Second Day of CEDIA Surprises
Tucked away in the back corner of JVC's off-site D-ILA demonstration hotel suite, a pair of JVC DLA-HD2K projectors were lighting up a larger-than-120-inch rear-projection screen wall. At first, the image looked horribly out of alignment - as if I had a severe case of double vision despite the fact that I hadn't been drinking (heavily) at a press dinner the night before - until Richard LaBerge, the co-founder of SENSIO handed me what looked like a simple pair of polarized sunglasses, and the image on the screen exploded with color and depth. That's depth as in 3-dimensional Depth. Not that "oh, this TV picture looks so good it gives you a real sense of depth" kind of stuff. This was the kind of 3D that makes you take a step backwards or duck out of the way when an image reaches out of the screen to touch you. Yeah, this was the best 3D demonstration I've ever seen - including the IMAX and Universal Studios offerings. While SENSIO currently has a consumer 3D device, the S3D-100 (which is pretty darn good, by the way), this particular product is aimed at the professional markets. SENSIO's goal, however, is that the technology will eventually trickle down and eventually be included in every high-definition DVD player. I hope so. This demo was the best of HDTV and the best of 3D brought together by a cheap pair of sunglasses. It's just about impossible to describe the sensation of seeing a giant sea turtle - a highly defined animated IMAX sea turtle - swim out and try to touch your nose. Ditto for the full-motion 3D footage from Bugs! and the mixed animation/full-motion The Adventures of Shark Boy & Lava Girl in 3D clip.
Another eye-catching TV technology was SunBriteTV's 32-inch all-weather high-definition LCD TV. The HD-compatible screen is built within an all-weather powder-coated aluminum enclosure that protects all the internal components from dirt, dust, insects, scratches, rain, as well as most of the other nasty things Mother Nature can throw at it. It's designed for permanent outdoor installations; and while you might think it's only for hotels, restaurants, and amusement parks SunBriteTV says it's also quite at home on back patios or by the pool. SunBriteTV has a 20.1-inch model, too.
Klipsch is known for home speakers, but aside from all the new in-wall and in-ceiling speakers on display at their booth (including new in-wall versions of their THX Ultra2 home theater system) the thing I found most interesting was Klipsch's "On-the-Go iPod Audio System" called the iJam. Yes, it looks like a boom box - Klipsch even refers to it as a "new digital 'boom box' system that takes audiophile-quality Klipsch sound anywhere." The "man's purse", as one attendee I heard call it, uses dual 4.5-inch woofers with coaxial mounted tweeters on the front plus a passive radiator on the back. It's battery operated, comes with an A/C adapter, includes a built-in FM tuner, and charges all dockable iPods. The iJam's centrally located iPod dock has a roller-coaster-like bar to hold the player securely while you're struttin' your stuff. Other MP3 players can be connected via a stereo mini-jack input (but they won't look nearly as cool as an iPod in the belly of this beast.)
Speaking of iPods, there were a gazillion and one iPod-in-the-home gadgets on display at CEDIA. Everything from Klipsch-partner Zon Audio's iPod dock to Russound's iBridge adapter and iBridge dock all the way to high-end manufacturer ADA's iBase and iBase eXtender. Each system offers its own variation of iPod control and metadata readout from any zone in your house.
One more day, one hundred more booths to go…