HP showed off their latest version of their MediaSmart TV. Unlike the last generation, this one has the entire MediaSmart bits all integrated into the TV (as in no more butt mounted box or rabbit ears). It’s 1080p, and has a revamped user interface (as you can see in the pic). They’re shipping now and are $2,099 for the 42-inch and $2,499 for the 47-inch.
After handing out a pair of boxer shorts with the slogan, "We've got your bottom end covered.", honcho John Miller showed off the newest, smallest Velodyne subwoofer. Called the MicroVee, it uses one 6.5" active driver, two 6.5" passive drivers, each with 5" piston diameters. The active driver has a 2" dual-layer voice coil and a 64 ounce magnet structure. Velodyne rates the Energy Recovery System amplifier at 2,000 watts of Dynamic Power. The cabinet is made of ribbed (no snide comments, please) extruded aluminum, which makes the sub cool - both in terms of heat dissipation and looks. The sub is only 9" x 9" x 9.6" (HWD), and Miller says it kicks butt. (What else was he going to say?) Oh, yeah, the MSRP is $999, but you could very likely see it on sale for $799 when it arrives in October.
Sonance took great pleasure in touting their lifestyle approach to in-wall/in-ceiling/on-wall/the-wall-is-the-speaker speakers. One of the coolest of the new speakers was a model that used a circular mounting plate that could be mounted on the surface of a wall or flush with the wall. The speaker itself attached to the mounting plate using an array of very powerful magnets, and the wiring is routed through the wall plate. When in place, the speaker almost looks like a light fixture.
Looking to the future of lifestyle sound, Sonance showed a preview of possible upcoming products, one of which was a ceramic hanging thing that looked pretty cool. It wasn't playing, so we couldn't tell how it sounded. No pricing or estimated availability was given, but it's pretty certain that you can expect to see something like this -and other exotic speakers - from Sonance in the near future.
The people at Boston Acoustics couldn't resist assembling a bunch of their colorful Horizon speakers into a chandelier (and we couldn't resist taking a picture of it). Injection-molded plastic enclosures, shaped to maximize the front and minimize the back, are braced both by the molding and by MDF. Complete 5.1 systems range from $499-700 with black or white grilles plus optional grilles in eight other colors for $19-100 depending on size. Boston also showed the SoundWave cubes, which stand on one of their corners, in seven colors for $99 each. They're indoor/outdoor.
Transparent enclosures are a staple of product exhibits but in the case of the Velodyne DD-10 ($1999), this is the actual product! Good art is destiny in this cynical blogging game, so you don't get to see the arguably newsworthier MicroVee six-inch sub, with front-firing driver and passive radiators on the side, and 1000 watts of Class D power. Velodyne, ever versatile, also has in-wall and in-ceiling models. And it showed, yet again, the 1812 Digital Drive monster sub, one of the few subs with a crossover--from a 12-inch driver to an 8-inch one. We never tire of seeing and hearing its mighty cones vibrate.
For $2,995, Sanyo's PLV-Z2000 has a lot of great features. This 1080p LCD projector offers a claimed 15,000:1 contrast ratio (with their twin auto iris system), HDMI 1.3 capability and 1,200 Lumens output from a 165 UHP-like bulb. With a wide 50% horizontal and insane 100% vertical lens shift, placement is no problem and you won't have to resort to electronic keystone corrections which inherently limit real resolution. The unit is a quiet 19 db and when you turn it off, a little door slides over the lens keeping dust and curious fingers away. It ships in October.
"Technology breeds crime," FBI agent and one-time con man Frank Abegnale told a CEDIA breakfast audience. "It always has, always will." The subject of Spielberg's Catch Me If You Can discussed the misdeeds of his youth and offered two bits of advice to those seeking to avoid identity theft: (1) Use a micro-perf shredder--other kinds leave paper intact enough for reconstruction. (2) Pay for everything with credit cards, not with debit cards, which offer little recourse against fraud; nor with checks, which tell crooks more than you want them to know about your bank accounts.
One of the few non-excruciating audio auditions at CEDIA '07 was Wisdom Audio's L75i demo. The planar speaker, powered by Classe amps, shone with material featuring Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, Tina Turner, and Miles Davis. Music worth hearing: a novelty. Wisdom prides itself on the non-disintegrating metal in-wall frame. True, the bass was boomy in the rear of the room, and the ostensibly in-wall product was shown on-wall, but this was the rare public exhibit that didn't make us hate the product.
The Infinity ERS 610 in-ceiling speaker ($599, October) features a flat diaphragm CMMD woofer similar to that in the high-end and somewhat revolutionary Cascade series. JBL and Revel offer very similar-looking products (under the great Harman International corporate umbrella, of course). The hot one might be the Revel, since it's been voiced by Kevin Voecks. Note the three-position switch at right, which adjusts high-frequency response for the room. Not pictured are the wireless 2.4GHz subs, the 10-inch PSW310W (10 inches, 400 watts) and PSW212W (12 inches, $679, January).
More in-ceiling models join the Definitive Technology line, following the train of thought first established in an ingeniously angled product introduced at last year's CEDIA. The new ones are smaller. They include the RCS3 ($499 each) and RSS3 surround ($399 each). Also shown: the Mythos 10 ($899), a new center speaker intended to go with the existing Mythos ST tower.
The Pinnacle OC HT 1 in-ceiling speaker ($349 for one, $999 for a three-pack) uses a slot locking mounting system that attaches to a ring you screw into the ceiling. Also shown was the QP 2, a speaker designed for use with projection screens, an unusual design with neodymium magnets mounted on the outside ($999/each, black or white). Why we didn't photograph that will always be a mystery to us.
If it were just another iPod dock, Meridian could be forgiven. But the iRIS ($390) actually takes video off your iPod – yeah, the sub-standard definition 240x320 pixel package you paid $1.99 for so you could catch up on an episode of Heroes during your staff meeting today – and upconverts it to 1080p. There was some mention that the iRIS will also have an s-video input so you could, according to Bob Stuart of Meridian, pass your laserdisc player's s-video output into the iRIS to take advantage of the Marvell's Qdeo video processing, which might be an interesting option.
The Joseph Audio people say their Insider is designed "to solve the fundamental problem of in-walls"--the tendency of tweeters and woofers to interfere with one another. There is secret sauce in the crossover and consistent off-axis response is a major benefit. Drivers are high-end stuff sourced from Norway. Presumably all that high-caliber design and materials justify the price of $2500/pair.