So lighting won’t make your home theater sound better, or will it? No, it really won’t, but it might make you think your home theater sounds better – and even if it doesn’t, it’ll definitely make your room look better. Traxon Technologies is a company that offers just about any kind of colorful – and changeable – lighting products, from strip lights to panels to, well, you name it. The lighting system I saw had a simple, programmable controller that let you change the colors of the lighting as well as program a schedule of color changes. You could even do a disco floor if you wanted to, but I think that definitely would make your home theater sound bad.
Microsoft announced the winner of its Ultimate Install Contest in a corporate suite at Coors Field before the Colorado Rockies took on the Houston Astros—and lost. The Jumbotron's depressing announcement only added to the crowd's growing disappointment.
Stewart launched a new cosmetic and convenience option for its retractable, non-masking screens. It's called Cabaret, and is available in a wide range of standard and custom colors, together with decorative lighting (assumably switchable during actual use!.) The convenience part is that the screen case may be cantilevered out from the wall by several inches--enough to mount a flat panel behind it.
This is the latest trend in whole house mobility. Face it, you'll be in the kitchen, the den, the bedroom, the bathroom or the garage with your iPod Touch not far from hand. But nobody carries around a remote. Other companies making the iPod Touch part of their tool drawer include SpeakerCraft. The ability is there, why not use it?
D-Box is showing up everywhere now with home theater seating manufacturers integrating it more and more. D-Box was showing their new platform system at their booth, which allows you to integrate their motion experience into your existing seating without the expense of buying new chairs.
One of the big themes are CEDIA this year was 3D, and Da-Lite was in the thick of it with a new screen material called 3D Virtual Grey (though I would have used the American spelling "Gray"). Designed for 3D applications, the material is said to retain 99% of the incident light's polarization, which is the key to achieving a good 3D effect using polarized light and passive glasses. The demo looked quite good, smoother than most I've seen, which could be due in part to the fact that the real-life material was shot stereoscopically with two cameras and the CGI was created specifically for 3D.
Video guru Joe Kane was demonstrating the Samsung SP-A800B projector that he helped design (review forthcoming), but it wasn't on a Stewart screen as usual. Instead, he was using a new screen material he developed with Da-Lite. Dubbed JKP Affinity (JKP = Joe Kane Productions), the new material is exceedingly flat with no diffusing granules as on many types of projection screens. This is said to improve flat-field uniformity and depth of modulation by reducing light scatter, leading to greater detail and contrast because adjacent areas of the image don't interfere with each other. The current material has a gain of 0.9 and should be available in a few weeks. The demo was impressive indeed, with exceptional detail and uniformity; can't wait to shine my light on one.
Fred already posted a photo of SpeakerCraft's Pod City booth, but he didn't tell you about the amazing performance presented therein thrice daily. Resembling Cirque du Soleil, this LA-based troupe is called Lucent Dossier, and the story they told was one of dark dreams, zombie tap-dancing gone awry, and evil flying monkey men seduced by a beautiful belly dancer. You really had to be there…
In these tough economic times, oh wait, I’m reading from a 3”x5” card left over from last week’s convention. Anyway, times are tough if your dealer base is heavily invested in new home construction. So SpeakerCraft is doing something about re-edumicating them. Laugh all you will, and you will because SpeakerCraft VP of Marketing Dave Donald will make you, but their common sense business practices are a clear value added to their dealer clientele, many of whom know their “craft” but not necessarily how to survive and prosper. Hats off to CEO Jeremy Burkhardt for the advice. I’m stealing some ideas for a completely unrelated business (especially the one about not letting yours sales staff dictate what you sell), because they simply make great sense!
"Disappearing in-walls" is the concept behind a new Def Tech architectural speaker line. These in-walls install without much fuss or spackling. Small diameters, hidden flanges, and low-profile micro-perf grilles make them nearly invisible. Pivoting aluminum tweeters make them versatile. Woofers range in size from 3.5 to 6.5 inch and pricing starts at $179 per speaker.
Denon's receiver demos made good use of Dynamic Volume technology licensed from Audyssey. If the dynamics of action movie soundtracks are too much for you, you'll like the way Dynamic Volume keeps voices constant but curbs the more brutal excesses of effects -- by monitoring the signal, not just the room. If you watch TV programs via your receiver, it'll help tame those blaring ads too. Dynamic Volume is available as a firmware upgrade for some existing models. New models shown by Denon included the two-zone/two-source AVR1909, 90 watts times seven; the AVR989, 115 watts; the AVR889, 100 watts; and the AVR789, 90 watts. All have onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD.
One of the first products to come to market using DIGI-5 technology for signal distribution over Cat 5 cables is Aton’s DH44 digital audio router. It routes 4 audio sources to 4 zones using Cat 5 wiring. One touted benefit of DIGI-5 is that the amplified touchpads that are used in each of the zones can provide higher power – Aton claims up to 30 watts/channel – than traditional analog-based systems.
Runco wasn't the only brand with a new in-wall rear-pro. Digital Projection was showing its Titan RP97, which mounts a Titan 1080p-500 projector behind a 97-inch-diagonal "optical black screen" with 0.85 gain that completely rejects ambient light. Touting this system as an alternative to large-screen plasmas (think Panasonic's 103-inch monster), it's fully self-contained and supports its own weight so the wall doesn't have to. You'll shell out $100,000 for it, but the Panasonic 103 is even more than that, making the Titan RP97 a bargain.