of one parent to another. Though she is taking violin lessons, where Lauryn is still firmly intent on learning to play the accordion. (Seriously.)


Jeremy’s theater is rockin' a Runco with anamorphic lens and a Screen Research 120-inch 2.35 screen in his basement, including a starlight ceiling from I-Panel. It makes me realize how much more I should have asked for when I was doing MY theater! Next time, manufacturers, I'll not be so gentle!


CEDIA 2011, I’m ready for you! Let’s do this thing!

Categories: September 2011, CES/CEDIA

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Reply Kirk
2:59 PM on September 7, 2011 
Welcome back to Indy. We may not have the mountain air (guess you actually need, like, a mountain for that), but downtown is great and very easy getting around (well, normally, but now they are redoing EVERY street for the Super Bowl). Enjoy...
Reply Dan
1:48 AM on September 9, 2011 
I personally know someone, besides Dana, that has shared a bed with John in the past. However, those two Hetero's were fixated on driving a 12 cylinder Aston Martin in NY the next day. No time for funny business that night! I swear!