Kevo is a Bluetooth-enabled motorized deadbolt that turns your smartphone into an electronic key (eKey). When your phone is close enough for Bluetooth communication to be established, the eKey allows the deadbolt to recognize and respond to the touch of a finger. In other words, if you come home with groceries in both arms, the Kevo app will automatically put the Kevo deadbolt into a touch-receptive mode.
If there is one reoccurring theme at the show it’s that your subs are nowhere near big enough. California Audio Technology seems to have gotten the message with their in-wall 18” drivers. These were actually some of the smaller subs I saw around the floor.
Darbee Vision won our Top Pick last year with their ugly duckling, the Darblet. While the processor didn’t have any outer beauty, its processing turned your video into a swan. Darbee evidently got the message and was showing a prototype version with a very clean aesthetic that included a gorgeous touchscreen and chassis. No word on when this may ship but one can only hope.
If the bright red leather and distinctive stitching reminds you of an exotic car, it’s no accident. First Impressions Theme Theaters, the Miami-based architectural design firm specializing in home theater, custom built the $3,500 theater seat for the owner of one of the most stunning cars on the planet, the Ferrari 458 Italia. Note the carbon-fiber cup holders. Oh, and around back there’s even a tool pouch.
Revolv’s Smart Home Solution is designed to easily bring together a variety of off-the-shelf devices such as the Sonos music system, Philips Hue wireless lighting, Yale automated locks, and thermostats into an automation system that’s extremely easy to set up and control with a single one simple smart device app.
Blu-ray players seem to have vanished from the face of the CEDIA floor this year but that didn’t stop Oppo Digital from debuting their latest revision to our Top Pick BDP-103 with the BDP-103D. Everything remains the same but Oppo has integrated the Darbee processing we reviewing in the Darblet processor last year. The player will be shipping in October at $599. This is a hardware revision so no upgrade options for existing owners. This fuses two of our top pick models into one exciting product so it should be another home run for Oppo.
If you’re going to rock out in the backyard, don’t skimp on speakers. Among the dozens of products on display in the expansive Dana Innovations booth at CEDIA 2013, the one that caught my eye was the “SonArray by Sonance.” For $2,499, you get eight outdoor satellite speakers plus an in-ground subwoofer (that bronze mushroom top in the photo). With stealthily strategic placement in your landscaping, Sonance says you can serenade a 2,000 square foot area. The sound? Way better than you would expect.
Those who think of the Definitive Technology Mythos tower speakers as nothing more than slender lifestyle products will be floored when they hear the new Mythos ST-L. I just heard a pair of 'em at the CEDIA Expo, and the deep, defined bass these 6.75-inch-wide towers pumped out was one of the highlights of the show for me.
Walk into MartinLogan’s demo room at CEDIA 2013 and you walk into the past—specifically, the ‘60s, maybe early ‘70s. All-too-familiar glowing psychedelic posters line blacklight-lit walls accented by lava lamps and glowing tubes. Music blaring. It could be 1967, if not for the lack of a particular aroma and the 7.4-channel sound system. It was quad on steroids: Seven ElectroMotion ESL hybrid electrostats powered by five PrimaLuna DiaLogue tube amplifiers and four BalancedForce subwoofers, each with its own 850-watt amp, anchoring the corners of the room. The demo I walked in on wasn’t music of the ‘60s or ‘70s but a 5.1-channel mix of the Dire Staits ’80s anthem, “Money For Nothing.” The slow build and swell that introduces Mark Knopfler’s electronically processed guitar was like you’ve never heard before…If only I had more time to stick around and maybe listen to a little Pink Floyd.
Satellite/subwoofer sets and stand-mount speakers were conspicuous in their near-absence from this year's CEDIA but Monitor Audio showed three different (and differently shaped) sats. From left to right: The newest member of the family is Monitor's flagship sat, the Apex 10 ($1000/pair). Though the pic doesn't show it off well, the woofer has a dimpled surface that enables it to be both thin and strong, increasing clarity and reducing distortion. The MASS (Monitor Audio Satellite System), introduced at CES, is a 5.0-channel system selling for $699. Its fabric-wrapped polymer enclosure has a distinctive shape designed to inhibit bass-bloating standing waves. The Radius ($500/pair), an existing line, has been upgraded with a one-inch tweeter and four-inch woofer. Monitor's proprietary driver material is C-CAM, a ceramic-coated aluminum-magnesium blend. In all cases complementary centers and subs are available. Oh, and the speakers plug into their stands, with binding posts for cable at the bases of the stands.
Yamaha's YSP-1400 BL soundbar ($450) has eight little drivers behind that metal grille. They are designed to attain 5.1-channel status by beaming sound all over the place and bouncing it off walls. Take a look at those fat cylindrical feet. Those are the subwoofer drivers. There's Bluetooth, of course, and control apps for iOS and Android. A second new Yamaha soundbar is the YAS-152BL ($350) which is said to produce virtual 7.1-channel surround and also has built-in subs, this time firing out of the bottom surface. This bar's apps can be used to fine-tune the sound in addition to the usual volume and other adjustments. Both products have Dolby Digital and DTS decoding and (no surprise at these price points) no HDMI or lossless surround decoding. Both shipping next month.
If your 4K or 3D video needs to travel long distances, the Integra DTR-60.5 receiver has a big plus that's rare in receivers. A back-panel HTBaseT jack lets you use cheap Cat 5e or Cat6 ethernet cable to bridge distances up to 325 feet. And if you hate fumbling with wi-fi adapters, this receiver has it built in. Integra wants audiophiles who are investing in high-res downloads to know that it supports DSD, FLAC, WAV, and ALAC with no downconversion. Room correction is the highest-quality version of Audyssey, MultEQ XT32. The receiver also has both THX Select2 and ISF certification for high-quality audio and video. Rated power is 135 watts times two and presumably a lower number into multichannel loads. Price $2300, shipping now.
The Integra DHC-60.5 is a more affordable preamp/processor than their existing DHC 80.3. At $2,000, it is a full $1,000 less. But it doesn’t seem to yield anything up in features. Fewer ISF calibration settings than big brother – but hey, ISF settings! While the 80.5 offers two in-room HDMI outputs to the DHC-60.5’s single HDMI output, the 60.5 has an HDNet (HDMI over Ethernet) output big brother lacks. With that, you can run video to another room or use Ethernet cable if your house is so wired, instead of HDMI. Best feature for me are the Bluetooth antenna on the back so now your phone is your media player. Got it!
RedSeat Entertainment is launching the Tremor FX Home, “a dynamic home theater system that incorporates seat vibrations into movies, games and other entertainment.” Available in both pre-installed versions as well as kits for retrofitting into existing seating, Tremor FX’s technology is designed to dynamically vibrate and pulsate in response to a movie’s soundtrack via a series of actuators integrated into each seat.