As you might imagine, Panasonic is bullish on 3D, claiming that 32 percent of TV sales will be 3D by 2014. And as echoed by many TV manufacturers, demand for Internet-connected TVs will increase dramatically in the coming few years. Panasonic's Viera Cast has evolved into Viera Connect, complete with a Viera Connect Market for apps.
Like Samsung, Panasonic has increased the size of its plasma screens this year54-inchers grow to 55, and 58 becomes 60. Improved performance includes greater 3D crosstalk reduction, deeper blacks thanks to new louvre filters, 30 percent more brightness with new phosphors, and 25 percent lower power consumption. (No mention was made about incorporating more Kuro technology in the new sets.) A total of 27 new models in five lines will be introduced in 2011, including the ST30 series (pictured here on the left), an entry-level 3D model with Viera Connect and Infinite Black 2 panel. ON the right is the step-up GT30 with a thinner bezel than last year and THX certification.
Panasonic announced two new LCD projectors, the 720p PT-AX100U ($2,999) and the 1080p PT-AE1000U (no price yet) which you see here. The AX100 has an auto-iris and “Smooth Screen” technology to reduce the screen door effect. The AE1000 has a glass lens, auto-iris, 14-bit gamma correction, and a claimed 11,000:1 contrast ratio for the AE1000. Priced right, this one could be very cool.
Paradigm had more new speaker models than I saw in any one place at the whole show, topped off by the company's flagship range, the new Signature V.2 series. The Signature designs feature all new drivers with P-Be pure-beryllium dome tweeters (actually fabricated from a thin sheet of beryllium, not vapor-deposited) and CoIA (CObalt-Infused pure-Aluminum) woofer cones. The line tops out with the S8, six-driver, 3-way, at $6500/pair).The models ahould all be available in November and December (2006), except for the new surrounds (early 2007)
Approximately 87 percent of all speaker models introduced at the show were from Paradigm. Bill VanderMarel shows off the new Signature line with beryllium tweeter. Even more significant, to me, is the fourth-gen revision of the Studio line--the second-gen Studio/20 happens to be my longtime reference speaker--with the aluminum tweeter upgraded to a better one and the polymer woofer giving way to satin-anodyzed aluminum. Highlight of the revised Monitor series is a new and larger version of Paradigm's classic budget bookshelf model, the Titan. Millenia is the new "lifestyle" line, and there are in-walls galore.
In addition to their larger Signature V.2 speakers, Paradigm also showed a bookshelf 2-way, the Model S1 at $1600/pair, and this cute UTE center channel, the Model C1, at $900 each. It's not much wider than a big laptop. I'm intrigued by the possibility of using three C1s across the front, if the speaker's horizontal off-axis response is up to the job. The physical layout, with the vertical orientation of the midrange and tweeter (the smallest center channel design I've seen using this arrangement) is a good first step in that direction. As in the other new Signature speakers, these both sport the new Paradigm pure-beryllium tweeter.
Chief Twit Leo Laporte and I visit several booths at CES 2011 to see what's new, including passive 3D at LG, glasses-free 3D at Toshiba, future technologies at Sony, and an amazing "video room" at Sharp. Along the way, Leo and I discuss the state of home theater as we navigate our way through the crowded aisles of the Central Hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Would you believe that Polk's THX Ultra2-certified RTS-100 in-wall and RTS-105 in-ceiling models were among the best-sounding speakers of any kind at CEDIA? It's true. Polk also showed off a shrewd sub-concealment strategy that involves hiding the driver beneath a floor grate, shown here in cutaway.
Auralex Acoustics quietly showed off their latest offering in home theater acoustical treatment. The new SonoSuede System looks great, is designed to be a do-it-yourself project, and is reasonably (as far as room treatment packages go) affordable. Different color combinations are available, and you can custom order other colors if you simply must have something to match that special designer couch you bought. The SonoSuede System package has a suggested retail of $1199.
I spent much of my first full day at CEDIA Expo scoping out the new 1080p video projectors. I still have more to see, but it's already evident that this is the big story of the show, unless you're into various forms of home automation, which is always a big CEDIA story.
Paul Barton has been putting his legendary ear (actually, both of them) to work in an overhaul of the Stratus line. He's bringing over the liquid-cooled aluminum dome tweeters and fiberglass woofers from the even higher-end Platinum line and promises furniture-grade cabinetry like the gleaming gloss-black beauties shown here. They are the GT1 tower ($1999/pair), GB1 bookshelf ($1099/pair), and GC1 center ($849/each). Strong bass and a sweet midrange are givens. These may become the midpriced high-end speakers to beat.