Reviewed: The Homebuilding and Renovating Show 2013

posted on Monday, 1st April 2013 by David Slater

home cinema  Home automation  Events  Amina 


It's not always easy to come up with ways to promote your digital business. You have old school advertising in glossy magazines, new fangled on-line social networking or, if the purse allow it, you can meet potential new clients at a show. And on the evidence of interest generated by the recent National Homebuilding and Renovating show, held at the NEC Birmingham, the latter seems a particularly good call.

The show is becoming increasingly popular with the digital installer - and if you think about it, what a perfect event to be at! Visitors to this type of exhibition are looking for a totally bespoke solution; after all if they were conventional buyers they would go down the route of purchasing mass-market homes. When it comes to custom install often the hardest element of our job is getting in early enough. Usually TVs, music and cinemas are an afterthought and you're brought to the table way too late to be included. Not so here. Exhibitors have early access dispensing a wealth of knowledge on how to get your new house project off the ground; this could be everything from in-depth solar power right up to the colour of your paint.

Wandering around the event it was obvious that there was a mixed bag of clientele, on numerous stands people were asking relevant questions and bringing out their much-valued plans to explain further. The digital side was well catered for; at least 10 companies that I counted were showing off everything from multi-room audio to full blown home cinema.

Show highlights
On the home cinema front Inside CI caught up with Chris Petit from Pure Theatre, based in Shropshire.  He had an impressive passive 3D cinema display, powered by two Epson EH-TW 9100 projectors connected through Pure Theatre's special interface box and lenses. I have to say the picture was stunning, with none of the motion sickness sometimes suffered by an Active Shutter solution.

On the control side there was lots to choose from, Control4 was on numerous stands with its ever-popular HC-250 and GUI interface. Enado was also showing off its web-based UI, previewed at ISE Amsterdam earlier this year and due for a full launch in September. This system allows you to control all your kit via a tablet and is very easy to program, making for a fast installation time.

Another great challenge when it comes to modern day installations is where to put the loudspeakers, not everybody likes to see big bulky boxes. This is where Amina steps in with its amazing range of plaster-over offerings, Amina was one of the first plaster-over speakers I bought and installed, and  I love them. One typical trade-off for unseen speakers is sound quality, but the new Evolution Series seem to get over this with an amazing audio performance. If you would like to find out more, Amina is running a series of training courses in London and Huntington. For more details check out its web site.

Overall, the Homebuilding and Renovating show seemed to be well thought out and with over 500 exhibitors showing their latest products and services, everyone visiting will definitely have found something of interest. I liked the variety of free seminars and masterclasses, designed to dispense expert advice on every project, as well as the product demonstration area - I had to tear myself away from the power tool stall before wiping out my credit card limit! With the CEDIA team also on hand, both with a stand and involved in talks about the digital world, the show seemed to be a great success for the custom install community. It's certainly one for the diary.

David Slater

David Slater started his writing career with SVI writing a popular column, he has also guested on publications like Home Cinema Choice and
Living North

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Posted by Darren Shear on 1st April 2013, 5:07 PM
I agree with David, great show. The best way to get in with builders and architects is to mix in their crowd.

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