Opoma continued its reputation of having the biggest screen at the show. It was well over 10-feet wide, and the new HD8200 projector (discussed far below) was putting up a bright image even at that size. The image was also crisp and detailed. The color was clearly off (with fleeting hints of too much green, especially in flesh tones), but that's a calibration issue and should be easily fixable. l
JVC’s TH-SB100 raises the soundbar to a new level. Not only does it ship with a BD-Live capable Blu-ray player, this “3.1-channel” system includes left, right and center channels plus a wireless subwoofer for the boom king. Ok, like all “wireless” speakers we’ve seen AC is required, but you get the drift. Available in April for $699.
OK, I added the "sinister" part. But doesn’t it still sound like a super secret weapon employed by an evil genius in a Bond flick? Sharp showed two new BD players at CES. The most compelling of the two is the BD-HP22U, which is BD-Live out of the gate, including 2GB of onboard storage and a USB port that can be used to expand storage capacity and upload new firmware. The audio decoding is murkier- Sharp’s reps and the logos on the player indicate decoding capability for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. The press release is only specific on its ability to output the advanced codecs as native bitstreams. The BDP-HP22U will be available in May for $299.
Epson demonstrated its top of the line ProCinema 7500UB LCD projector at CEDIA. It looked excellent there, but after undergoing further refinements to smooth out some pre-production wrinkles, its finally ready for prime time, with one of the best-looking images at the show. With a claimed native contrast ratio of 6000:1, it didn't appear to need the help of a dynamic iris (though it has one) to produce convincingly deep and rich blacks. Worked great with an anamorphic lens, too, on a 101" wide Stewart Studiotek 130 projection screen. The projector uses an HQV REON processor, has a full color management system, red, green, and blue-only modes for setup, and a claimed tight color alignment of the three panels. The best part may be the $4199 price.
SIM2's Domino 60 single-chip 1080p DLO was making sweet pictures on a 2.35:1 screen together with a static anamorphic lens from Panamorph. The projector can process the image so that a conventional 1.78:1 image will be properly proportioned when it passes through the lens. $8300 for the projector and Panamorph (the projector is also available separately).
Got $36,495 burning a hole in your pocket? SIM2 has an answer in the new C3X Lumis HOST. According to SIM2, this 1080p, compact 3-chip DLP projector produces excellent blacks thanks to its Dynamic Black auto iris and modulated projection lamp. The "host" part is an outboard processor/input switching box included in the price (not shown in the photo). It did produce an outstanding image.
HDMI Licensing LLC, who won a Technology and Engineering Emmy for their contribution of the HDMI™ single cable audio and video standard, has announced the development of a new HDMI specification beyond the current 1.3 version.
While not final, it is expected that the new standard will include transfer of Ethernet over the new HDMI cable. The other significant addition will be an “audio return channel.” Currently when a source—say, your HD satellite—is connected directly to a TV, an optical audio cable must be connected to an AV receiver to hear your satellite programming in surround sound. This new bi-directional feature brings it back to a single connection that will send the sound back to AV receiver without the need for an additional cable. Woohoo! We’re getting closer to a single cable connection, I’m all for that type of simplicity. Go HDMI!
The Paradigm Seismic 110 sub has a rounded top, and to complement the Millenia Series speakers, a diecast chassis. And it makes the best picture. But the Paradigm subs that will really raise eyebrows are the marginally less photogenic Sub 12 ($1999) and Sub 15 ($2999), each of which has dual 800-watt amps and dual voice coils driving a single cone. Why? More output, better control, less distortion. And there's USB input for fine tuning via the Perfect Bass Kit.
The Suite 7.1HD surround preamp-processor from Audio Design Associates, second from bottom in picture, supports Dolby Volume as well as the new lossless surround codecs. It costs $5500 and will ship in a few months. There are eight HDMI ins and two outs, which should cover every high-def contingency known to humankind. Rather than introduce new amps, ADA is sticking with the existing PTM-6150 and -8150, which is absolutely the right decision, as they are (I'll stick my neck out) the best outboard surround amplifiers in the industry.
Arabesque, from the Crystal Cable folks, is the second manufacturer we know of (in addition to Waterfall) to use glass enclosures. The faceted design of this floorstander came about after the company realized that a curved glass enclosure wouldn't be possible -- but it looks great.
DLS designs its products in Sweden and has them assembled in Taiwan with enclosures from China. But the company designs and manufactures its own drivers. The M Line includes the M66 tower, for $3500/pair, plus the MC66 center, M60 monitor, and M Sub 10.
Which some might construe as weightist. The composite fiberglas, carbon fiber, and resin enclosure makes damping material unnecessary. Two 9-inch woofers share the enclosure with a 6.5-inch mid and 1.1-inch tweeter. The $32,000 pricetag (per pair) may seem stiff but the composite enclosure trickles down to the monitor-size Super Octave. Morel also offers three Sound Spot satellites, all of which have coaxial drivers in a metal pedestal enclosure, but the drivers differ, so pricing ranges from $1500 to $2000 to $2500. The best version has a resin-covered silk tweeter.
Phase Technology's Teatro PC310 ($1200) has three 5.25-inch woofers, five 1.5-inch soft dome midranges, and three 1-inch soft dome tweeters, some of which you see here, and some of which are mounted at the sides. Imaging was wide, the feel was smooth and natural (more so than most sound bars), and if the regular one-size grille doesn't match your flat panel display, you can have one custom cut.