Also introduced were two new receivers, the STR-DA5500ES ($2000) with 120 watts time seven and STR-DA3500ES ($1000) with 100 watts time seven. The first model got the most attention, with Control4 IP network control -- so your Sony receiver can now handle lighting, security, and other home automation features -- and DLNA compatibility which provides access to PC-stored music, video, and photos via ethernet connection.
The Sony BDP-N460 is a reasonably priced Blu-ray player, at $250, with built-in software designed to accommodate the Linksys/Cisco Wireless-N Ethernet Bridge with Dual Band (optional). Since a broadband connection is a must for a Blu-ray player with BD-Live capability, this wireless option may make streaming easier, operating in either the 2.4GHz or 5GHz bands. Blu-ray players are increasingly becoming networking machines and Sony doesn't want you to miss any of the internet content provided by its dozens of licensed partners.
Sony is launching the new Bravia XBR10 series at CEDIA, featuring an ultra thin design, wireless
transmission, an Ethernet connection for receiving Sony Bravia Internet Video over broadband, Motionflow 240Hz, and edge-lit LED backlighting but no local dimming. The only Sony local dimming models are the XBR8s, and they are being phased out. There may be new local dimming models from the company down the road, according to one Sony source, but I suspect not this year. The XBR 10s are available at 47-inches ($4500) and 52-inches ($5000).
Sony is introducing the CX7000ES Blu-ray mega-changer ($1900) to complement the BDP-CX960 Blu-ray changer ($800) currently available. The BDP-CX7000ES can hold up to 400 discseither Blu-ray, standard DVD, or CD. Sony made it a point to mention that four of these changers piggybacked together can hold all of the Blu-ray titles currently on the market! The player can download all relevant disc information via a broadband connection to Gracenote.
A new projector or two every year is a CEDIA tradition from Sony, and they did not disappoint us this year. The new VPL-VW85 video projector offers significantly enhanced brightness compared to the VPL-VW70 (known as the VPL-VW80 in some markets), and deep blacks courtesy of a combination of SXRD chips with superior contrast and Sony's well-established Advanced (dynamic) Iris. It also has a variety of user-selectable gamma settings, custom gamma adjustment via an external computer program, a Motion Enhancer feature operating at a 96Hz frame rate with the option of either full brightness or darkened interpolated frames, and an aspect ratio for use with an add-on anamorphic zoom lens. $8000, in October. A review of the VPL-VW85 is currently scheduled for the November 2009 issue of Home Theater.
There's also a new, lower priced Sony SXRD projector, the VPL-HW15, with a claimed peak contrast ratio of 60,000:1 and 1000 ANSI lumens output at a suggested price of $3000. Also in October.
For the 3-chip DLP experience, Projectiondesign is introducing the Avielo Helios, the flagship of the Avielo range. Included are Projectiondesign features such as RealColor advanced color management and Advanced Color Optical Processing technology (ACOP), which together are said to allow for accurate calibration to the REC709 HD color standard.
Projectiondesign's new Avielo Quantum, at 6.5 lbs., is the smallest and lightest of the company's 1080p, single-chip DLP home theater projectors. It's available with four different lenses, incorporates Projectiondesign's RealColor color management system, and is hand-built at the Projectiondesign factory in Fredrikstad, Norway.
Other than the TH-85PF12U plasma and an extensive 3D demo, Panasonic has been pretty tight-lipped about what it's going to be showing at CEDIA. But late-breaking news from the IFA trade show in Berlin has revealed a new LCD projector, the PT-AE4000. Like it's predecessor, the new model lets you store lens zoom and focus settings for content with different aspect ratios, such as 16:9 and 2.35:1, providing a poor man's anamorphic capability. New to the AE4000 is an aspect-ratio detection function that automatically selects 16:9 or 2.35:1 depending on the incoming signal. The projector should be available in October for less than $4000.
In a sign that Blu-ray has finally arrived, Toshiba (yes, Toshiba) is launching its first Blu-ray player. The BDX2000. It offers full BD Live capabilities, Bonus View (such as picture-in-picture video commentaries), and an SD card slot for viewing personal photos and videos. It can also decode the new audio formats (Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio) internally and send them to your A/V receiver as multichannel PCM or, alternatively, as bitstreamsin both cases over its HDMI output. Available in November at $250.
JBL's new LS series loudspeakers are ready for their close-ups. They combine proprietary PolyPlas polymer-coated-cellulose-fiber cone woofers (say that fast, three times) and the company's Bi-Radial constant-directivity high frequency horns with real wood veneer cabinetry. The line includes the LS Center ($799) LS40 stand-mount ($699 each, shown here), and two floor-standers: the LS60 ($1099 each) and LS80 ($1499 each). The latter two employ 3.5-way crossover networks.
Mark Levinson has announced a new No.500H series of audiophile power amplifiers with a new balanced CFA (current-feedback amplifier) design. There are four different models in the lineup: the monoblock No.531H ($6500 each), the No.532H (2 channels, $8000), the No.533H (3 channels, $10,000), and the No.535H (5 channels, $12,000). All are rated at 300 Watts per channel into 8 ohms except the No.535H (200Wpc), and all are expected to ship in October.
Revel has announced two new subwoofers, the Ultima Rhythm2 (shown) and the Performa B150. The latter is the first major redesign of the current B15a since the latter's introduction at the start of the millennium. The B150's 15" driver offers a linear bass excursion of 1.5-inches, driven by an amp that features 1200 Watts of continuous power and 2400W peak. The Rhythm2 (shown) goes this one better, with an 18" driver and 2400 Watts continuous, 5600W peak from its on-board amp. No delivery dates or prices were announced.
With Anchor Bay's Video Reference Series technology on board, Lexicon's new BD-30 Blu-ray player ($3499) is the first entry in that product category for the company best known for its high end pre-pros, A/V receivers, and power amps. The BD-30 plays back not only Blu-ray, DVD, and CD, but also SACD and DVD-Audio. With Profile 2.0 and BonusView, together with full support for Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD-Master Audio (internal conversion to PCM or bitstream out), plus multichannel analog outputs, it's well-armed to join the Blu-ray player wars.
JBL is bringing its A game to CEDIA with a plethora of products, such as the new Performance LS series of speakers, which includes the LS40 bookshelf ($700 each), LS60 and LS80 floorstanders ($1100 and $1500 each, respectively), LS Center ($800), and LS120 subwoofer ($1100 each). All the main speakers feature a 3/4-inch ring-radiator ultrahigh-frequency driver, a horn-loaded titanium compression driver for the highs, and polymer-coated cellulose-fiber, 6.5-inch cone woofers. The 12-inch sub reaches down to 25Hz backed by 400W RMS (700W peak).
In terms of video, CEDIA is a projector showcase, and Digital Projection is all over that theme. Among the company's product introductions at the show will be the Highlite Cine 280, a 1080p, 3-chip DLP model that is said to pump out up to 2000 lumens with 12,000:1 contrast. The enclosure reflects the same design aesthetic as the Cine LED and Cine 260 projectors as well as the CineSkin enclosure, all of which have been previously covered in this blog. And at about $30,000, it's the most affordable triple-chipper ever offered by Digital Projection.