Just what the world needs, another A/V receiver, I thought as I approached the Sherbourn booth. But the new SR-8100 (7 x 80 watts) and SR-8200 (7 x 125 watts) receivers---the company's first---have a refreshingly uncluttered look and low-profile design, support Bluetooth streaming and are covered by a generous 10-year warranty. Other goodies include multiple HDMI 1.4 inputs (seven and four, respectively), automatic room correction and an audiophile-oriented Class AB amplifier section. The $999 SR-8100 is expected to be available by the end of the year while the $1,999 SR-8200 is slated to ship in early 2013.
We tend to think of high-end video projection as the cornerstone of a larger-than-life home theater experience—you know, the kind that puts the local cinema to shame—rather than a source of creative lighting or fine art. But for SIM2 Multimedia, the Italian company known for high-style/high-performance projectors, the M.150 represents the intersection of home entertainment and interior design.
When we home theater enthusiasts dream about automation, we envision pushing a button and sinking into the sofa, beer in hand: The lights dim, a huge screen descends from the ceiling, and a magnificent picture magically appears onscreen as your speakers come to life. But why stop there? With Somfy’s TaHomA system (and the help of a professional installer), you can bring window shades, drapes or blinds, and climate control into the fold and create automated scenes for a single room or the entire house.
Sonance, which introduced the first in-wall-speaker a couple decades ago, is demonstrating the third generation of its Invisible Series speaker panels at CEDIA Expo. The panels mount flush in the wall and can be covered with up to an eight of an inch of any flexible material---including spackling compound, wallpaper or plaster---and painted over without compromising the performance. Hailed as the company’s best sounding invisible speaker to date, the panels are designed to fit between the studs in standard 2 x 4 wall construction. Judging from the demo on the noisy show floor, the sound is surprisingly decent.
The four new models boast 90-dB sensitivity, enabling the panels to play much louder than previous generation panels. All models have an injection-molded polypropylene diaphragm, extruded aluminum frame and require only 2 inches of depth for mounting. Optional enclosures are said to reduce sound transmission to adjacent rooms by up to 20 dB. The IS4 three-way panel shown in the photo has a suggested retail price of $1,600 per pair. Other pricing: The two-way IS2 is $1,100 per pair, the single stereo IS4SST is $900 and the ISW Woofer is $600.
OK, you can stop drooling now. We know you can’t wait to get your hands on the world’s first TV capable of displaying 8 million pixels of luscious detail—four times the resolution of 1080p. (We can’t, either.) Sony’s 84-inch XBR-84X900 4K LCD HDTV is one of the first 4K TVs to reach a handful of stores across the country. The heart of the set is a new chip that analyzes images with resolutions of 1080p or lower and upscales them to 4K. How well the chip performs that task is vitally important since 4K content for home viewing is not likely to be available for some time, even though Sony says 10,000 U.S. movie theaters are already using 4K projectors, and a growing number of theatrical movies are being shot in 4K.
It’s 11:00 on a Sunday night. Your honey just went up to bed and you can’t wait to crank up your latest Blu-ray acquisition: Jimi Plays Berkeley, a long-forgotten 1970 documentary that has been restored and remixed in 5.1 surround. Seconds after Hendrix rips into the first number, the dreaded foot stomping from above begins. The party’s over before it even starts. Last time it was a cataclysmic crescendo from Inception that did you in. Frustrated, you vow to remedy the situation and, once and for all, soundproof the family room that doubles as your home theater.
The Steinway Lyngdorf LS Concert speaker is distinguished not only for its towering stature and exquisite looks but for its technical design, which combines the virtues of line-source and dipole speaker design.
The boombox is alive and well in the form of the TDK Life on Record Wireless Boombox from Imation, which uses the TDK name under license. You won’t find a double cassette deck on this box, also known as the A73, but it does have an FM radio with presets and a feature few of us would have imagined back in the early ’80s: high-quality AAC wireless streaming via Bluetooth v2.1.
Features include good old-fashioned bass and treble knobs, a USB charging port so you can keep your phone powered up while you’re slinking down the street with the box on your shoulder, and an auxiliary input for when you want to go old-school and hook up your Teac tape deck. The A73’s rechargeable battery is said to last up to 6 hours when fully charged. List price is $400 but Amazon is currently selling it for $264.
TV bling? Who knew. Séura, the master of TVs that morph into mirrors and mirrors that turn into TVs, is showcasing the Crystal Frame Vanishing Television Mirror at CEDIA Expo. Incredibly, all that glitters around that 55-inch screen is not gold but a gazillion tiny Swarovski crystals. Really. How much will Crystal set you back? How's $16,500 sound? Séura offers more than 100 vanishing TV options with screens ranging in size from 10 to 75 inches with prices from $2,000 to $35,000.
The company is also introducing the Storm 1080p outdoor television with LuminOptics technology, which is said to ensure a bright, clear picture even on those sunny days when you're lounging poolside. Highlights include an anti-reflective tempered safety glass cover, an airflow system to control moisture brought about by extreme changes in temperature, an O-ring system that keeps water and other contaminants at bay, aircraft-grade aluminum construction and the ability to withstand temperatures as low as 30 below zero or as high as a scorching 140 degrees. Available in 42-, 47- and 55-inch screen sizes.
Wondering what it means when you see a Blu-ray Disc with a gold seal that says “Dolby TrueHD Advanced 96K Upsampling”? In its never-ending quest to squeeze every last drop of detail out of movie and music soundtracks, Dolby Labs has created a tool that enables studios and authoring/mastering facilities to take sound quality to an even higher level.