Panasonic had a wide range of new LCD and plasma displays on showcase. They have all your size needs covered including their new 103” plasma for those that really want to see what their power grid is made of!
LG has taken the Blu-ray player in another direction. Their new BH300 not only supports the latest Bonus View profile and bitstream audio support, but also can network into Netflix’s new on-demand movie service. This offers consumers instant access to near-DVD quality video from their new Blu-ray player. Unfortunately they didn’t put a video processor in the player to scale that SD content so you’re left to your display’s abilities.
LG was sporting a new line of LCD flat panel displays and have ditched the boring looks so commonly associated with the line. The new panels feature custom colors, hidden speaker systems designed by Levinson and a new “expert” mode that allows you to calibrate them in more than every before.
And the award for best booth hands down goes to Speakercraft. I think I spotted a few speakers here and there but what they lacked in product they certainly made up for in show. With ornate decorations and scantily clad pixies everywhere they were hard to ignore.
A new projector company appeared at CEDIA this year. Wolf Cinema is dedicated to the custom-installation market with a variety of models based on 3-chip DLP technology. Using xenon lamps, these projectors ain't cheap, starting at $60,000 and going up to $117,000 (custom faceplate $2000 extra). For all that money, you get a complete system, including anamorphic lens, thermal-management system, 14-bit processor, and your choice of primary lens.
New at CEDIA are two projectors from JVC that build on the success of its D-ILA (LCoS) technology. As in previous generations, both projectors are available through JVC's consumer and professional distribution channels. The DLA-HD350 (consumer) and DLA-RS10 (pro) use three 0.7" 1920x1080 D-ILA imagers and offer improved all-glass lenses with motorized zoom, focus, and lens cover as well as an HQV Reon-VX video processor from Silicon Optix. The native contrast ratio is 17,000:1 (no dynamic iris), and the list price is slated to be under $6000.
JVC gave a stunning demonstration of its new (and currently shipping) DLA-SH4K projector. No, that's not it in the photo (more on that in a minute) but the DLA-SH4K is claimed to be the world's smallest 4K digital projector (resolution 4096x2400). No price was given, but it's definitely in the "If you have to ask" territory—and from the looks of the images shown, well worth it. With native 4K material, this is the best-looking video image I've ever seen—and this on screen large enough for a small commercial theater.
Wolf Cinema is a new company with a lineup of high-end, 3-chip DLP projectors. The three models (DCX-500, DCX-1000, and DCX-1500—the numbers indicate the lamp wattage) all use Xenon lamps, and the projectors are available either in a black-box, custom form designed to be hidden away, or in a finished case. But you won't find Wolf products (marketed by Sumiko) in your local AV shop; they deal in custom system packages only.
You want to show both films and video in your home theater? Wolf offers the Reference System, with two of its "Reference Analog" 35mm film projectors (shown) plus its Reference Digital Projector, for $300,000. The pieces are available separately, in case you are wondering. The required three-phase power installation, and the projectionist, are not included.
I hate on-wall speakers because most of them sound awful. But James Loudspeaker defeated my expectations with the 64CSTOW ($4000/each). Their vertical slit enclosures are made of high-grade aircraft aluminum. There's no center speaker. Instead, the dual two-way design includes two drivers at top, which create a phantom center by summing to mono. The bottom two drivers handle the front left and right channels. Designer Mike Park said he decided to do on-walls because of demand in Europe, where it's inadvisable to poke holes in the walls of historic buildings. The demo featuring Chris Isaak was one of the sonic high points of the show. High-end consumers will want to demo these on-walls. Oh, and that thing in the picture? It's an in-ground sub -- imagine the terror.
"Disappearing in-walls" is the concept behind a new Def Tech architectural speaker line. These in-walls install without much fuss or spackling. Small diameters, hidden flanges, and low-profile micro-perf grilles make them nearly invisible. Pivoting aluminum tweeters make them versatile. Woofers range in size from 3.5 to 6.5 inch and pricing starts at $179 per speaker.
Everyone's favorite Finnish loudspeaker company showed the 5041a in-wall sub. It's got two 6.5-inch drivers mated with the external RAM3 amp and will sell in the $3000-4000 range. In other Genelec models -- including the 12-inch monitor, 15-inch monitor, center, and on-wall models -- the amps formerly located on the back of the enclosures have been changed to in-rack amplification. Installers and customers spoke and Genelec listened.