This week is CEDIA 2014 one of the big shows for professional AV / Customer Integrators, a show that in the past has seen Windows Media Center launches amongst many product launches. Today I caught up with our old friend Steven Cheung from our sponsor Vidabox to preview CEDIA and to find out what they are showing off there.
CEDIA is coming up this week, can you give us some background on the show?
– CEDIA is considered to be the biggest expo for professional AV integrators. It’s one of the many different ways that dealers and installers can learn about new technologies and product releases.
What will you have on show at CEDIA this week? / Are there any other new devices on show?
– We’ll be showcasing our LiivNAS systems along with Dune HD Media Players at Booth 1636. The most interesting piece is the new LiivJACK mini. Visitors can see how our complete ecosystem allows easy, Drop-n-Rip archiving to be done on a LiivNAS, then see it automatically show up on their TV screen through the Dune HD interface, and ready for playback!
You recently announced the LiivJACK mini, can you tell us about the device
– The LiivJACK mini is a smaller version of our popular LiivJACK high-speed archiving system. The original LiivJACK has (4) Blu-ray drives to allow us to archive a total of (5) unencrypted CDs, DVDs, or Blu-rays in a single shot with LiivNAS systems. The mini is simply a more compact and more affordable version that brings (2) Blu-ray drives instead of (4). So, we can still archive (3) discs at a time!
Last week you had an update for the LiivNAS software, what is new in the update?
– We’ve added official support for two big features – First is the ability for our systems to bring in external videos and movies that’ve already been archived or downloaded from other sources – like MKVs, AVIs, MPEGs, etc. – and have these titles automatically show up with high-res cover art, plus rich metadata like plot synopsis, actor / actress info, and more. This is a huge deal for many of our international customers where many people have existing, non-disc based collections that they’d like to easily access. Movies integrated with our LiivNAS can also be launched from automation platforms like Control4, Crestron, Bitwise, RTI, and more – something that’s rather unique to our systems!
– Secondly, the other big feature is support for auto-updating metadata. Say if we archive a brand new disc, which has no cover / no metadata – it’s a pain to manually update the cover art and details once it’s available. Same applies if we archive movies without an internet connection – it’s common in setups like yachts, planes, and other luxury transportation. With this new feature, the LiivNAS will automatically update the cover art & other metadata with NO input from the end user. This gets rid of annoying, manual updates – thus saving ALOT of time and gets rid of the hassle.
How do you feel the market is going in 2014? Are you still heavily involved with the Custom Installer market? Where do you see Movie Servers going?
As many VidaBox followers have seen, we’ve been continously growing our company over the years, adding new products like our iPad mounts and USB vCharger units. While we are still involved with the CI (Custom Installer) market, we’ve been expanding into other markets like the Digital Signage space and Expo / Display markets with these products. That’s great news for CI’s, since this means that we can continue to offer a broad range of products and continually support existing, legacy products for years to come. This is critical for dealers that are looking at products like our movie servers – where one would be wise to choose a company that has a breadth of products to guarantee future support availability, whereas other companies offering movie servers as their primary or only product may no longer be around in the near future as market demand for disc-based media changes. VidaBox is simply the smart choice for integrators looking for long term reliability and support – critical ingredients for any successful project.
What do you think will be the “next big thing” for custom installers?
The “next big thing” for installers we see is an even deeper penetration / uptake of digital signage, interactive displays, and kiosks used in both home and commercial environment. In homes, we already have automation systems that tie into tablets like iPads and Android devices for security, lighting, & climate control. It’s just a matter of time until it almost becomes “a standard requirement” due to the sheet convenience it brings, similar to how central AC is a standard for many new homes. For commercial & retail environments, businesses are capitalizing on increasing revenue opportunities, capturing attention, and improving customer retention with interactive displays more and more. For example – if one walks into any store or even a restaurant, one now usually sees some type of tablet secured into a fixed enclosure, used either as a Point-of-Sale (PoS) to improve workflow, as signage to providing information for specials and other promotions, or as some type of interactive display that customers can use.
The installation of these products in a clean, secure matter is where custom installers can come in. A proper installation will require networking know-how and secure installation. Sure – there are tons of DIY products on the market, but we see that customers are always will to pay more for a better value, quality, and design – which is where our tablet mounts, kiosk solutions, and USB vChargers come in nicely!
What can we go to get more information?
Come and visit our website at vidabox.com, take a look at our demo video section to see all the items we spoke about in action, or give us a call at +1 516-730-7500, and let us know how we can be of help in your next project!