The biggest news at Sony's press conference today was the introduction of the VPL-VW1000ES, the world's first "affordable" 4K home-theater projector. With a resolution of 4096x2160, this baby produces up to 2000 ANSI lumens to fill screens measuring up to 200 inches diagonally, and new SXRD panels and Iris3 technology boost the projector's specified dynamic contrast to 1,000,000:1. Of course, it also does 3D, with full anamorphic capabilities in both 2D and 3D mode.
But what about 4K content? Sony claims to be developing a complete line of 4K products and working with the Blu-ray Disc Association on a 4K spec, but meanwhile, the VW1000ES includes an onboard 4K upscaler.
So how affordable is it? Sony would only say "less than $25,000." That's way less than the Sony and JVC 4K digital-cinema projectors (and Meridian's version of the JVC for ultra-high-end home theaters), which bodes well for a 4K future. The VW1000ES should be available in December, and you can bet we'll be putting it through its paces just as soon as possible.
First seen as a concept piece at CES last January, the HMZ-T1 is now ready for prime time. This headmount 3D display includes two small, 720p OLED panelsone for each eyein a futuristic-looking contraption that sits on your head with padded earphones on the sides. The interocular distance and earphones are both adjustable, as is the support structure that holds the device on your head. Because the two displays are completely isolated from each other, there is no crosstalk whatsoever. When fitted properly, most of the unit's weight is on the forehead, which is reasonably comfortable, but I don't know if that comfort will last through an entire movie.
The image is truly amazing, with exceptional 3D and super-deep blacks. However, moving your head around and seeing the "screen" move with you is very strange, especially when you can see the floor below the unit. Fortunately, light blockers can be installed to more completely isolate you from the real world.
Joining the recently announced VPL-VW30ESwhich we received for review just before we left for CEDIAis the new VPL-VW95ES. Among its features is a 2D anamorphic mode and Picture Position, which lets you store various focus and zoom settings for different aspect ratios. The SXRD panels provide multi-zone alignment, and an advanced iris offers up to 150,000:1 of dynamic contrast. In the realm of 3D, the VW95ES provides an integrated IR transmitter, 2D-to-3D conversion, dynamic lamp control for greater brightness in 3D mode, and the ability to adjust 2D and 3D separately.
After Belkin's first attempt at a wireless HDMI system several years agowhich never got off the groundthe company is trying again with its new ScreenCast AV4. The system uses the 5GHz radio band and consists of a transmitter, shown here in the lower right, and a receiver (upper left) that can be up to 100 feet away in the same room. The transmitter has four HDMI inputs, which are selected with the included remote, and it can pass full-resolution 1080p and 3D signals. Available this fall, the list price is $249.
Atlantic Technology's Peter Tribeman was in no mood to mince words about the divergence of the video and audio industries. TV makers, he declared, "have thrown our industry under the bus." The occasion—and the solution—is a soundbar with killer bass that will "take the den and the livingroom back for the audio industry."
When I first heard H-PAS (Hybrid Pressure Acceleration System) technology from Solus/Clements and Atlantic Technology at CEDIA two years ago, I was very impressed at the depth of bass produced by relatively small drivers in a specially ported cabinet. Since then, we've reviewed the AT-1 floorstanding speaker, which garnered a Top Pick designation. At CEDIA this week, Atlantic Technology will be demonstrating its new H-PAS PowerBar 235, a 2-channel, 42-inch soundbar that claims to reach down to 47Hz at -3dB with no subwoofer. Can't wait to hear it!
Most manufacturers are keeping a tight lid on their product introductions at CEDIA until the show starts, but SIM2 has announced a new line of four projectors in advance. Going by the series name Nero, all models are single-chip DLP designs with 3D capabilities using active-shutter glasses. (The company's much-more-expensive, 3-chip Lumis Duo 3D dual-projector system uses Infitec spectral-filter glasses, the same technology employed by Dolby 3D.) The four Nero projectors differ in their feature sets and brightness/contrast specs, and one even offers a native 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Three different lenses will be available, and the grayscale and colorimetry of all models can be separately calibrated in 2D and 3D mode using a PC-based interface. Pricing starts at $19,990. Stay tuned for our impressions of these projectors from the show floor next week.
Summer is just about over, which means it's time for the annual confab known as CEDIA (Custom Electronics Design and Installation Association) Expo. Next week, the show returns to Indianapolis, Indiana, after several years in Denver and Atlanta while the Indiana Convention Center underwent extensive renovation as depicted in the rendering above. Home Theater will be there in force with five correspondentsRob Sabin, Tom Norton, Mark Fleischmann, Darryl Wilkinson, and myselfall blogging from the show floor about the super-cool audio, video, and custom-installation goodies that will undoubtedly be unveiled. So be sure to check HomeTheater.com often for the latest from the world of high-end home theater, and prepare to drool!