Long known for high-quality audio products, Cambridge Audio is introducing the Azur 650BD Blu-ray player, which joins the growing ranks of so-called universal players that can play DVD-Audio and SACD in addition to Blu-ray, DVD, and CD. In addition, it provides BD-Live functionality and 7.1-channel analog-audio outputs, and it can decode all the audio formats, including Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, all for $750.
Here's an interesting itema 3-channel, class-D integrated amp from a French company called Micromega and US distributor Audio Plus Services. The AP180 provides full HDMI audio decoding and 180Wpc for three speakers in a home-theater setup, all for $2500. To complete a 5-channel system, Audio Plus Services recommends pairing the AP180 with the PW400 ($2800), which provides 400Wpc of class-D power for the front right and left speakers while the AP180 powers the center and surrounds.
Well-known British speaker company Mordaunt-Short is introducing a new 2-way bookshelf model called the Performance 2. Priced at $4500/pair, this little gem is designed to be a no-compromise speaker with a 6.5-inch aluminum mid/bass driver and 1-inch aluminum-dome tweeter with a transmission line behind it to allow much lower frequencies and more controlled resonance.
Complimenting the new 650BD Blu-ray player from Cambridge Audio is the 650R A/V receiver. This 7.1-channel AVR provides 100Wpc in an acoustically damped chassis and supports all current audio formats. It also transcodes analog video to HDMI and offers a pure analog stereo-direct mode. That's a lot of AVR for $1800.
French speaker maker Focal will be debuting several next-generation models in its Electra Be lineup, so named for the beryllium tweeter used in each speaker. The 1008 Be ($5000/pair) is a 2-way bookshelf model, while the 1028 Be ($8500/pair, pictured) and 1038 Be ($12,500/pair) are 3-way floorstanders. The redesigned tweeter is said to have greater power handling capabilities with a crossover point all the way down to 2kHz.
In addition to the Performance 2 bookshelf, Mordaunt-Short is unveiling an entire line of home-theater speakers at CEDIA. Dubbed Aviano, the line includes two floorstanders, two bookshelf models, one center, and two subwoofers. All feature curved front baffles and proprietary driver designs with prices ranging from $500 to $1400 per pair; the center and subs fall within this range for single items.
We'll start with the new Signature Series, v3, because that's what's in the picture. But that's not the only news from Paradigm. Potentially even more earth-shaking is the all-new Special Edition Series. Not sure where it fits in, but the fact that the enclosures will be wood veneer is suggestive. Also forthcoming are a variety of new subs: Signature SUB 1, Signature SUB 2, DSP, and UltraCube. A 7.4-channel in-wall system will be demoed. Pricing? You want pricing? What is it with you people?
The Procella loudspeaker brand will make its U.S. debut at CEDIA. Products will include three L/C/R/surround models, the P6, a two-way, 6.5-inch model ($1499/each); the P8, a two-way, eight-inch model ($2499/each); and P815, which mates a 15-inch woofer to a P8 secured by a mounting bracket ($8999/each). Also shown will be two subs, the 10-inch P10 ($3999) and the 15-inch P15, both with 2 x 350 watt amplification. Oh, and there's a third sub, the P18, with (you guessed) an 18-inch driver powered by 2 x 700 watts ($8999). Procella was launched in the U.K. in 2006 by ex-employees of DTS and its U.S. operations are run by a veteran of M&K.
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.
Mitsubishi is launching its new HC3800 HD home theater projector. Priced at surprisingly low $1500, it uses the latest DLP chip from Texas Instruments, is specified at 1200 lumens with a 500:1 ANSI contrast ratio (3300:1 full on/full off), has a claimed lamp life of 5000 hours in its low, lamp-life conservation mode, and weighs a mere 8 pounds.
Stewart Filmscreen is showing several new products. AcoustiShade is a motorized window treatment that is designed not only to provide blackout in residential and commercial applications, but is also claimed to reduce noise contamination. It consists of three layers: a sound attenuating blackout layer, a decorative and acoustically beneficial face fabric, and an air space. These elements are surrounded by a frame that uses Stewart's Magnetic Blackout and Attenuation assist (MBAA) system (patent pending), which holds the blackout layer tightly to the frame to eliminate light leakage. Prices will depend on size, as the product is completely customized to fit your windows.
Runco's XTREME VX-33i and VX-33d three-chip DLP projectors will be featured at CEDIA. At $49,995 and $59.995 respectively, and available with a variety of optional lenses, they're designed for luxury home theaters using very large (above 120" diagonal) screens. The VX-33i includes Runco's integrated Vivix video processing, while the VX-33d features Runco's outboard DHD video processor-controller, also incorporating Vivix.
Panasonic's new TH-85PF12U is the industry's first 85-inch, 1080p plasma. Available in October, this NeoPDP (Plasma Display Panel) has a claimed peak contrast ratio of 40,000:1 (2,000,000:1 dynamic). It's also claimed to require much less power than would be possible in the past in a plasma display this big. At 74.4" by 41.8" and 276 lbs., it's equal in size to four 42-inch displays, and is within 3.6" of being as wide as this writer's projectionscreen! The price: $30,000. I'll take one for the family room, one for the den...
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.
Like everything digital, LED-backlit LCD TVs are quickly dropping in price. Case in point: Sharp's new LE700UN series, which will make its debut at CEDIA next week. Available in four sizes32, 40, 46, and 52 inchesprices range from $1100 to $2800, a far cry from the XS1U series, Sharp's first generation of LED-backlit LCD TVthe 52-incher listed for $12,000. The new series no doubt has fewer bells and whistles, but it's 1080p and 120Hz, it provides Internet access, and the company claims it consumes less power than any other available LCD TV.