The Lost Art of the Demo
As I write this, I’ve been back from International CES for a few days and I’m still incredibly energized from the experience and inspired by how innovation drives our industry. While much of my time was spent at our suites at the Venetian, I did get a chance to pretend I was an attendee and cruise exhibits at the LVCC and elsewhere, and while I was doing it, I thought about how we in the home entertainment part of the CE world paint pictures for our customers of the amazing experiences are products are capable of creating.
The first stops I made were at different booths showing the latest Ultra HD 4K displays. I was treated to an incredible cavalcade of video content featuring vibrantly colored tropical fish, animals in the wild, models sporting wine glasses (also in the wild, perhaps), and even a micro close-up of a grotesquely contoured rhinoceros horn. Each brand had a different content feed of this nature that showed the amazing visual experiences Ultra HD 4K delivers.
My next stop was a well-known speaker brand that set up a large booth in the main hall with several lines of speakers on display that included floorstanding, bookshelf, wireless, tabletop and other models. There were posters detailing the company’s history, and it was clear a lot of work went into the booth design. Interestingly, none of these products was hooked up to demo. Which got me thinking, what exactly is a speaker, when it isn't making any sound?
The next few days after CES, I visited several specialty AV retailers around the country and I saw content in much the same vein. There were those same models and their wine, plus some other wild animals, though I sadly never saw the rhinoceros again. For the most part, sound rooms were filled with silent speakers, standing in neat rows like the guards at Buckingham Palace.