Yes, it's only 2-channel, but the new Classe CP-800 preamp may be a taste of the future for such devices. Scheduled to ship in January 2010 for under $6000, it incorporates digital inputs, including coaxial, optical, and USB (asynchronous with proprietary clocking, a significant feature for us audio propeller heads), with on-board D/A conversion. Full support for Apple's transportable iProducts is also included. There are analog inputs as well, which can be set up for direct analog pass-through analog sourcesor even as a pass through for the front channels of a full surround system. The outputs can even be programmed to drive one or more subwoofers, together with bass management and parametric EQ. The subs can be set up to operate on some inputs but not others. Both remote control and a graphical user interface with a touchscreen are part of the package.
The Sharp 3D projector mentioned in our report on Wednesday's press conference was on demonstration on the show floor. Within the limits of the available animated material, in this case Despicable Me, it looked amazingly good. At a projected price of around $5000, give or take, it's one of the least expensive 3D projectors we've seen so far. And with a 250W UHP lamp, it was also plenty bright, at least in 3D terms, on an 87" wide, Stewart Studiotek 130 screen.
At $15,000, the new LG CF3D, shown here vertically behind a highly reflective glass case, utilizes two separate optical paths to provide a full 1920 x 1080 3D image using polarized passive glasses on a silvered screen. The demo, however, was disappointing. While the booth was not light controlled, the main problem was a very soft-looking image. Teething or setup problems, perhaps? The projector is in production now, and will be available here in November.
There are, at present, two ways to view 2.35 movies on a 1920 x 1080 HD projector. First, you can tolerate the black bars on a 16:9 screen (or use a 2.35:1 screen and zoom the image out to let the black bars spill off the top and bottom). Second, you can use an anamorphic lens, together with video processing, on that same 2.35:1 screen. Engineers at Projectiondesign have a third way. Working with Texas Instruments, they have incorporated a 2538 x 1600 0.9"DLP chip into their new Avielo Optix SuperWide 235, a single-chip, 2-lamp, 2D digital projector. Using a 2538 x 1080 central area of this chip, they can project a 2.35:1 image onto the screen with 1080 pixels of vertical resolution.
No, KEF hasn’t invented an invisible-wall speaker, although it might look that way from the display. In fact, KEF’s new custom-installed ceiling speakers boast a smaller, enclosed PC board crossover that helps reduce the amount of environmentally unfriendly chemicals required in the production of the speakers. Despite the “green” nature of the speakers, KEF wisely chose to keep the color of the slim bezels and magnetically attached grilles white which will still let them cosmetically match the “greenest” of homes.
KEF’s new T-series of super-slim speakers – claimed by KEF to be one of the world’s thinnest, high-performance home theater and flat-panel audio systems – combine two big innovations: a new super-duper-slim bass and midrange driver; and a large, fully vented new tweeter developed straight from the company’s high-end Concept Blade project. The cabinets are only 35mm deep and looked really excellent hanging on the wall next to the flat-panel TV in the booth. Two different satellites are available ($499/pair and $349/each) and systems with matching subwoofers start at $1,499.
FOSI wants you to see stars in your home theater – and not just on your big screen. The company’s star ceiling panels – like this 8-foot x 12 foot version – contain thousands of individual fiber optic cables that take light from three central light sources (either halogen or LED-based lamps) and create astronomically correct reproductions of the night sky on your theater (or other) room’s ceiling. Panels can be ordered in flat black or cloud-sky painted models. This particular setup included over 5,000 fiber optic runs to create a September night sky that included a comet, several shooting stars, and the ability to erupt into a brilliant fireworks display. Without the fireworks lighting, the DIY version – in which you get the fiber optic cables and a complete, full-size template for where to drill the holes for the cables in your own panel – starts at around $2,000. As far as a professionally installed, fully tricked out version with fireworks and a night sky that’s exactly the way you want it from a certain date in history (your wedding night or the evening the Normans invaded England, for example, either of which could be considered the start of epic battles) can cost, well, the sky’s the limit.
No, it didn’t fly while I was there, but a life-size (?) version of the flying robot from the famous THX movie trailer stood mute witness in the Integra booth that Integra has oodles of THX-approved gear. (Oodles – yeah, that’s a technical term. Now that I think of it, Oodles would be a good name for the robot itself. I may name my next kid, Oodles, I like it so much – the name, not the kid…)
Among all the super-expensive projectors at CEDIA, some of the biggest buzz has been about Epson's entry into the LCoS market, which turns out not to be entirely true. In fact, Epson has developed a new but related imaging technology it calls "3LCD Reflective," which is basically liquid crystal on quartz instead of silicon. (Keep in mind that quartz is silicon dioxide, so maybe it's not that different after all.)
Calibrator extraordinaire Kevin Miller was demonstrating Epson's latest flagship, the THX-certified 9700UB, which has two primary improvements over the previous 9500UBprocessing for a fixed anamorphic lens and better panel alignment. (We got right up next to the screen, and the alignment was indeed superb.) Also, all controls remain active in THX mode, which is great news for those who understand that no projector can be perfectly calibrated at the factory, because it depends on the screen and environment. Clips from Alice in Wonderland and Remember the Titans looked amazing on a 96-inch-wide Stewart Studiotek 130, even with a calibrated light output of only 450 lumens.