Didn't get to hear them, unfortunately, but don't the Yamaha Soavos look great? They include a full surround set, shown, plus the floorstanding Soavo-1 and monitor-sized Soavo-2, not shown. Pricing TBD. Yamaha also showed the RX-V2700 receiver ($1799) with 140 watts times seven, iPod dock (of course, $100), XM satellite radio (the antenna goes for about 20 bucks), and network jack for Internet radio or connection of a multi-zone Yamaha MusicCast system. Is there an all-Yamaha system in your future?
Joining Definitive's in-ceiling lineup is the RCS II, a step up from the company's smaller existing in-ceiling models. Sealed into a medite enclosure are a one-inch aluminum dome tweeter, two 5.25-inch woofers, and two 6.5-inch passive radiators. The enclosure is tilted at a 45-degree angle. Price: $569 each.
A hot issue among surround buffs is HDMI and what it does or doesn't do. If you want your system to handle next-gen surround formats like DTS-HD Master Audio, you need HDMI version 1.3 connectivity in your receiver. According to Denon's Steve Baker, his company's receivers will support HDMI 1.3 "as soon as the chipsets become available." That is likely to happen in 2007 though it's hard to be any more specific than that. In the meantime, you'll have to be content with the fact that Denon's ASD-1R docking station ($129) comes in both iPod-white and iPod-black.
I spent much of my first full day at CEDIA Expo scoping out the new 1080p video projectors. I still have more to see, but it's already evident that this is the big story of the show, unless you're into various forms of home automation, which is always a big CEDIA story.
Planar Who? This company is new on the market, but has big plans. In addition to some potentially revolutionary flat panel displays, it introduced a full line of DLP projectors. This includes two 1080p designs, the PD8110 shown here ($8999, Feb 07) and the PD8150 (which adds a dynamic iris at a price to be determined, with spring 07 availability.
There are also two, less expensive 720p models.
The second big surprise after the Planar was the HD-900 LCoS projector from Cinetron. It's a full 1920x1080, features processing from Silicon Optix's HQV Realta chip, and quiet operation. It looked superb on a Stewart Firehawk screen. While it comes equipped with an auto iris, that feature was not used in the demo. At $6000, it's one of a number of projectors that could shake up the front projector market.
Mitsubishi formally announced a new 1920x1080 LCD projector at CEDIA,the HC5000U, equipped with an auto iris, lens shift, and a price of $4495. The video processor is the new REON chip from Silicon Optix, lamp life is claimed to be 5000 hours, and fan noise is specified at 19dBA (a very low figure) in low lamp mode.
TI featured SIM2's new 3-chip 1080p projector at their booth. While it looked great for the most part, it was hard to get a handle on just how good it really is since three of the four demo clips relied heavily or entirely on computer animation, and the fourth was a grainy, oversharpened trailer for a new upcoming Rocky (!) movie. Rocky 12, I think. An lovely but alarmingly enthusiastic presenter extolled the praises of TI's DLP technology until my teeth hurt. This must have been for the benefit of those in this professional CEDIA audience who may have never heard of DLP before.
Here's another shot of the Meridian-Faroudja 1920x1080 DILA1080MF-1 LCoS projector, which was used in conjunction with the company's DVP1080MF scaler to produce some of the best-looking images at the show. At $26,000 (for projector and scaler) it had to, considering the strong competition being offered by a flood of new 1080p digital projectors of all terchnological stripes. The demo also featured in-wall speakers from Meridian, the first time to my knowledge that the company has demonstrated in-walls in a trade show setting. It was also the first time they have used a perforated Studiotek 130, 110 inch) screen.
How do you make an in-wall speaker look interesting? You don't, but Atlantic Technology was one of a handful of vendors to actually make them sound interesting (most vendors didn't even try to demo their in-walls). Three Atlantic IWCB-626's were mounted behind an acoustically transparent Screen Research screen, together with dipole surrounds and subs. The projector was a small Crystal View single chip DLP, which appeared to be a variation on a modestly-priced Mitsubishi design. Nothing fancy here, but simply a solid demo all around of a system that is not outrageously priced. Featured were some particularly fine HD trailers from the upcoming films Flyboys and A Night At The Museum.
I really like the look and simplicity of ELAN's new ole' Film Interactive Touchpad (F.I.T.), and at $390 it's priced more like a keypad than a touchpad. The new in-wall controller uses predesigned thin film overlays on top of the touchpad surface. Since the button layouts are preset, it's extremely easy to program the pad to control the gear in your system. When installed in a full-blown ELAN multizone system, the pad displays system status info on an OLED window near the top of the pad - but it can also be used as a standalone touch pad controller in any system. (You won't get system status info, though.)
SpeakerCraft gave us a naked look at the company's TIME speakers that descend from the ceiling anytime you're ready to hear music or watch a movie. Although they all use a one-inch tweeter and an eight-inch woofer, the individual drivers in each of the three models are made from different materials. When used with SpeakerCraft's TIME Controller and Remote, up to eight TIME in-ceiling speakers can be programmed to descend from 15 to 45 degrees and rotate to any position within 320 degrees. Memory settings can be programmed for different listening requirements, such as two-channel, multi-channel, and party mode. Pricing for the speakers starts at $350 each. The TIME Controller and Remote is $400.