Vizio has announced the new VF551XVT, a 55" LCD HDTV incorporating Vizio's TruLED with Smart Dimming—the company's name for LED backlighting with local dimming. The set also includes Vizio's 240Hz SPS (Scenes per Second) technology. At $2200 (September 2009) it will be the least expensive local dimming set on the market that we know ofat least until November, when Vizio plans to release a 47" version ($1700, SV472XVT). The latter adds a wireless or wired Internet Apps "VIA" feature, which will offer access to content from selected Vizio Internet partners.
Vizio is showing its first Blu-ray player, the VBR100, at $199 MSRP. It is BD Live (Profile 2.0) compatible (requires a separate, user-provided memory card). Multichannel audio formats are output over HDMI only (the player does not have multichannel analog outputs). The player can decode Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, and DTS to LPCM and output them over HDMI (plus native LPCM, of course). It cannot decode DTS-HD Master Audio (or DTS High Resolution) to LPCM; advanced DTS formats are decoded to the DTS "core" track only (generally DTS 5.1 48kHz). The Vizio VBR100 can, however, output all supported Blu-ray Disc audio formats over HDMI in bitstream form (including all DTS high resolution formats), where they may be decoded in a compatible A/V receiver or pre-pro.
Back when digital-to-analog converters were a totally new component product, Wadia was out there will some of the first and best products. That tradition continues with the Wadia 151 PowerDAC mini. It's also a 50-watt stereo amp. Maybe just the thing for your two-channel hideaway. Price: $1195.
It is large, as many of us discovered when we walked through it to get to the Omni for preshow events. Atlanta itself is large, spread out, surprisingly hilly, and not walkable. However, I am grateful to finally attend a CEDIA Expo on the east coast. Perhaps Atlanta will grow on me during the next two CEDIAs, which will return here.
Sometimes it's easy to forget that CEDIA is aimed for custom installers. And installers need tools. The mad dogger from Mad Dog tools was busy demonstrating his all purpose, drill and mixmaster Cujo thingy.
We've got some good news and some hmmm news. The good news is that Windows 7, the not-as-lame-as-Vista operating system now slithering out of Microsoft, will be compatible with Dolby Digital Plus, the newest and hippest of Dolby's lossy audio codecs. The hmmm news is that Windows 7 does not support lossless Dolby TrueHD. At least yet. We say yet not because Dolby said anything about it but because we are incurable optimists who believe in the perfectibility of humanity. Hey Steve Ballmer, when you're done changing your shirt to get rid of those obvious sweat stains, how about supporting lossless surround in your next OS?
Wisdom Audio's Sage Series of high-end speakers will expand at CEDIA to include the L100i and C150i, planar-magnetic, line-source, in-wall models designed to be placed behind acoustically transparent screens. Both include 50-inch-tall planar line-source drivers for the highs and mids and a woofer array for the lowsspecifically, eight woofers in the L100i and 16 in the C150i, which is intended as a center speaker but can be used in the left and right positions as well. Pricing and availability have not yet been disclosed.
After blogging about these in-wall speakers before the show, I was eager to hear them for myself. The demo consisted of some CD selections in 2.1 (using the new SCS subwoofer, about which more in the next post), multichannel audio from DVD concert videos, and a clip from Monsters, Inc. shown on a Screen Research ClearPix2 woven, acoustically transparent screen. The system controller provides Audyssey MultEQ XT and several memories for different setupsmusic, movies, speakers behind a screen or not, etc.and the result sounded great, with deep, clean bass and excellent imaging.
This skinny subwoofer, dubbed the Suitcase Subwoofer (SCS) because of its shape, hardly looks like it can go deep, but it does. Even more surprising is the driver compliment, which consists of two 5x7-inch "woofers" at the mouth of what Wisdom calls a complimentary folded horn. Only the horn's port is visible, and it can be configured to exit the cabinet on the front or either side, making placement very flexible. This serves the company's goal of a sub that can be placed where traditional subs can't, such as behind or under furniture. Power is supplied by a 500W amp, and the list price will be around $4000 when it ships in October.
Yup, they're actually calling it the SCS, and yup, that does stand for "suitcase sub." Companies like this are like manna to journalists. The narrow vertical sub hugs the wall and packs in dual 5x7.5-inch drivers, which yield an active cone area of 12 inches, powered by 300 watts. Probable price $4000, shipping in 30 days. We didn't let it distract us from the excellence of Wisdom's Sage Series line source planar speakers, the L100i and C150i, which speak like oracles through a woven screen.
Yamaha's neoHD media controllers creatively reinvent the audio/video receiver for the new media age. The YMC-700 ($800) adds wi-fi, Rhapsody, internet radio, and iTunes/AAC compatibility to the less full-featured YMC-500 ($600). Notice the distinctive look. These media controllers are designed to make it as easy to pull music or photos off a PC as it is to play a disc. Review of the YMC-700 forthcoming.
As an update to its Titan and Lightning 1080p projectors, Digital Projection has added lens memory that automates changes in zoom, shift, and focus at up to 10 specific preset positions. The repositioning is said to be accurate to within two pixels over repeated cycles. This allows the use of a 2.35:1 screen for 3.25:1 content without the need for an anamorphic lens. While there are important advantages to the full anamorphic approach, there are disadvantages as well. Simply zooming out the 2.35:1 image to fit the 2.35:1 screen does eliminate considerable expense and complication.