Famous for in-wall and in-ceiling speakers, SpeakerCraft decided to go back to its founders' roots with the new Roots standalone speakers, which include three 2-way satellites and two subwoofers (one of which is shown in red here). A similar design aesthetic was applied to the FloBox, which combines the Vital 250 integrated amp with a speaker system that includes a 5.25-inch woofer, two 3-inch midrange drivers, and two 0.75-inch tweeters.
I've seen plenty of integrated amps with iPod docks, but the Vital 250 from SpeakerCraft is the first I've seen with an iPad dock. It provides 50Wpc and a Cirrus Logic upconversion chip intended to improve the sound of compressed MP3 files for $700.
The new Sharp ZV2-1700 is the first new 3D projector we've officially heard about at the show, but we know it won't be the last. It's a 1-chip DLP. Like the Quattron 3D sets it comes with 2 pair of active 3D shutter glasses. These are triggered not only by a IR link, but by DLP-Link as well. The latter places invisible white frames into the image periodically to trigger the glasses, which works better than the usual IR link for larger, more widely seated audiences—more likely with a projector than with a flat panel display.
When Sharp introduced its new four-color Quattron sets at last winter's CES, they were met with a collective, "Fine, but where's the 3D." Sharp's Quarttron launch may have been buried in an avalanche of 3D news at that time, but the company knew that it had 3D designs waiting in the wings.
It includes 35 test patterns for everyone from beginners to experts and will be available November 2 on both Blu-ray and DVD. BD copies disappeared almost instantly from the press room. See TWICE and Disney press release at Engadget HD.
Meridian plans to address itself in a more targeted fashion to affluent consumers who are not necessarily techies, we learned after arriving early to a press party at the Georgia Aquarium and wandering into a dealer meeting. The company, famed for its bleeding-edge DSP-driven active loudspeakers also plans to discontinue any products (such as passive speakers and amps) that don't bear the "Meridian DNA." That would be roughly half its line. New products to be officially announced in January include the DSP3200 flexible-mount compact digital active loudspeaker and the Audio Core 200, a stereo audio controller/hub that brings together myriad audio sources, connecting them via SpeakerLink to any of Meridian’s DSP speakers. The Aquarium contains the world's largest tank full of amazing aquatic life. And the Cerviche Shooters were fabulous.
As part of a suite of energy saving products aimed at saving up to as much as 60 percent of home energy usage, Lutron is introducing a plug-in appliance module that will integrate with the company’s current RadioRA2 lighting control system. The new module turns off standby power to electronic appliances when not in use, which Lutron says can save up to 10 percent of a home’s electricity usage. Installation is simple: plug the appliance into the module, and then plug the module into the wall. After installed and programmed into a RadioRA2 system, appliance control can be incorporated into whole-house scenes, such as “Goodnight” and “Away”. Scheduled to be available in December of this year, the module will have a list price of $149.
Dolby Digital Plus hasn't gotten much attention since its debut a few years ago. But it's the best lossy surround codec from Dolby Labs, with greater efficiency, scalability, and the potential for finer-grained sound quality than its older brother Dolby Digital. Now it's finding relevance via Vudu, one of the licensed ways that IP programming is getting into TVs. The DD+ stream can also convert to old-school DD for decoding in legacy gear, but with DD+ capable surround products (most of them nowadays) you'll get near-lossless quality.
The custom speaker giant showed the FloBox and FloBox Mini personal music systems, which include iPod/iPhone/iPad docks, and a CD slot in the larger model. The Vital receiver line is being expanded to include the Vital 250 stereo integrated amp, also with iThing (our term) dock. We were also intrigued by Roots, the company's first box speakers, including three satellite models and two subs in five colors. The subs have boundary compensation, notch filters, and other useful adjustments. The company continues to be a major power in custom install speakers, including the BoomTomb, an outdoor subwoofer that can be buried, emitting bass through a port that communicates with ground level. All products ship by year-end. In his discussion of the economic climate, Jeremy Burkhardt said 15 percent of the company's dealers had gone out of business, but there was virtually no bad debt among the ones who remained. He urged the press to tell dealers that they need to transcend old ways of thinking if they want to survive even tougher times ahead.
Stepladders, forklifts, crates, cartons, and loads of loads of gear were flying around on the final day before the show. But the setup was arduous for the people doing it -- in part because the powers that be at the Georgia World Congress Center decided it was not necessary to turn on the air conditioning in the vast exhibit space.
Cirago’s CMC3000 wasn’t the only cool device they had to show this morning. The HDX3DV01 (HydraDisplayPort to 3 DVI Multimonitor Adapter – now that’s a mouthful) is a plug-and-play device that works with any computer possessing a DisplayPort output to give you support for up to three DVI monitors – without any additional software required. Cirago says there’s no latency, so it’s perfect for gamers who want to extend their view. Supposedly (actually, I know this to be true myself), using multiple monitors will increase your productivity on the computer – provided you’re not spending your time playing games – up to 42 percent. That alone ought to help pay for the $179 you’ll (gladly) shell out for this uber-cool adapter. Cirago also told me that you can upgrade a non-DisplayPort computer for about $72 to give you the DisplayPort output you’ll need to use with the HDX3DV01.
No, it’s not made by Victorinox, it’s made by Cirago – but it has so many features it could well be considered the Swiss Army knife of multimedia centers. For $249, the Cirago CMC3000 starts off as a 1 TB NAS drive with a 1080p HDMI 1.3 output with built-in LAN networking, analog video recording, internet radio station access, and a slew of supported video formats (including H.264, divx, wmv, mkv, and mov). You can also watch Hulu, Netflix, and YouTube video using PlayOn (the box includes a $20 off coupon) or TVersity. It even comes with a real, adult-size remote control instead of one of those cheap tiny things you usually get with these types of devices. Pretty cool.
Oh, the joys of attending a convention. It cost me $10 to ride 2 blocks (I didn’t know I could have actually hoofed it) from my hotel to the restaurant last night, so it’s a good thing CEDIA offers free bus rides from the various hotels located here in Atlanta to the convention center. Once at the convention center, however, I ran into a very surreal catch-22 situation when the Nazi security people wouldn’t let me go to the press room without a badge. Unfortunately, the only way to get a press badge was to walk through the convention center. Even after I sweet talked a regular registration person into escorting me through security, the stormtrooper stationed at the entrance to the show floor wasn’t pleased with letting us pass. I’m just thankful that the security people aren’t packing heat…
CEDIA is giving Joel Spira, founder of lighting control manufacturer Lutron Electronics Co., Inc., the organization’s 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award. The award “recognizes an individual who has exhibited outstanding, creative, innovative, and visionary leadership in the growth and advancement of the residential electronic systems industry”. What has Mr. Spira done to deserve such an honor? For starters, he invented the world’s first dimming device back in 1959, which launched Lutron as a company, as well as helped revolutionize the lighting control industry. In the years since, Lutron estimates they have made it possible for owners of the company’s lighting control devices billions of dollars in energy costs – not to mention all the personal benefits of convenience and enhanced lighting ambiance.
Stealth Acoustics has a problem. They don’t want you to see their speakers, especially their newest models called the LinearResponse Series. Although I couldn’t see him, Stealth Acoustics’ representative says the new speakers are an improvement over the previous generation using similar custom carbon-fiber motor and cone-woofer technologies. But the really big enhancement is the use of a new face-panel material that provides a flatter front surface area, which means installers won’t need to pre-plaster or otherwise pre-treat the front face-panel before installation. The new design can be installed and painted or wallpapered over immediately. That’s a huge time-saver, and – as with anything as labor-intensive as custom install projects are – a big money-saver, too.