ISE 2019, Day Four

Ed Wenck | Feb 08, 2019

After a full four days at ISE, your Faithful CEDIA Blogger has some first-time-attendee’s thoughts -- mind you, this is from the Content Guy, not the Integrator Guys and Women. Their dives into this show -- which are vastly deeper and more knowledgeable -- can be found over the last four CEDIA podcasts.

This show is HUGE. No, really – not CES big, but pretty gigantic nonetheless. Standing shoulder-to-shoulder at the big booths, food courts, and so on is the norm.
The health/wellness integration space isn’t just a thing, it may be THE thing. It’s a segment that will undoubtedly become the backbone (and perhaps the only focus) of many a firm. We won’t steal Julie Jacobson’s thunder too much here – her thoughts on this subject (and what she saw at the show) are encapsulated in a soon-to-be-online CEDIA Talk, and will undoubtedly soon be covered in her work for CE Pro.
The commercial/residential blend of exhibitors creates a really unique vibe. The influence of CEDIA firms on AVIXA firms (and vice-versa) is palpable here – there are definitely ideas in each space that are informing concepts adopted by the other. How will projection mapping impact residential entertainment? How are VR and AR applications going to be adopted by the commercial folks (for, say, remote tech training in which a user can perform a task virtually while learning a trade)? The possibilities are mind-boggling. (Also: Tech Council member Christiaan Beukes wondered about rollable screens becoming the new architectural blueprints carried in tubes.)
Walking through the various video solutions around the RAI is downright psychedelic. Seriously, moving from Samsung’s Wall to the LG waterfall and into the incredible arrays of digital signage that can cover every surface, floor to ceiling, the various attempts by exhibitors to GET! YOUR! ATTENTION! can become downright disorienting. We’re talking over-stimulation on a massive scale, with demo content full of hyper-saturated colors and stomach-churning drone shots.
Sometimes, though, subtlety is key. One display that struck yours truly featured a live model being made up with brightly colored face paint, a 4K camera pointed at the model as the makeup was applied, and a monitor – the product being displayed – just a few feet away, carrying the feed from the aforementioned camera. If the intent was to show how accurately the TV set was displaying the colors and details on display in real-life nearby, the gimmick was a success. It might not be a terribly unique idea, but the side-by-side execution was effective.
When it comes to speakers, bigger ain’t better. One booth at ISE featured a 2.1 system whose L/R speakers were no bigger than a pack of Wrigley’s gum. A different booth featured a soundbar with a depth of no more than four inches whose various drivers produced a really convincing Atmos experience. Both examples included diminutive subwoofers, and both systems punch far above their weight class, producing audio experiences that were remarkable. For global urban markets where space is at a premium, these ever-shrinking form factors seem to be excellent solutions. Additionally, as Tech Council maven Mike Heiss points out, this tech might be improving built-in TV sound quite a lot, and soon.
Watch this space for more updates, and keep tuning into the podcast as the CEDIA team distills what we saw at ISE 2019. Additionally, the CEDIA Talks presented in Amsterdam will begin appearing on our YouTube channel very soon.