At the 2006 CEDIA Stewart Filmscreen showed a new, frameless,self-supporting rear projection glass material, Starglas. The company has now come up with a wide assortment of possible applications. Here a glass panel is mounted in a shallow cabinet at the foot of a bed. When needed, it rises up to viewing height. The image is projected from the rear, perhaps, as here, from a projector mounted in a cabinet at the other side of the room (presumably, a bedroom of more than shoebox size!). Ta Da! A substitute for a large plasma. The glass in the Starglas panel, incidently, is safety glass.
SIM2's demo used three new projectors from that company. The first, and the one that impressed me most from a price/performance
aspect (though at $16,000 it isn't cheap by today's projector standards) was the HT-3000E. Incorporating TI's BrilliantColor technology, and SIM2's new Unishape lamp technology that can vary both the color of the lamp and its brightness in a dynamic, nearly instantaneous way, it presented a superb image with excellent deep blacks. Oddly, SIM2 was using a Firehawk screen-8' wide for the 3000E, 10' wide for the other two projectors, the C3X ($20,000) and the C3X 1080($30,000), both of which were demonstrated with anamorphic lenses. (There was a lot of anamorphia going around at this year's show.)
THX is working a new connect-the-world project, code named Blackbird. Having seen how easy it is for the general public to mangle their picture and sound with all the new toys they've been acquiring recently, Blackbird presents a solution for the three cardinal sins of home theater, by sending metadata in the form of control signals through HDMI to all Blackbird enabled devices in the chain.
Shane already nailed the Epson Cinema Pro 1080 UB ("Ultra Black") demo. It was amazing to see this kind of performance from an LCD. I'll add that Epson might be claiming a 50,000:1 contrast ratio, but that's with what has to be an awfully aggressive auto-iris in play. Kevin Miller, whose work continues to amaze, flew without a net using the chipset's native contrast ratio of 4,500:1, which is pretty outstanding on its own.
Tell me about it. I have a Pioneer Elite BDP-94HD back at home, and a review ready for a fact-check. Hell, the virtual ink isn't even dry and I don't think a full month has passed since I got the thing, and here's its replacement, The $999 Pioneer Elite BDP-95HD.
Pioneer Elite has an AVR coming that aims to wipe clean all that came before it. Don't believe me? I'm going to need to post two pictures to even try to do this thing justice. This is an all-out assault on the state-of-the-art, and in reality is more like conjoined separates than an AVR. Lemme 'splain.
The horn barely visible at right, part of a new Jamo in-ceiling speaker, is angled to aim directional information toward the listener. Just trust us on this. At $1000, due in spring 2008, one expects great things. Jamo's back boxes are now fire-rated, to pass building codes in some areas. Jamo also showed the Studio Series, including the floorstanding S60, with side-mount eight-inch passive woofer ($700, end September).
The Joseph Audio people say their Insider is designed "to solve the fundamental problem of in-walls"--the tendency of tweeters and woofers to interfere with one another. There is secret sauce in the crossover and consistent off-axis response is a major benefit. Drivers are high-end stuff sourced from Norway. Presumably all that high-caliber design and materials justify the price of $2500/pair.
The Pinnacle OC HT 1 in-ceiling speaker ($349 for one, $999 for a three-pack) uses a slot locking mounting system that attaches to a ring you screw into the ceiling. Also shown was the QP 2, a speaker designed for use with projection screens, an unusual design with neodymium magnets mounted on the outside ($999/each, black or white). Why we didn't photograph that will always be a mystery to us.
More in-ceiling models join the Definitive Technology line, following the train of thought first established in an ingeniously angled product introduced at last year's CEDIA. The new ones are smaller. They include the RCS3 ($499 each) and RSS3 surround ($399 each). Also shown: the Mythos 10 ($899), a new center speaker intended to go with the existing Mythos ST tower.
The Infinity ERS 610 in-ceiling speaker ($599, October) features a flat diaphragm CMMD woofer similar to that in the high-end and somewhat revolutionary Cascade series. JBL and Revel offer very similar-looking products (under the great Harman International corporate umbrella, of course). The hot one might be the Revel, since it's been voiced by Kevin Voecks. Note the three-position switch at right, which adjusts high-frequency response for the room. Not pictured are the wireless 2.4GHz subs, the 10-inch PSW310W (10 inches, 400 watts) and PSW212W (12 inches, $679, January).
One of the few non-excruciating audio auditions at CEDIA '07 was Wisdom Audio's L75i demo. The planar speaker, powered by Classe amps, shone with material featuring Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, Tina Turner, and Miles Davis. Music worth hearing: a novelty. Wisdom prides itself on the non-disintegrating metal in-wall frame. True, the bass was boomy in the rear of the room, and the ostensibly in-wall product was shown on-wall, but this was the rare public exhibit that didn't make us hate the product.