French speaker maker Focal will be debuting several next-generation models in its Electra Be lineup, so named for the beryllium tweeter used in each speaker. The 1008 Be ($5000/pair) is a 2-way bookshelf model, while the 1028 Be ($8500/pair, pictured) and 1038 Be ($12,500/pair) are 3-way floorstanders. The redesigned tweeter is said to have greater power handling capabilities with a crossover point all the way down to 2kHz.
Complimenting the new 650BD Blu-ray player from Cambridge Audio is the 650R A/V receiver. This 7.1-channel AVR provides 100Wpc in an acoustically damped chassis and supports all current audio formats. It also transcodes analog video to HDMI and offers a pure analog stereo-direct mode. That's a lot of AVR for $1800.
Well-known British speaker company Mordaunt-Short is introducing a new 2-way bookshelf model called the Performance 2. Priced at $4500/pair, this little gem is designed to be a no-compromise speaker with a 6.5-inch aluminum mid/bass driver and 1-inch aluminum-dome tweeter with a transmission line behind it to allow much lower frequencies and more controlled resonance.
Here's an interesting item—a 3-channel, class-D integrated amp from a French company called Micromega and US distributor Audio Plus Services. The AP180 provides full HDMI audio decoding and 180Wpc for three speakers in a home-theater setup, all for $2500. To complete a 5-channel system, Audio Plus Services recommends pairing the AP180 with the PW400 ($2800), which provides 400Wpc of class-D power for the front right and left speakers while the AP180 powers the center and surrounds.
Long known for high-quality audio products, Cambridge Audio is introducing the Azur 650BD Blu-ray player, which joins the growing ranks of so-called universal players that can play DVD-Audio and SACD in addition to Blu-ray, DVD, and CD. In addition, it provides BD-Live functionality and 7.1-channel analog-audio outputs, and it can decode all the audio formats, including Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, all for $750.
If 65 inches isn't big enough for you but 103 inches is too big—or too expensive—how about an 85-inch plasma? At CEDIA, the Panasonic Professional division is introducing the TH-85PF12U, which is equivalent in screen size to four 42-inchers, though the total resolution is still 1920x1080. It incorporates the company's new NeoPDP plasma panel that is said to exhibit a native contrast of 40,000:1. How much, you ask? Only $30,000, I reply.
Vizio is showing its first Blu-ray player, the VBR100, at $199 MSRP. It is BD Live (Profile 2.0) compatible (requires a separate, user-provided memory card). Multichannel audio formats are output over HDMI only (the player does not have multichannel analog outputs). The player can decode Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, and DTS to LPCM and output them over HDMI (plus native LPCM, of course). It cannot decode DTS-HD Master Audio (or DTS High Resolution) to LPCM; advanced DTS formats are decoded to the DTS "core" track only (generally DTS 5.1 48kHz). The Vizio VBR100 can, however, output all supported Blu-ray Disc audio formats over HDMI in bitstream form (including all DTS high resolution formats), where they may be decoded in a compatible A/V receiver or pre-pro.
Famous for its use of woven material instead of perforations in acoustically transparent screens, Screen Research will be debuting its new Supreme 2 motorized screen system at CEDIA. The system can be mounted on or in the ceiling with or without a trap door, and it can accommodate screen sizes from 70 to 160 inches and aspect ratios from 4:3 to 2.78:1, complete with horizontal and vertical masking. Pricing ranges from just over $3000 to more than $25,000, depending on screen size and options.
Among the subwoofers being introduced at CEDIA this year are MartinLogan's Dynamo 700 ($700) and 1000 ($1000). The Dynamo 1000 sports a 12-inch driver, while the 700's measures 10 inches. These are ML's first subs to feature built-in wireless RF receivers, eliminating the need for unsightly cables, and both models can be oriented as down-firing or forward-firing
Universal remotes might not seem like the sexiest products, but that impression could change with the CEDIA introduction of the MX-5000 from Universal Remote Control. Why? Because it's the world's first remote to offer haptic technology, which confirms each button push with a small vibration, making it much easier to operate without taking your eyes off the screen. Even better, it can send commands via IR, RF, or WiFi. All this control can be yours for $1200.
Runco will be showing over a dozen new products at CEDIA, including the VX-33i and VX-33d, the newest members of the Video Xtreme series. These projectors are said to pump out enough light to fill a cinema-size screen, and they offer a variety of lens options. The VX-33i ($50,000) incorporates Runco's Vivix video processing internally, while the VX-33d ($60,000) comes with the DHD 3 outboard box, which offers the same processing and more connectivity.
In addition to the Seismic 110, Paradigm will be introducing two new flagship subwoofers at CEDIA this year. The Sub 1 ($3500) has three pairs of stacked 8-inch drivers, while the Sub 2 ($7500) sports 10-inch drivers in the same geometrically aligned configuration, which is said to balance the forces generated by the drivers. Powering the Sub 1 is a class D amp that generates 1700W sustained/3400W peak, while the Sub 2's amp puts out an astounding 3000W sustained/7500W peak with a 20-amp, dedicated 120V circuit.
Long known for its high-quality audio products, Anthem is entering the video-projector business at this year's CEDIA with two models: the LTX 300 ($5300) and LTX 500 ($8000). Both are 1080p LCoS models—based on the JVC chassis from the looks of them—with motorized focus and zoom and Ultrawide True-Fit screen mode for 2.35:1 movies. The spec'd contrast ratio of the LTX 500 is higher than the 300 (50,000:1 vs. 30,000:1), though the peak light output of the 500 is slightly lower. Also, the LTX 500 is THX certified.
Panasonic's new TH-85PF12U is the industry's first 85-inch, 1080p plasma. Available in October, this NeoPDP (Plasma Display Panel) has a claimed peak contrast ratio of 40,000:1 (2,000,000:1 dynamic). It's also claimed to require much less power than would be possible in the past in a plasma display this big. At 74.4" by 41.8" and 276 lbs., it's equal in size to four 42-inch displays, and is within 3.6" of being as wide as this writer's projectionscreen! The price: $30,000. I'll take one for the family room, one for the den...
Runco's XTREME VX-33i and VX-33d three-chip DLP projectors will be featured at CEDIA. At $49,995 and $59.995 respectively, and available with a variety of optional lenses, they're designed for luxury home theaters using very large (above 120" diagonal) screens. The VX-33i includes Runco's integrated Vivix video processing, while the VX-33d features Runco's outboard DHD video processor-controller, also incorporating Vivix.