CEDIA 2009: Home Automation and more

Written by Harry Butler

June 27, 2009 | 10:13

Tags: #1080p #2009 #bespoke #cedia #digital-home #events #expensive #expo #hd #home-theater #home-theatre #iphone #streaming #wireless-hdmi

Companies: #bit-tech #blu-ray

CEDIA Expo 2009

This week we headed off to the CEDIA (Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association) Expo in London to check out the latest innovations in digital home technology and home cinema equipment. We’ve recently been covering more and more home theatre and media player hardware (with the ever present bit-tech enthusiast slant of course) and were interested to see what the bleeding edge of the industry was up to.

Unsurprisingly there was some seriously impressive equipment and technology on show, from homes with fully automated lights, shutters and even plumbing (meaning you can use your laptop to to pour yourself a nice hot bath from anywhere in the world) to 103in Plasma TVs, HD video streamers, £6,500 Blu-ray players and stealthy plasma TVs.

While a lot of the technology on show was clearly targeted at Premier League footballers and movie mad millionaires, more than a few innovations were within the reach of us mere mortals too, and of course, if you want to build yourself something, it's inspiring to see what the professionals can do.

CEDIA 2009: Home Automation and more   CEDIA Expo 2009 CEDIA 2009: Home Automation and more   CEDIA Expo 2009
Using rear projection and an optical diffusion screen, the display seems to hang in the air

Displays

As much of CEDIA was targeted towards high end Home Cinema installations, it was unsurprising to see some of the flashiest display technologies on show. One company which really impressed us was Pro Display, which has carved out a niche with its unique array of projector screens. The highlight for us was its Optical Diffusion Screens – a piece of custom cast acrylic available in sizes from 30in to 138in that when suspended by wires and combined with a rear mounted projector produced an incredibly clear image that seemed to virtually hang in the air.

CEDIA 2009: Home Automation and more   CEDIA Expo 2009 CEDIA 2009: Home Automation and more   CEDIA Expo 2009
Mirror vision glass overlays in action

Pro Display was also showing off its Mirrorvision glass overlays, a kind of two-way mirror mounted into a casing available for any standard LCD or Plasma TV. When the display is on it appears as a standard HDTV, but switch it off and the display becomes an identically sized mirror - you can even choose the frame design. Both these technologies allow your TV to be more subtly integrated into your home’s design, and while not obviously for everyone are certainly both very cool techy options for those who’ve been watching lots of Grand Designs.

CEDIA 2009: Home Automation and more   CEDIA Expo 2009 CEDIA 2009: Home Automation and more   CEDIA Expo 2009
103in of pirates (and Keira Knightly) - awesome!

We also have to mention the absolutely enormous Panasonic 103in Plasma TV that was on show. While admittedly a couple of years old now it’s still jaw-droppingly massive, but frighteningly Panasonic are now readying a 150in version with a top end resolution of 4,096 x 2,160 to come later this year. When dealing a screen of this size though we have to question whether a top end projector and an equally big screen would be easier to live with and look just as good, not to mention cost less than the £40,000+ asking price of this 103in monster!
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