There are, at present, two ways to view 2.35 movies on a 1920 x 1080 HD projector. First, you can tolerate the black bars on a 16:9 screen (or use a 2.35:1 screen and zoom the image out to let the black bars spill off the top and bottom). Second, you can use an anamorphic lens, together with video processing, on that same 2.35:1 screen. Engineers at Projectiondesign have a third way. Working with Texas Instruments, they have incorporated a 2538 x 1600 0.9"DLP chip into their new Avielo Optix SuperWide 235, a single-chip, 2-lamp, 2D digital projector. Using a 2538 x 1080 central area of this chip, they can project a 2.35:1 image onto the screen with 1080 pixels of vertical resolution.
At $15,000, the new LG CF3D, shown here vertically behind a highly reflective glass case, utilizes two separate optical paths to provide a full 1920 x 1080 3D image using polarized passive glasses on a silvered screen. The demo, however, was disappointing. While the booth was not light controlled, the main problem was a very soft-looking image. Teething or setup problems, perhaps? The projector is in production now, and will be available here in November.
The Sharp 3D projector mentioned in our report on Wednesday's press conference was on demonstration on the show floor. Within the limits of the available animated material, in this case Despicable Me, it looked amazingly good. At a projected price of around $5000, give or take, it's one of the least expensive 3D projectors we've seen so far. And with a 250W UHP lamp, it was also plenty bright, at least in 3D terms, on an 87" wide, Stewart Studiotek 130 screen.
Yes, it's only 2-channel, but the new Classe CP-800 preamp may be a taste of the future for such devices. Scheduled to ship in January 2010 for under $6000, it incorporates digital inputs, including coaxial, optical, and USB (asynchronous with proprietary clocking, a significant feature for us audio propeller heads), with on-board D/A conversion. Full support for Apple's transportable iProducts is also included. There are analog inputs as well, which can be set up for direct analog pass-through analog sourcesor even as a pass through for the front channels of a full surround system. The outputs can even be programmed to drive one or more subwoofers, together with bass management and parametric EQ. The subs can be set up to operate on some inputs but not others. Both remote control and a graphical user interface with a touchscreen are part of the package.
Digital Projection offers so many models it's hard to keep them straight. They range in price from around $5000 to the sky's the limit, and include 3D designs, LED-lit models, and much more. The only common thread is that they are all DLPs, both single-chip and 3-chip. Most important, however, is the high quality we've consistently seen from them on the screen, both at shows such as this one and in our own in-house evaluations.
Epson has become well known as a major producer of high quality, relatively affordable LCD projectors. Now, using its expertise as a premier imaging chip producer, it has produced an offshoot of LCOS, which differs in that it grows the active elements onto quartz rather than silicon. The result is a reflective LCD, or in Epson's words, RHTPS, for Reflective High Temperature Polysilicate.
Have you been playing dirty, dirty records? Sumiko hates that. At its booth were the Okki Nokki record cleaning machines. Judging from the bottle and brush sitting on top of each one, this must be a wet-system cleaner. The product is available in black or much hipper white for $499 without dustcover or $549 with dustcover, because it's worth another fifty bucks not to let your record cleaning machine get dirty, right? Also on display were a full panoply of compact and affordable phono preamps including something we hadn't seen before: a tube model.
Coaxial driver arrays lay beneath the Granite-52 outdoor rock speakers from Earthquake Sound. They go for $450/pair plus another $799 for the Granite-10D subwoofer. A spokesperson said reliability in the tough outdoor environment is one reason to go with Earthquake. The company also showed the SWAT 2.4 wireless transmitter/receiver combo, $349/pair, which can be powered by USB or wall wart. Maybe just the thing to make the leap from your main rack to the sub or surrounds when conventional speaker cabling is inconvenient.
It's not every day we get to photograph a new product in the hands of its creator. Paul Barton of PSB was showing off his first outdoor speaker, the CS1000. It's modeled on the Image B6, and sells for the same $499/pair, but comes in a differently shaped polypropylene cabinet. Note the curved mount which allows easy vertical adjustment. A spokesperson told us the speaker is bird-proof, with a steel piece that keeps little critters from getting into the port.