Projectiondesign's press conference concentrated on the Optix SuperWide 235 (around $39,000 with a standard lens), whose DLP imaging chip boasts a native resolution of 2560x1600, though this model uses only 1080 horizontal lines. This projector can display any aspect ratio from 1.33:1 to 2.40:1 at constant height without needing an anamorphic lens or zoom memories, which rob the image of brightness. For wide-screen Blu-rays, it scales the image vertically and horizontally using Sigma Designs VXP processing and two custom FPGA (field-programmable gate array) chips to fill the 2560x1080 pixel structure and maintain a 12-bit color depth per channel.
The demo was shown on a 13-foot-wide Da-Lite Affinity screen (1.1 gain) with a hand-built prototype with only one of two lamps in operation, so we were seeing a peak-level of about 7.5 foot-lamberts. Clips from Paul Blart: Mall Cop and Spider-Man 3 looked quite good, though I would not have chosen Paul Blartwhat an awful movie!
At the high end of SIM2's extensive projector lineup is the Teatro 50 (single-lamp, 5000 lumens, $60,000) and 80 (dual-lamp, 8000 lumens, $70,000). As you might guess from the prices, both are 3-chip designs.
Like Runco, SIM2 is taking a dual-projection approach to 3D. In this case, however, two C3X Lumis 3-chip DLP projectors are stacked in a frame for $80,000. And instead of using polarization or active-shutter glasses, SIM2 decided to go with Infitec color filters, the same technology used in Dolby 3D, which means it does not require a special screen. The projection filters can be moved in and out of the light path much like an anamorphic lens on a sled to accommodate 3D and 2D, for which the system can shine 2500 and 6000 lumens, respectively.
As I was walking back from the Runco press conference, I passed a huge room occupied by chip maker Analog Devices, so I stopped in to see what it had cooking. I'm glad I didamong the demos was a new audio processor intended to give soundbars the ability to reproduce a true 3D soundfield, and it worked shockingly well.
In addition to the D-73d 3D projector, Runco unveiled another dual-chassis model, the Q-1500d LED-illuminated DLP projector, which will list for $39,000. With two light sources, this is the brightest LED-powered projector on the market with up to 1400 ANSI lumens, which means it can be used on screens up to 200 inches in size. Also, it can be upgraded to 3D operation.
Also at the Runco press conference was a new line of thin plasmas called Vistage. Interestingly, the rep avoided using the word "plasma," instead calling it a flat panel based on "emissive cell structure." C'mon, it's a plasma! Granted, it has a number of refinements, including optical precision glass and an outboard DHD processor, and it did look quite good in the demo. Three sizes will be available50, 58, and 63 inches for $6000, $8000, and $10,000, respectively.
Runco had a lot to talk about at its press conference, starting with the D-73d 3D projector. As you can see, it looks like two stacked projectors, but the Runco rep insisted that it's one projector with dual single-chip DLP imaging and LED light engines, an approach Runco calls Constant Stereoscopic Video (CSV). Unlike most 3D displays out there today, this one uses circular polarization, which means it needs a special silver screen that the company certifies under its PISCES (Polarized Image Sequence Conservation and Enhancement Standard) program. The high-end polarized glasses are called PreciseLight and can be made as clip-ons and even prescription as well as conventional.
The background stories of most trade shows typically involve too much walking, too much drinking, and too much hyping. And there’s plenty of that to go around here at CEDIA. But one of the good parts of being in the custom installation industry is that, for the most part, the people involved are usually decent, good people. It didn’t take long for me to discover that sometimes forgotten fact on Thursday when I reached down to find my phone not snuggled close to my hip in its holster. After a brief period of panic during which several people heard me cry for my mommy, I ran into friend and past HT Mag contributor, David Birch Jones, who explained that there was such a thing as calling your own phone to see if anyone who might have found it would answer. (I was dumbfounded at the concept!) It didn’t take more than two rings before CEDIA Samaritan, Andrew Bransby of MD Central Vacuums (www.builtinvacuum.com), answered to say that he had indeed found it and was holding it safe at the MD Central Vacuums booth (right across from LG). Thanks, Andrew, you’re a lifesaver!
Atlantic Technology uses cabinet-related techniques developed in collaboration with designer Phil Clements to achieve truly scary deep bass response from small cabinets and 5.25-inch woofers. This H-PAS technology was a highlight of the last CEDIA. At this year's show the floorstanding Model AT-1 ($2500/pair, shipping now) has been joined by the stand-mount Model AT-2 ($1500/pair, shipping February). The demo seemingly defied the laws of physics, achieving the kind of bass you'd expect from a decent midpriced subwoofer, except without the sub. Without even a floorstanding enclosure. We wouldn't have believed it if we hadn't heard it.
The memories of reviewing Arcam's AVR600 and AVR500 receivers are still golden so we were more than pleased to see a third model join the line, the AVR400. It's got HDMI 1.4, Dolby Volume, and seven times 90 watts -- and yeah, we can just hear you saying $2500 for a 90-watt receiver? Based on our experiences with the two previous models, the power spec is honest, and we expect nothing less than stupendous sound when it comes in for review, soon we hope. Ships in December.
While Procella did not have any new product to show at CEDIA 2010, it did demonstrate a concept it had talked about before: the first THX-certified screening room. Designed and constructed to THX specs by Epic Home Cinema, it featured products from Runco, Integra, QSC, Meridian, and Stewart. More details here. Played at THX reference level, the sound was loud enough to shave ear hairs at a thousand paces, with especially tuneful and delicious bass, something almost unheard of at a trade show. Chuck Back was kind enough to pose for a scale pic of the P18 sub but blinked while our auto-focus was taking its time. Apologies.
Jon Herron was kind enough to pose next to Wisdom Audio's STS sub, with dual 15-inch woofers in a fridge-size cabinet that can vent through front or side. It is up to 101dB sensitive, make that 130dB at 20Hz, and don't try that at home. Price $10,000, shipping end of month. See item by Tom Norton.
Simaudio's Moon CP-8 pre-pro is one of the few to include Audyssey MultEQ XT auto setup and room correction, because really, purchasers of a $13,000 pre-pro should not have to envy their receiver-owning neighbors. HDMI has been updated to (ahem) 1.3 which at least provides definitive coverage of lossless surround. Regarding 3D, the company says most installers and their customers are going to use outboard video processors anyway. Pair the pre-pro with the MC-8 amp, 250 watts per module, $22,000 in its seven-channel version.
These three-channel LCR bars from Artison deliver the center channel from the top, and the left and right channels at the bottom. Without grilles they're only 1.8 inches deep. The Masterpiece is $2500, the Portrait $1800, and the Sketch $1200.