As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, my favorite awards show of the year is the Grammys. But for home-theater enthusiastsincluding myselfthe most important awards show is clearly the Oscars, broadcast from the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, CA. Watched by an estimated one billion people worldwide, this year's show was rather strange, but I thought most of the winners were well-justified with one or two exceptions.
Panasonic's 152-inch 4K plasma is nothing new, but it never fails to impress, especially when seen next to a person, in this case PR rep Courtnee Coburn. CTO Eisuke Tsuyuzaki told me some people have actually built a house around this monster!
In a secret, blacked-out room, Panasonic was demonstrating its new professional reference monitor, the TH-42BT300, shown here between last year's TH-42PF11 to the left and this year's TH-42PF20 on the right. In addition to a 42-incher (~$4000), the new model will be available in a 50-inch size for around $5000.
It's been a bad week for Panasonic. A report of suddenly rising black levels in its 2008 and '09 plasmas gained some serious traction throughout the A/V community over the past few days, even though it's been brewing since July 31, 2009, when AVS Forum member Orta (who I assume is male) posted that his TC-P50G10 doubled its black level literally overnight, with measurements to prove it. As you might imagine, this led to a flurry of concern, to which Panasonic finally responded with this official statement:
I recently posted an item in the Ultimate Gear blog about Nordost Odin audio and power cables, the company's flagship, ultra-expensive line. What do I mean by "ultra-expensive"? How about $20,000 for a 3-foot pair of speaker cables? As you might expect, this stimulated many contentious comments about whether or not such cables can possibly affect the sound enough to justify such an exorbitant price tag.
The daily deluge of news into my inbox included a very sad item yesterday. Insight Media, a display-industry analysis firm, reported that Samsung will not be making so-called "active retarder" 3D LCD TVs in collaboration with RealD. This approach places an active polarization-switching layer over the LCD layer, much like the polarization switcher placed in front of a projector lens in a commercial RealD theater. The viewer wears standard passive glasses, and the TV quickly alternates the polarization in sync with the alternating left and right images on the screen.
On my way out of Vegas, I had to stop by the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop where the History Channel series Pawn Stars is shot. Unfortunately, Rick, Old Man, Big Hoss, and Chumlee weren't there at the time, but it was cool to be in the store seen on the show, which is one of my favorites these days. Awesome!
A reader posed the question whether he should buy a Pioneer Kuro now that they have been greatly discounted. I want the best too, but this raises another question. Do the new Panasonic G10, V10, or Z1 plasma TVs surpass the Pioneers' picture performance, and at what price? The dilemma is thisif one waits too long and the Panasonics disappoint, the Pioneers may be sold out forever.
As a musician, I've played for a number of modern-dance performances and classes, including classes taught by members of the renowned Bella Lewitzky Dance Company. So when I learned that Wim Wenders, director of Buena Vista Social Club, made a 3D movie about the late modern-dance choreographer Pina Bausch and her Tanztheater Wuppertal troupe, I had to check it outespecially since Pina has been nominated for an Academy Award as the best documentary feature of 2011.
After years of waiting, I plan to purchase my home-theater dream system. I would like a screen in the 80-inch-and-larger range. I'd been looking exclusively at projectors, in particular something like the JVC DLA-RS25.
Dang! Tom Norton stole my thunder by blogging about the upcoming CEDIA Expo just one day before I was going to. Oh well, I can still add my two cents before I head off to Denver for the annual confab dedicated to custom consumer-electronics installation.