I’m convinced that Soundmatters is doing something they shouldn’t be doing. It’s got to be illegal, or at least against the laws of acoustics. The company’s new foxLO is subwoofer that’s not much bigger than an external hard drive. Soundmatters says the $149 foxLO is “the world’s first palm-sized hi-fi subwoofer”. While the industrial design is very cool, that alone wouldn’t warrant giving it a listen. The claim of being “a true hi-fi subwoofer”, however, made me give it a highly skeptical listen - after which I became a true believer. This little 2.5” high x 4.5” wide x 6.3” deep unit incorporates an active woofer with passive radiator and a built-in 25-watt amplifier. And it absolutely rocks in a way that something that small shouldn’t be able to do. The foxLO is expected to be available this Spring.
Lutron used CEDIA 2011 to announce the company’s ground-breaking wireless, battery-powered, insulating honeycomb cellular shades that could be remotely controlled through handheld remotes or when integrated with Lutron RadioRA 2 lighting control systems. This year, Lutron announced additions to the wireless shade lineup, but these shades have wires – guide wires, that is. In most respects identical to the original wireless honeycomb shades, the new cable-guided shades have a thin cable running from top to bottom along the left and right sides of the shade. The cable prevents the shade from swaying, so it’s ideal for use on French doors or windows with heavy airflow. The cable guides also allow the shades to be used to cover skylights or angled windows. (Lutron says the shades will work in situations with angles as shallow as 30 degrees off horizontal.) The new shades will begin shipping in January of 2013. Pricing was not immediately available but was not expected to include a significant premium over the original shade configurations.
NuVo took some of the wraps off of the company’s new multizone wireless/wired digital audio distribution system that consists of two wireless/wired amplifiers (20 watts x 2 or 60 watts x 2), a three-zone rack-mountable component with three built-in stereo amps, an optional dedicated NuVo remote (similar in size and shape to an iPhone), iOS and Android control apps, and a special NuVo router. The NuVo router is only required for wireless installations, otherwise each of the zone amplifiers can be connected to your home LAN. The control app is beautifully designed, easy to use, and changing/linking zones is super intuitive. Pricing hasn’t been officially set yet, but product should be available beginning later this year. This is definitely one of the most impressive multizone wireless audio systems I’ve found so far at CEDIA.
Life|ware combines home entertainment and automation using Microsoft’s Media Center as a backbone. All sorts of other companies, such as Lutron, Russound, Niles, SpeakerCraft, HP, Samsung, Honeywell, and etc, make devices that interface with the system so custom installers can tailor a complete automation/entertainment package that puts control of the entire home within a touchpanel or remote control.
It’s hard to get the whole concept across sometimes, so the Life|ware people partnered with Disney who supplied the actors pictured here who acted out a corny “life” within a complete Life|ware-equipped home.
My personal favorite of the entire setup was the demonstration of a prototype of the Starry Night Sleep Technology bed by a company called Leggett and Platt. The bed monitors your sleep cycle, respiration, heartbeat – it can even tell if you’re snoring – and adjusts the bed accordingly to make your sleepy night perfect. Move over, Big Brother, this is Big Mother. Pricing hasn’t been set yet, but you can bet it’s going to be expensive (with a capital $).
ZvBox’s Zv-100 takes the VGA output of a PC, encodes it on the fly to 720p, and creates a channel that can be sent via coax to any HDTV in your house that has a digital cable (QAM) tuner. Since all it does is convert the output to an HD channel, your computer operates the same way it always does, and you’ll be able to watch or views any content your computer can provide as long as it has the proper codec or program. The beauty of the ZvBox system is that since it is codec agnostic, it can work with iTunes as easily as it works with Windows Media Player – or any other player or website.
Some people would call it cheating. Others might be less pejorative and consider it a shortcut. Either way, setting a rectangular box on top of your TV, plugging in an analog stereo RCA cable, finding an outlet for a single AC power cord, and pressing the power button isn’t what God intended when he gave us home theater. No, a real man’s home theater demands a separate processor and amplifiers, multiple speakers, many long runs of speaker wire, and an inconvenient place to put a subwoofer. It should take real work to set the whole thing up—and more than a sporting chance to wire something incorrectly.
Okay, we couldn't hear a real demo because the show sample wasn't treated as kindly as it should have been on the trip to New York, but the ZVOX 425 looked nice, anyway. It's a "single-cabinet home theater system" that's five inches deep, mounts on the wall, has a built-in amplifier, five speakers, two powered subwoofers (yeah, that's right, two powered subwoofers in a five-inch deep cabinet that hangs on the wall), and virtual surround circuitry. The subwoofers are side-firing to help eliminate wall vibrations. The box is filled with five 3.25-inch full-range speakers and two 4-inch subwoofers. There's no digital input - it's designed to accept the stereo audio (or headphone jack) output from a TV and use the source material's encoded Dolby Pro Logic signal. As a result, says ZVOX, it's less expensive and there's no "digital weirdness". ZVOX says the 425 is the perfect ticket for people who are painfully afraid of wires and want a simple system they can hang on the wall under their plasma/LCD panel TV and pretend they have true home theater. The total size is 37" W x 7" H x 5" D. Price is $599.99.