Welcome to CEDIA 2006

In the span of my career, trade show coverage by consumer publications has gone from verboten to voluminous. Are you excited about this week's CEDIA and our coverage of it? Please tell me—I'd like to know!

When I got my first edit job, at Video Magazine in 1980, my editor—a former publicist—took pains to keep references to trade shows out of the book. We weren't allowed to mention CES or CEDIA. Trade-show talk was for the trade, he insisted, and we were a consumer magazine. He also objected to the use of the term marketing in the magazine.

In later years, when five ambitious lads launched a big website named etown.com, we reversed the conventional wisdom and covered trade shows fervently. Hoping to build readership, we discovered an awakening interest among consumers for the latest product debuts and rumors from CES, CEDIA, etc. As the on-site editor-in-chief, I would power-type my way through the day while my four talented partners scoured the show and out-reported everyone else. The Internet redefined show coverage.

Now every major gizmo book reports trade shows on the net. Some farm the work out to freelancers—and you can tell their heart isn't in it—but others press upper-masthead talent into service. At this week's CEDIA, editor-in-chief Maureen Jenson, video editor Geoffrey Morrison, editor-at-large Darryl Wilkinson, and I will wander through the booths, take notes, snap pictures, upload fresh material throughout the day, and keep it light and readable.

As much fun as this on-site reporting will be for reader and editor alike—we hope!—our real mission at CEDIA is to schmooze with our contacts and gather fresh ideas for future reviews and coverage in the magazine. You know, that thing with two covers and 150 pages of content that you can read in an armchair without using any appliance more complicated than a reading lamp.

So come with us to CEDIA, the 2006 gathering of the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association. While this is the biggest custom-focused show of the year, it's also a significant venue for mainstream audio and video components. In fact, a lot of what's exhibited at January CES often made its real debut at the previous September's CEDIA.

This year's show will be the first in Denver, the Indianapolis Convention Center being under renovation for the next two years. Press conferences and CEDIA's famous installer-training courses will start on Wednesday and the exhibits will run from Thursday through Sunday. Watch this space for ongoing coverage throughout the week.