The front panel LCD screen is an integral part of the new SSP220. It looks great, as does the rear panel connection which feature both single-ended and balanced outputs. Video processing includes converting component to HDMI up to 1080p. It's good to see some high end companies like Halcro getting into the home theater game, even if the SSP220 is $12,000!
Hidden in a hotel suite near the convention center, Taiwanese company Chi Lin Technology showed an early prototype of what the company claims to be the world's first LED-illuminated DLP front projector (though I doubt it will be the first to market; Optoma and Digital Projection are working on similar products). Based on the 0.95" DarkChip3 DMD, the illumination source is the PhlatLite LED module from Luminus. This puppy draws up to 3 amps of current to achieve a final peak light output of 600 lumens, requiring liquid cooling to prevent meltdown. It's worth it if the claimed contrast ratio of 100,000:1 can actually be reached. The unit I saw was an early prototype; the product is slated for sale in the third quarter of 2009.
Both the Auditor M and the Cremona M are part of the Cremona series characterized by their grill cloth which consists of fabric like strings. $5,500-$6,000 for the Center and $5,895/pr for the Auditor M.
Remember, the Sherwood R-972 receiver with Trinnov room correction? It's now scheduled to arrive in December for $1800, and is probably worth the wait, judging from the demo. Despite deliberately misplaced speakers -- center too low and to the right, others too high -- it generated a warm and rich soundfield that was surprisingly vivid and involving. And it did so in two locations, the first with an orthodox seven-speaker array, and the second using only the right side-surround and right rear-surround. The idea is that you may want to listen in different locations, a good idea for rooms with more than one piece of furniture, right? The setup mic is an unusual four-part object. Of the three parts of the room-EQ process (measurement, analysis, correction) it's the analysis that's special, as Trinnov founder Arnaud Laborie explained while showing the professional version of the product. It's pictured. Notice the two color-coded speaker sets: one showing the front speakers where they ought to be, and the other one showing where they actually are.
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.
Want to send an HDMI signal over 300 feet of cable? Can't be done. But you could plug it into the Liberty Cable DigitalLinx, which converts to more robust RGBHV for the cable run, then converts back to HDMI at the other end.
Escient has added a whole new product line, supplementing the fabulous five-year-old Fireballs with the new Vision media servers. Models include the VX600, with four swappable one-terabyte drives, enough to hold 600 movies, $7999; VX-200, two times 1TB, $5999; and VX-100, two times 500GB, $3999. Asked if Escient expected the kind of copyright lawsuits that have bedeviled Kaleidescape, the answer was no, the products are unrancorously licensed with the CCA, the DVD DRM authority. Escient is also working with Sony to make its streaming products compatible with the forthcoming 400-disc Blu-ray player. The GUI looks great, with cover view for both DVD and CD, and Rhapsody compatibility is part of the package.
Yesterday's photo opportunity missed a big piece of Snell news: Legendary designer Joe D'Appolito is now on staff fulltime. It's already paying dividends with three new lines, all of which repurpose the same driver array for different applications. The Signature Elegant Series comes in good-looking veneered enclosures. The Signature Hidden Series comes in plain-vanilla MDF for use in cabinetry. And the Signature Invisible is, as you'd guess, for in-wall use and supplement other non-Signature in-wall and in-ceiling models. Some of the in-ceilings got an actual 5.1-channel movie demo to demonstrate that surround can live in your ceiling. Finally, who could resist another beauty shot, this time of the $50k Illusion floorstander, a seventh-generation reiteration of the history-making Snell A Reference. It's dual 10-inch, offers bass down to 27Hz, and threatens output of 112dB. The pretty amps are from fellow D&M stablemate Marantz.