Jeff Graham, CEO of iSky, shows off a demonstration mockup of an iSky fiber optic star ceiling panel with blue LED lighting around the edges. iSky panels can be mounted directly to the ceiling or used with regular drop ceilings. Each iSky panel contains a built-in illuminator and only requires a low-voltage jumper between panels. The constant-voltage design is said to be simpler to install than a more complex constant-current system. In addition to looking incredibly cool, the iSky panels also be ordered as reflector or diffuser panels for acoustic treatment of your home theater’s ceiling.
If you’re having trouble with routers and multiple access points in your home Wi-Fi network (as I am), Luxul Wireless says they have a solution for you with the company’s whole-home Wi-Fi network installation products. Luxul’s Pro-WAV products can increase the coverage area of 802.11b/g Wi-Fi gear by an astounding 400 percent; and Luxul says they can provide coverage for 10,000 square feet of home (or more) with a single access point. That means you’ll have seamless roaming of iPods/iPads, fewer wireless access points, and expanded usage of Wi-Fi throughout the home – all from products that can be mounted in a closet or attic.
Uncompressed wireless high-definition audio transmission along with a super-easy setup routine – and the ability to instantly realign the soundfield to accommodate changes in seating position are the hallmarks of Summit Wireless’ technology. After lots of development work, the technology is finally coming to a home theater near you. The first products to incorporate it will be the Aperion Audio Intimus 4T 5.1-channel ($2,499) and 7.1-channel ($2,999) systems. Pre-orders will be available beginning October 15th, with shipping beginning in December. Of all the wireless technology I’ve seen at the last couple of CEDIA and CES shindigs, Summit Wireless is the most exciting – and we can’t wait to get our hands on the first system to come from Aperion Audio. We’ll keep you posted…
The five small satellites in Phase Technology’s new $930 CineMicro One 5.1-channel speaker system use all-wood “acoustically neutral” curved enclosures, Absolute Phase crossover networks, and long-throw woofers. The sub that’s included in the package incorporates an eight-inch down-firing woofer in a rear slotted-port design and a built-in 100-watt amp.
Triad is an in-room/wall/ceiling speaker company that specializes in making solutions for problems that real people often run into when putting together anything other than the standard, run-of-the-mill home theater system. For example, the company’s in-room speakers are voiced to identically match the in-wall versions (both the 4-inch and 6-inch deep versions), which also happen to perfectly match the in-ceiling versions. That way you could, if you had to, use in-room speakers for the left and right with an in-wall center channel and a pair of in-ceiling rears – and all the speakers would respond as if you’d used the same model all the way around. At CEDIA, Triad was showing off a prototype of another solution, a subwoofer that can be hidden away with the bass output routed into the room via a large diameter tube that terminates in a standard wall vent cover. No pricing available yet.
Relatively new TV wall mounts company, WallWizard showed off their many minimal (materials and cost) mounts for flat-panel TVs. The new XM series of mounts are capable of holding 26-inch to 60-inch TVs (depending on the model of TV) and incorporate a special cam mechanism that allows the TV to be swiveled 90 degrees left and right, or tilted up and down +3/-15 degrees up and down with one hand – or even, the company claims, one finger. In addition to the much better than average articulation, the WallWizard mounts also sell for a much lower than average price. The $109 XM37 holds TVs up to 50 pounds, while the $249 XM60 supports up to 120 pounds. Both models are UL certified and carry WallWizard’s $10,000 equipment protection program.
Surge protection and power conditioning often seem like an industry filled with smoke and mirrors – and full of dubious, hard-to-verify claims of protection. SurgeX brought some heavy duty surge-generating equipment to demonstrate how other types of surge protection devices react under real-world electrically stressful situations. The brand-obscured surge suppressor being used here would have left some home theater owner heading to the repair shop had a real component been hooked up to the outlet when a bad surge came down the line. SurgeX claims their devices are designed to resist surges at much higher levels than the competition can handle without self-destructing – and they can do it repeatedly (like well over 30,000 times).
The DCL-200FD LED-illuminated DLP projector from Wolf Cinema isn't new at the show, but I saw it in action for the first time here, pictured above with a fixed anamorphic lens. Said to produce 850 ANSI lumens after calibration, it was demonstrated on a Screen Innovations Black Diamond II screen (0.8 gain, 16:9, 96 inches wide) playing the Pixar short Jack-Jack Attack, and it looked gorgeous. It's shipping now for $25,000.
One of Wolf Cinema's big introductions at CEDIA is the DCC-100FD single-chip DLP projector that uses a conventional lamp and color wheel. What's the big deal about that? It costs only $10,000 (including the company's outboard processor and Variscope lens memories for 2.35:1 and 16:9 content at constant height), which is a real bargain coming from Wolf.
The demo unit was a prototype; production units should be shipping by early next year. We saw a clip from Avatar on a Screen Innovations Black Diamond II (0.8 gain, 16:9, 96 inches wide), which looked great. I saw no hint of the dreaded rainbow artifact, but we'll have to see what Tom Norton says about that, since he's much more sensitive to it that I am.
With a name like Okki Nokki, it has to be good! This German company has come up with what it calls "the VIP of record-cleaning machines." You spread the included cleaning fluid on a vinyl record and attach the aluminum vacuum arm, which sucks up the fluid and, presumably, any dirt or dust on the surface. The RCM also comes with a goat-hair brush for $500 ($50 more for the clear dust cover). Michael Fremer should definitely hear about this!
No, it didn’t fly while I was there, but a life-size (?) version of the flying robot from the famous THX movie trailer stood mute witness in the Integra booth that Integra has oodles of THX-approved gear. (Oodles – yeah, that’s a technical term. Now that I think of it, Oodles would be a good name for the robot itself. I may name my next kid, Oodles, I like it so much – the name, not the kid…)
FOSI wants you to see stars in your home theater – and not just on your big screen. The company’s star ceiling panels – like this 8-foot x 12 foot version – contain thousands of individual fiber optic cables that take light from three central light sources (either halogen or LED-based lamps) and create astronomically correct reproductions of the night sky on your theater (or other) room’s ceiling. Panels can be ordered in flat black or cloud-sky painted models. This particular setup included over 5,000 fiber optic runs to create a September night sky that included a comet, several shooting stars, and the ability to erupt into a brilliant fireworks display. Without the fireworks lighting, the DIY version – in which you get the fiber optic cables and a complete, full-size template for where to drill the holes for the cables in your own panel – starts at around $2,000. As far as a professionally installed, fully tricked out version with fireworks and a night sky that’s exactly the way you want it from a certain date in history (your wedding night or the evening the Normans invaded England, for example, either of which could be considered the start of epic battles) can cost, well, the sky’s the limit.
KEF’s new T-series of super-slim speakers – claimed by KEF to be one of the world’s thinnest, high-performance home theater and flat-panel audio systems – combine two big innovations: a new super-duper-slim bass and midrange driver; and a large, fully vented new tweeter developed straight from the company’s high-end Concept Blade project. The cabinets are only 35mm deep and looked really excellent hanging on the wall next to the flat-panel TV in the booth. Two different satellites are available ($499/pair and $349/each) and systems with matching subwoofers start at $1,499.
No, KEF hasn’t invented an invisible-wall speaker, although it might look that way from the display. In fact, KEF’s new custom-installed ceiling speakers boast a smaller, enclosed PC board crossover that helps reduce the amount of environmentally unfriendly chemicals required in the production of the speakers. Despite the “green” nature of the speakers, KEF wisely chose to keep the color of the slim bezels and magnetically attached grilles white which will still let them cosmetically match the “greenest” of homes.