LG and Netflix announced the fruits of a previously inked partnership: the new LG BD300 Network Blu-ray Disc Player that’s the world’s first Blu-ray disc player to be able to instantly stream movies and TV episodes from Netflix (if you have a Netflix subscription).
I arrive in Denver, Colorado – the city still awash with Democratic campaign paraphernalia (much of it for sale in a tent outside the convention center) – to attend the umpteenth CEDIA convention in my long and storied career. I came with visions of large, flat-panel HDTVs hanging everywhere, including in my hotel room as befits such an esteemed member of the press as I. But, alas, all I found waiting for me in the Sheraton was this lowly Philips 27 (or thereabouts)-inch, definitely low-def, analog TV sporting a CRT that’s almost as curved as my stomach after a late-night drink-laden press dinner. The only consolation is that at least there are plenty of channels for me not to watch since I’ll only see this room for maybe six hours a night (well, “see” the room is a generous term).
Aton’s HDR44 can take four HD (up to 1080p) or SD sources along with their associated audio signals (plus pass IR commands) and distribute them to up to four zones using dual Cat 5 cables. If that’s not enough for you, you can add a second HD router and expand the distribution up to eight zones; although four sources is still the limit. The $1,899 HDR44 Kit includes one HD Video Router, 4 surface-mount receivers, and a system remote control. Additional routers are $1,299.
There are 12 coffee can sized driver housing lined up facing each other and porting out that long slot you see. It takes four of these units in total to get the THX seal of approval during install, but the price of $7,000 is actually pretty reasonable compared to a couple of $3,000 discrete subs.
Panasonic has a new LCD video projector, the PT-AE3000. While it looks identical to its predecessor, the PT-AE2000, it includes a number of new features and enhanced specs. It now claims a dynamic range (peak contrast ratio) of 60,000:1, a light output of 1600 lumens. Features include 120Hz operation with the added frames interpolated (hopefully the interpolation can be turned off!). The most exciting feature is a Lens memory that can save different settings for zoom and focus so that you can do constant height projection on a 2.35:1 screen without using an anamorphic lens. $3500, in October.
Mitsubishi showed off their new Diamond line 1080p front projector at the show. The HC7000 uses three tweaked in D6 LCD panels and delivers a 72,000:1 contrast ratio with their dynamic iris system along with 1000 lumens. It also runs at a silent 17db.
Remote control behemoth manufacturer Universal Remote Control is now offering control dimmers, lamp dimmers, and switches that work with a large number the company’s universal remote controls. The dimmers and such are made by lighting behemoth manufacturer Lutron specifically for URC. The system is ideal for single rooms (like home theaters) or small homes, and I’ve never seen a system in which it was so easy to program various lighting control scenes. It literally takes minutes and you’re done. Dimming switches are around $150 each, but there’s nothing extra that’s needed to make the remote controls work with the switches.
The brushed nickel plated finish of new Audio Design Associates components immediately grabs the eye. For surround buffs the big news is the PTM-7200 amp with seven channels times 450 watts into four ohms. It's ADA's first Class D product. Mate it with the Cinema Rhapsody Mach IV pre-pro with eight HDMI 1.3 ins and two outs, which incidentally gives it something in common with the new Suite 7.1 HD switcher. No word on pricing yet. Shipping first quarter of 2009.