Congratulations! You're richer than you thought!

 After attending two press conferences so far at the CEDIA Expo 2009, I have discovered that either, A: America is a lot richer than I thought, or B: I'm just, sadly, much poorer.

During SpeakerCraft's launch of their new A/V distribution system (which sounds totally killer, by the way), they repeatedly described the system as "mass market," and "a system for the masses." The system, called nirv, offers unlimited sounding scalability and performance, distributing high def audio, video, control, data and communication signals all over a single wire. They also have developed a terrific guerilla marketing ad campaign (which has a very Command & Conquer vibe for you gamers) where users are encouraged to "break the chains of big control." (See an example of the Web marketing here.)

However, after all of this terrific build-up, I ventured to ask what would the typical price of a nirv system would be. The answer: for an 8 source, 8 zone HD distribution, expect to pay about $20,000. Plus install and programming. Ouch!

Then stepping over to the Lutron press event, where they had a terrific launch of the second generation of their Radio RA lighting system (called RA2). The RA2 system does everything a second gen product should do: it has improved, desirable features, is more powerful, and it costs about 30% less than a similar RA system! However, I was surprised to hear that this is meant for "mid-market" homes. I always thought I had a mid-market home, until I heard the Lutron definition: $750,000 – 1,500,000.

So, see. You middle class, mass-market folk are doing better than you thought!

--John Sciacca "The Custom Installer"