Among four new receivers from Marantz is the top-line SR8002 ($2450). Like several new receivers at the show, it includes on-board decoding for Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, and both versions of DTS-HD--a trend of which we approve! Look for it in October.
Oh Marantz, why do you put so much goodness in your receivers? 125 watt discrete amplifiers – seven of 'em, 4 HDMI inputs and 2 HDMI outputs (take that "ed"), 3 coaxial and 3 optical digital inputs, Dolby Digital True HD and Dolby Digital Plus decoding, DTS Master Audio decoding, AM/FM/HD radio, XM HD radio. Featuring HDMI 1.3 inputs and outputs, the receiver will repeat out 1080p source signals to the display with no signal loss, as well upconvert composite, s-video and component video to HDMI. Also, the receiver has a case of the massive Toroidal Transformers, which will only hurt your neighbors when you crank things up. I guess with all this goodness, they forgot the phono stage.
I didn't get in to see the new 1080p Marantz VP-15S1 today. The wait was too long, but I'll have a better chance tomorrow. In the meantime, the projector is available either au natural or with an optional anamorphic lens. The PJ itself is half the price of Marantz' VP-11S1 flagship ($20,000), which remains in the line.
If it were just another iPod dock, Meridian could be forgiven. But the iRIS ($390) actually takes video off your iPod – yeah, the sub-standard definition 240x320 pixel package you paid $1.99 for so you could catch up on an episode of Heroes during your staff meeting today – and upconverts it to 1080p. There was some mention that the iRIS will also have an s-video input so you could, according to Bob Stuart of Meridian, pass your laserdisc player's s-video output into the iRIS to take advantage of the Marvell's Qdeo video processing, which might be an interesting option.
In addition to showing the Nanosat Prestige, which uses Mirage's familiar spoon-shaped device to emphasize reflected sound, the brand also showed three new subs including the Prestige S8. The strategy is less acoustic output for the surround and more for the shiny eight-inch woven-fiberglass cone. There's a wet-sanded high-gloss lacquer enclosure outside and 400 watts inside. Look for it in late November.
Mitsubishi announced the HC6000, an update of the HC5000. They seem to have addressed all the issues we had with the 5000, such as the slow iris, and tiny menu size, but kept the things we liked, like the HQV processing and the low price. In fact, that got a bit lower, the HC6000 is “under $4000” and should be available in the middle of October.
Among Monitor's 18 new products are three in-wall/ceiling models. From left to right they are the C380FX ($500/each), W380LCR ($600/each), and C380LCR ($600/each). The latter two feature coaxial driver arrays with an unusual twist: the woofer is convex, not concave, so it follows the shape of the dome tweeter. And the whole driver assembly swivels, so it has a better chance of hitting the right seating position.
The new speaker lines from Mordaunt-Short include the Alumni, shown, with compact satellites, a fairly big center, and sub for $1000. Also new is the larger Mezzo, a step down from the Reference Series, with tweeter top-mounted in separate subenclosure.
Sharp announced a new AQUOS D64U series at Cedia. The 1080p LCD panels are available in four sizes from 42" to 65" in diameter. The 65" LC-65D64U will be available before the month is out and goes for $8,999.99. The 52" LC-52D64U ($3,799.99), 46" LC-46D64U ($2,699.99) and 42" LC-42D64U ($1,999.99) are available now. Sharp has reduced the size of the bezel and thinned out the panel depth by 25% from existing lines.
At $3000, the new T785 is a new high in price for an NAD AV receiver. But it's loaded with features, including 7x120 conservatively rated watts, 4 HDMI 1.3 inputs, the Audyssey MultiEQ XT room correction system, and multichannel audio (PCM) over HDMI (but no on-board decoding for Dolby TrueHD or DTS HD Master Audio.
The bad news is that none of four new receivers have on-board decoding for the new lossless and other Dolby and DTS codecs. The good news is that modular construction will allow updates for this issue, in perhaps a year, and others that may arise. If you don't plan to buy a Blu-ray or HD DVD player soon, and prize NAD's consistent performance and high value, one of these new kids may be the receiver for you. They include the T 785, shown, $2999; T 775, $2499; T 765, $1999; and T 755, $1299.
JVC teased us with some video shot in 4,000 by 2,000 resolution shown on a projector of the same resolution. They even hinted that such resolution was possible in consumer equipment. Don’t hold your breath.
Sony, not to be outdone by other 1080p projector announcements (see below), unveiled the VPL-VW60, a replacement for the VW50. They claim a doubling of the native contrast ratio, and an available anamorphic lens system to watch 2.35:1 movies without black bars (on a 2.35:1 screen). Even cooler, you can align each LCOS (sorry, SXRD) panel to within 0.1 pixels. So any jarring in shipping or installation can be tweaked out to remove any colored halos. It’s shipping this month for “under $5,000.”
We reported on Sony's new VPL-VW60 ($5000) and VPL-VW200 ($15,000) 1080p projectors at Sony's press conference yesterday, but I got to actually see them today. They were exceptional. Both claim dramatically enhanced chip-level contrast relative to prior SXRD projectors, and from the visible evidence this appeared to be the case.
There are trade show days that feature one knock out demo after another, but believe me- not all of them come up roses. We have so much to write about, and trade show demos present so many unknowns and variables that I'm not very quick to criticize based on what I see here let alone to take the time to write about it.