Panasonic brought along its 152-inch, 4K plasma. It was surprising how small it looked on the open show floor, until a passerby stood in front of it to provide a sense of scale. I don't even want to imagine how much it adds to an electric (including air conditioning!) bill. Of course if you can afford the set, that probably won't matter much to you.
Wolf demonstrated its Cub 3D projector ($15,000) on a SI Black Diamond screen (gain 1.4, 10-feet wide). The demo material consisted of music, including scenes from the new Blu-ray release of Rio which I recently reviewed for our November issue. It's a terrific transfer, and I had no complaints about the Wolf. A review sample of the Cub is expected at chez Home Theater, soon.
Monster Cable brought along its test gear to demonstrate that HDMI cables can differ. This is a hard sell for many users, considering the high prices some of these products command over others, but a clean "eye" pattern, visible on the display screen, indicates a cable with optimum video performance.
2011 is SIM2 Multimedia's 15th anniversary. To celebrate, the company is introducing 15 new models in 2011. In honor of the event, members of SIM2's upper management, including President Maurizio Cini, also attended the show.
All of SIM2's projectors are DLP designs. The new models fall into five different ranges: CRYSTAL, MICO, NERO, LUMIS, and CINEMA. The CRYSTAL range (2D only) consists of two entries, the $6500 Crystal 35 and the $8500 Crystal 45. To our recollection, these are nearly blue light specials for a manufacturer which is not normally known for relatively affordable projectors.
As usual, video guru Joe Kane was holding forth in his black-curtained lair in the land of Da-Lite , demonstrating his Samsung-derived projectors (sadly, no longer available) and his approved, Da-Lite Affinity screens (which definitely are). Joe is working 24/7 to get his next test disc ready to market, which will include 3D material and 3D test patterns sorely needed by video pros, calibrators, and users alike.
The magic behind the curtain for the Future Technology Pavilion's big rear projection screen (above) consisted of six Digital Projection D-Vision 30-1080 DLP projectors, each responsible for filling one sixth of the image, combined with edge blending to hide the transitions from one projector to the other. These projectors offer a short throw, permitting a short, 9-foot distance from projector to screen.
Once you divide the high definition source image into six segments, each of those segments will be far smaller in pixel count. Each of these segments must therefore be upconverted to match the projector's native resolution. The processing is further complicated by the fact that the screen used here is 2.35:1, not the 16:9 that would be a direct multiple of the six projectors' native resolutions. In addition, allowance must be made for overlap where the images meet. An overlap of about 13% is needed to provide for the edge blending. And the edge blending itself requires major processing power.
The area of the Future Technology display of most interest to home theater fans, however, involved this huge, 244.5-inch x 104-inch, 2.35:1 Stewart Aeroview 100 screen. It's a rear projection setup using six DLP projectors with edge blending. The image you can see here was only 16:9 for this preview, but 2.35:1 material that fills the screen is on the menu for the show days. The image was as impaired, as this photo suggests, by the ambient lighting, which is also higher on setup day than it will be during show hours. For more details, see the next post.
The so-called Future Technology Pavilion was open for a press tour on Wednesday, press conference/setup day (the show formally opens on Thursday September 8). Much of the content here was of limited A/V interest, but will be of interest to custom installers who often add home automation and similar services to their repoitoire. The most interesting features here were those that offer a wide range of medical monitoring facilities, providing health and well-being warnings that can be transmitted to the appropriate agencies and individuals if needed. In other words, just the ticket for a granny-friendly house.