Immersive 4K home cinema, the latest 8K TV tech, home control and networking, and multi-room audio were just some of the highlights of this year’s AWE Expo.
Electrical retailers, technology integrators, electricians and press attended the event, which took place earlier this month at the company’s headquarters in Epsom, Surrey.
There was an impressive line-up of products and technologies on display in AWE’s Show Apartment, which had been upgraded ahead of the Expo. Product experts from the company and manufacturers’ representatives were also on hand to talk visitors through what was being demonstrated in each room of the apartment.
“The reason we created the Show Apartment is the reason we have the AWE Expo – as a business, although we ultimately sell boxes to make money, our industry actually sells experiences that excite people and provide benefits to families in their homes,” commented Stuart Tickle, MD of AWE Europe.
“The Show Apartment evolves every year and truly sets us apart. If we’re asking integrators, retailers and electricians to spend a day with us, we recognise that they’re giving up a day’s income, so we always ensure that there’s plenty of new kit for people to see and briefing sessions to engage with.”
The eight-seater Reference Cinema Room has been reconstructed to feature a four metre-wide ALR Euroscreen and Sony’s flagship VPL-VW5000 4K laser projector, as well as the brand’s VPL-VW870 more compact-size model.
High-performance audio in the Reference Cinema Room is provided by KEF THX and Reference in-wall speakers, as well as four active subwoofers from Definitive Technology, Classé power amps, and a Marantz MM8077 power amplifier driving the height speakers. A Marantz AV8805 pre-amp performs 13-channel immersive-audio processing.
The smaller Performance Cinema Room has also been upgraded, so visitors could experience an IMAX Enhanced demonstration, thanks to a 4K Sony VPL-VW570 projector with a Euroscreen 113-inch acoustically-transparent, fixed-frame screen.
Nick Cooper, Sales Rep for Hughes Smart, commented: “It’s great to catch up with the guys at AWE and see how things have progressed, and it’s also great for getting ideas and talking to other integrators. I liked seeing the IMAX demonstration in the Performance Cinema Room – it was great and it’s attainable for our type of clients. It gave us a good idea of what can be done.”
The Living Room features Sony’s flagship 65-inch AG9 OLED TV, while in the Show Apartment The Den is a new area, with a pair of KEF R Series speakers, driven by the new Marantz NR1200 two-channel receiver, and an electric 104-inch Euroscreen in-ceiling projection screen, with an Epson projector and Philips Hue and Qmotion blinds.
On the audio front, Sound United demonstrated the multi-room capabilities of its HEOS platform in an impressive graphic representation of a house while the new Denon Soundbars were also being shown.
Integral to the whole Show Apartment experience is URC Total Control 2.0, which controls all the technologies. New additions to URC included the TRC-1480 remote control with Alexa voice control and Siri for Apple TV, and the MRX-30 system controller, which runs the entire HQ building.
Also on the show was SilentGliss’s new smart, motorised curtain track and roller bind system, which comes with a nationwide onsite survey, design, installation, and support service. In the Show Apartment, the company was demonstrating a new Gateway control system that provides a simpler way of integrating SilentGliss, as was shown with URC.
In the updated Gallery areas of the Show Apartment, there were new 4K and 8K OLED and QLED TVs from Sony, LG, Panasonic and Samsung; TV stands and mounts brand, Sanus, demonstrated its new brackets and 19-inch AV rack cabinet solutions.
Colin Doherty, Managing Director of Mount My TV, said: “It’s very important to see the latest technology. We install this stuff daily and we recommend it to our clients. I needed to visit the AWE Expo to get a chance to speak to some of the technicians to get some specialist advice.”