Screen Innovations has incorporated adjustable (and defeatable) backlighting at the boarders of its zero-edge, fixed-frame projection screens. Just don’t call it Ambilight! Apart from this, however, I saw a stunning, bright, and colorful image (granted, the source was Speed Racer) on the 138-inch diagonal, 2.35:1, 1.4-gain Black Diamond screen, driven by a Sony VPL-VW1000 4K projector and a standard 2K Blu-ray disc.
I always take time out at CEDIA to sample some of the home theater seating exhibits that sprinkle the show floor. OK, so it’s a tough show and the dogs do bark! This jumbo love seat from Cinema Tech is more than just comfy. It not only reclines, but a powered headrest can be raised or lowered, depending on your needs of the moment. It’s available in different configurations (such a single seat). The catch is the price (for the loveseat shown) of about $7500 depending on the leather selected. A number of other manufacturers were also showing theater seats with adjustable headrests.
JVC’s booth on the show floor, using its top of the line DLA-X95R projector with e-Shift2 technology, provided one of the more eye-popping demos at the show. The 2D demo, with clips produced specifically for demonstration purposes from a 4K source file downscaled to 2K for transfer to Blu-ray, looked incredible on a 123” diagonal, 16:9, Stewart Studiotek 130 screen, suggesting that e-Shift2 really is a genuine step up from last year’s original e-Shift. The sound was special as well, provided by Definitive Technology speakers (anchored by the Mythos Super Towers at the left and right).
Digital Projection was featuring Its D-Vision 35 LED ($39,000 with lens) and D-Vision Scope ($34,995). Both are single-chip home theater designs, identical in form factor to the photo here, but very different in their features. The D-Vision LED uses LED lighting for consistent color and long life, though with some sacrifice in brightness. The D-Vision Scope has a higher than HD resolution chip that enables projection of 2.35:1 films without an anamorphic lens and with an on-screen pixel density of 2560 x 1080. Both looked outstanding, though I favored the brightness and big screen capability of the D-Vision Scope.
JVC announced nine new LCOS projectors at its Thursday CEDIA press conference. As before, these fall into two lines, Procision (consumer) and Reference (pro), each of which have models that differ only in model number (with one exception, the Reference DLA-RS4810 at $5095, which does not have a Procision equivalent).
All but the base model in each line employ JVC’s e-shift2 technology, which upconverts 2D HD content to 4K, i.e. 3840 x 2160 (as last year, the projectors cannot accept a native 4K source). Further video processing then manipulates this upconverted signal to operate with the projectors’ 2K (1920 x 1080) LCOS imaging chips.
E-shift2 is an upgrade from last years e-shift. Compared to e-shift, e-shift2 is said to sample 12 times as many pixels in its processing. It also simplifies the light path for higher brightness. The new projectors are said to produce higher native contrast ratios than last year’s models, with the top of the line designs said to achieve 130,000:1. The lamps in the new lineup are also specified to 4000 hours, with more stable brightness levels with increasing hours. You can also operate the projectors from your smart phone or tablet with a downloadable application.
The top two models in each line carry ISF and (pending) THX 3D certification. E-shift2 now extends down to a new $5000 price point with the DLA-X55R (Procision) and DLA-RS48 (Reference). The top models are the DLA-X95R and DLA-RS66, each at $11,999. The popularly priced DLA-X35 and DLA-RS46, which do not have e-shift, will retail for $3500. 3D glasses and a 3D transmitter are optional. Delivery of these new models is expected before the end of the year.
First impressions on the first day included the absence of some major players (Samsung, Panasonic, and apart from a small off-site event to launch its 4K, 84-inch HDTV, LG) leaving Sony the only heavy hitter in the flat panel business present. Many booths were smaller. Bowers&Wilkins/Classe/Rotel were hardly the only ones to downscale their square footage on the show floor-though in their case they have also set up shop at an off-site hotel.
VEFXi is a new company (to us at least) with a plan to convert 2D to 3D on your 3D HDTV set. You say your set can already to this. as most can? But not quite like this, as VEFXi clearly demonstrated with its 3D-Bee Diamond ($699); It was the most convincing conversion I've yet seen, producing a a convincing illusion of 3D popping out of the set rather than existing mostly behind the screen's frame.
The company is also working on a glasses-free 3D solution, the 3D-Bee Ultimate, but the demo showed that this still needs work to produce an acceptable, artifact-free picture.
It seems that every screen maker these days is offering a 2.35:1, curved screen. The advantage to such a screen is its cinematic look. The disadvantages are possible geometry issues, cost, the fact that it can't be retracted, and possible audio concerns (a concave surface near your speakers isn't a plus). Elite joins the parade with its Lunette curved screens, available with several different screen materials, including a new woven acoustically transparent design (with an effective gain of under 0.9) and the company's 1.1 gain non-perf white.
The surprise here is the price structure. In a world where some curved screens command five-figure price tags, a 103-inch diagonal Lunette will set you back about $1500. Other sizes are available. Unfortunately, the woven, acoustically transparent screen will almost double that price. That's because while Elite screens are made in China, the woven material is available only in the U.S.
Epson's long delayed LCOS (reflective LCD) projector caused quite a ruckus when it was demonstrated at the 2010 CEDIA. But it was never released and has now gone back to the drawing board. So don't look for it any time soon.
But there is a new Epson LCD in town, the PowerLite Pro Cinema 6020. The claim of 2400 lumens and a peak contrast ratio of 320,000:1 would, if realized, be industry highs. The refresh rate of 480Hz is said to increase the 3D brightness. At under $4000 when available in November, the projector will come with 2 pair of active 3D glasses, a spare lamp, and a guarantee of an exchange if, on delivery, there is even one dead pixel.