Integra has upgraded its DTC-9.8 pre-pro to the DHC-9.9 ($2000). The latter now includes Imaging Science Foundation's Certified Calibration Controls (ISFccc), which here provide separate high and low adjustments for red, green, and blue--for each input. The DHC-9.9 also adds THX Loudness Plus, Audyssey Dynamic Eq, and Audyssey Dynamic Volume. In case you were wondering, however, the DTC-9.8 cannot be upgraded to DHC-9.9 specs.
All of these features will also be included in Integra's top two receivers, the DTR-8.9 and the DTR-9.9.
Remote control behemoth manufacturer Universal Remote Control is now offering control dimmers, lamp dimmers, and switches that work with a large number the company’s universal remote controls. The dimmers and such are made by lighting behemoth manufacturer Lutron specifically for URC. The system is ideal for single rooms (like home theaters) or small homes, and I’ve never seen a system in which it was so easy to program various lighting control scenes. It literally takes minutes and you’re done. Dimming switches are around $150 each, but there’s nothing extra that’s needed to make the remote controls work with the switches.
One of the first products to come to market using DIGI-5 technology for signal distribution over Cat 5 cables is Aton’s DH44 digital audio router. It routes 4 audio sources to 4 zones using Cat 5 wiring. One touted benefit of DIGI-5 is that the amplified touchpads that are used in each of the zones can provide higher power – Aton claims up to 30 watts/channel – than traditional analog-based systems.
Aton’s HDR44 can take four HD (up to 1080p) or SD sources along with their associated audio signals (plus pass IR commands) and distribute them to up to four zones using dual Cat 5 cables. If that’s not enough for you, you can add a second HD router and expand the distribution up to eight zones; although four sources is still the limit. The $1,899 HDR44 Kit includes one HD Video Router, 4 surface-mount receivers, and a system remote control. Additional routers are $1,299.
At CES 2008, THX began talking about Media Director, a program that would get hardware and software to talk to one another via metadata, automatically running movies with the right audio and video parameters. THX is now assembling a database of 1000 popular movie titles, codenamed Aardvark, to assemble the metadata needed for each piece of content. And it's now using the HDMI Infoframe Analyzer, shown here, to test audio and video devices to ensure that they shake hands and exchange metadata with one another, sort of like digital beings swapping business cards in a bar.
Does LG's new BD-300 Blu-ray player do DTS-HD? Early product information had been vague on this point, with references to Dolby TrueHD but none to its DTS counterpart. Well, there is a DTS-HD logo on the player, so it must decode DTS-HD Master Audio and DTS-HD High Resolution Audio. Without downconverting them to DTS Core, I hope.
Fred already posted a photo of SpeakerCraft's Pod City booth, but he didn't tell you about the amazing performance presented therein thrice daily. Resembling Cirque du Soleil, this LA-based troupe is called Lucent Dossier, and the story they told was one of dark dreams, zombie tap-dancing gone awry, and evil flying monkey men seduced by a beautiful belly dancer. You really had to be there…
Microsoft announced the winner of its Ultimate Install Contest in a corporate suite at Coors Field before the Colorado Rockies took on the Houston Astros—and lost. The Jumbotron's depressing announcement only added to the crowd's growing disappointment.
For the second year, Microsoft held a contest to find the best custom installation based on Windows Media Center technology. This year, the winner was cyberManor for its extensive whole-house installation in Silicon Valley. Pictured (L to R) are Microsoft's Kevin Collins, Cybermanor's Gordon van Zuiden, and Microsoft's Todd Rutherford.
Runco wasn't the only brand with a new in-wall rear-pro. Digital Projection was showing its Titan RP97, which mounts a Titan 1080p-500 projector behind a 97-inch-diagonal "optical black screen" with 0.85 gain that completely rejects ambient light. Touting this system as an alternative to large-screen plasmas (think Panasonic's 103-inch monster), it's fully self-contained and supports its own weight so the wall doesn't have to. You'll shell out $100,000 for it, but the Panasonic 103 is even more than that, making the Titan RP97 a bargain.
I almost missed the non-working prototype of Oppo's long-awaited BDP-83 Blu-ray player in one corner of the DVDO booth. Not much was revealed except that it will be BD-Live and have 7.1-channel analog outputs. Oh yeah, it will also have the DVDO VRS processing onboard thanks to a new chip, the ABT2010, which is also used in the new Edge processor.
If you can't afford the $3500 DVDO VP50 Pro video processor from Anchor Bay Technologies, here's some great news: a new processor called the Edge that incorporates the power of the VP50 Pro in a svelte package costing only $800. It's less customizable and has no grayscale or color-point control, but it does provide outstanding noise reduction and deinterlacing as well as basic picture controls for each input, of which there are 6 HDMIs.
B&W has added three models to its CM range of speakers: The CM9 ($1500 each) is now the largest of the two CM floor-standers, the CM5 ($750 each) now the largest of the two stand-mounters, and the CMC-2 three-way center channel ($1000). More on the intriguing center channel design below.