HE 2004 East Takes Manhattan!
Over the four days of the Show, the New York Hilton & Towers was filled with almost 15,000 home entertainment enthusiasts, 2500 members of the trade, and 450 journalists from all over the world, who came to demo the finest home audio, video, computer, and digital photography technology, as well as vinyl records, CDs, DVDs, and more—200 brands spread out over 80 rooms.
More than 750 people were treated to a digital presentation of the movie Van Helsing, courtesy of Samsung and Texas Instruments, displayed via a TI DLP Cinema projector. And more than 1200 music fans filled the Hilton's ballroom for Friday night's grand concert, recorded live on XM Satellite Radio and rebroadcast throughout the following week, starring Joan Osborne, Tom Scott and The New York All Stars, Carla Lother, and the dynamic Nicole Henry. The performers received a standing ovation from the crowd. Special thanks to XM Satellite Radio and Delphi, who co-sponsored the concert as well as a charity auction of audio and video gear donated by exhibitors at the Show to benefit the Elf Foundation. A total of $30,000 was raised.
Highlights of the Show
Sony Electronics showed one of the first-ever public demonstrations of the forthcoming Blu-Ray Disc format, which will offer full HDTV definition, along with an outstanding multichannel SACD demo played through Wilson Audio WATT/Puppy loudspeakers. Additionally, Sony surprised Show attendees with its new Location Free TV, which permits wireless viewing of broadband content in any room of the house or from any Wi-Fi hotspot, and will be available this fall with both 7-inch and 12-inch displays. Consumers will be able not only to enjoy TV programs, DVDs, and CDs, but also to surf the Internet, and access and control just about any piece of A/V equipment connected to the Location Free base station.
Hewlett-Packard introduced a new line of HDTV-ready LCD TVs and monitors ideal for HDTV cable, satellite, DVD movies, and computer gaming.
Samsung proved that high-definition television doesn't need to be expensive. The company introduced four new HDTVs with built-in tuners, all priced under $1000.
Headphones in all shapes and sizes, wired and wireless, were popular attractions from Sennheiser, Shure, and AKG for CD, DVD, and iPod users desperate for a quality upgrades.
Noel Lee of Monster Cable is waging a one-man war against ugly hi-fi—his company not only showed a new range of gorgeous furniture but also launched its take on room-friendly loudspeakers, including a slim, sexy cylinder and a speaker array that surrounds a plasma screen.
Visitors to the Harvey Electronics room saw a beautifully reproduced, high-definition DVHS playback of The Fifth Element with a Runco projector, McIntosh surround-sound electronics, and 5.1 channels of MartinLogan loudspeakers. The visuals were so detailed that you could see flaws in the aliens' makeup!
Almarro, Creek, Epos, Devore, and a host of other specialty audio brands proved that you don't have to re-mortgage the house to get fantastic sound quality. During a standing-room-only "Meet the Editors" seminar, several Stereophile writers mentioned Almarro's hot little tube amp.
Visitors to the Joseph Audio—Manley Labs exhibit were fooled into thinking they were hearing the company's top-of-the-line speakers and amps. In fact, they were listening to Joseph's new in-wall speakers and an inexpensive Manley integrated amp.
Video projector manufacturer Sim2 USA introduced an elegant-looking three-chip DLP projector that offered a stunning contrast ratio of 3800:1 with a native resolution of 1280x720. The HT500 LINK, designed by Giorgio Revoldini, features a remote DigiOptic Image Processor using fiber-optic cables, making Sim2 the only projector manufacturer using this technology for home theater applications.
Rock'n'roll fanatics had the privilege of meeting and talking with Bob Irwin of Sundazed Records—what the man doesn't know about rock music, isn't worth knowing.
Glacier Audio, Atma-Sphere, and Gilmore demonstrated systems with veteran electric bassist Abraham Laboriel, who played live in their exhibit room.
VOOM was present, showing off its satellite HDTV service, which currently offers twice as many channels in HD as any other provider, including the recently added ESPN.
The free, live lunchtime music sessions were a welcome bonus, with music from jazz and blues recording artists. Acoustic Sounds' Honey Boy Edwards—88 years young and going strong—was a huge hit, along with the Mario Rodriguez Group and the Tony Ormond Trio.
Chad Kassem of Acoustic Sounds earned the gratitude of vinyl junkies everywhere with the introduction of a boxed set of the complete recordings of Creedence Clearwater Revival that includes a bonus 45rpm disc of previously unreleased material.
Wilson Benesch and The Sound Organisation sponsored a well-attended recital by Peter Sykes, who performed J.S. Bach's complete Goldberg Variations on a harpsichord for a crowd of 102 ecstatic music lovers.
Kimber Kable's Ray Kimber played his Isomike DSD master tapes using Thiel Audio speakers and Krell Industries amplifiers. "The best reproduced sound I heard at the Show," said John Atkinson, editor-in-chief of Stereophile magazine.
The Musical Surroundings room was jam-packed for a raffle in which lucky Showgoers had a chance to meet Stereophile senior contributing editor Michael Fremer, who drew the winning numbers for a Clearaudio turntable, a pair of Vandersteen loudspeakers, a Rogue power amplifier, and two Equi=tech AC power conditioners.
Co-sponsors of the Home Entertainment 2004 East Show included publications from PRIMEDIA's Home Technology & Photography Group, including Best, Connected, eDigitalPhoto, Petersen's PHOTOgraphic, Home Theater, Stereophile, Stereophile Ultimate AV, and Shutterbug, along with www.hometoys.com, the premier web portal, and Home Technology Library, providing up-to-the-minute news, in-depth articles, product reviews, research archives, event calendars, and company directories.
The Home Entertainment 2005 East Show will again take place in New York City in May 2005.
Home Entertainment 2004 West is scheduled for November 4–7, 2004 at the Westin–St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco, California.