At this year's CEDIA Expo, two technologies ruled the day: A/V servers and Internet Protocol (IP). It's safe to say that convergence really has invaded every part of the home theater arena. If your eyes tend to gloss over when your computer-savvy friends toss around words like IP, network, and Ethernet, I've got some bad news for you: You can run, but you can't hide. First, the computers took over our offices; now they're invading our entertainment space. Someday, they'll kill us all—but hey, we'll probably be gone by then, so let's talk about how IP can enhance your home theater experience.
Curse you, JBL, for giving me yet another reason to want to move out of my apartment. As if paper-thin walls, the inability to own a dog, and the desire to dine more than 20 feet away from the toilet weren't enough, I must now contend with colder stares than usual from my neighbors—stares that coincide with the arrival of the SCS300.7 7.1-channel sub/sat system.
Being a big electronics company and not having a $1,000 A/V receiver is a little like being a big car company and not having a car around $20,000 to $25,000. It's that key middle ground that you hope will ultimately help transition people from your entry level to your high-end level. It's also one of the first levels where people expect something well beyond the basics, and the competition to provide it, and grab those extra dollars, is stiff.
While the wife and I haven't quite reached a peace accord on the matter of our abundant remote controls, one source of marital friction has recently been downgraded to a non-issue: When once we clashed over dwindling recording space on our DVR, Humax has now given us 250 gigabytes, the most in any TiVo, which is frankly more capacity than we know what to do with. The T2500 TiVo Series2 digital video recorder is the Korean company's first consumer electronics product marketed in the United States, under their Humax USA brand. Although Humax is a major global manufacturer of satellite set-top boxes, this single-tuner recorder is not a DirecTV receiver, so you must provide it with a signal from either cable or a satellite box.
The sound goes round and round and comes out here.
The 2004 Home Entertainment East Show was chock full of cool, new high-tech goodies, but I found myself returning again and again to the Arcam/Gallo Acoustics room. This was all the more surprising because I'm pretty familiar with Arcam's uncommonly elegant electronics and Gallo's radically round speakers, but they were demoing the Drumline DVD at realistically loud levels, and the choreographed thunder of competing marching bands was huge, dynamically alive, and tons of fun. A week after the show, I was still reminiscing about the sound. I made some phone calls, worked out some scheduling and shipping details, and now I'm sitting here exploring the system's capabilities in my very own home theater. Let me tell ya, the spectacular sound I heard at the show wasn't a hallucination; the Arcam/Gallo combination is good. . .really good.
I've been a fan of Liquid Crystal on Silicon technology for some time now. It has the potential to take the better aspects of DLP and LCD and fuse them into a bright, high-resolution hybrid. Unfortunately, there are two main reasons why you don't see more LCOS products on the market. The first, and perhaps the most important, is the inability for anyone to efficiently mass-produce lots of working chips. At CES 2004, Intel announced that they were getting into the LCOS chip-making business. If anyone could make LCOS chips on the cheap, Intel could. Well, they couldn't. This is just fine for JVC, who has been making LCOS products for years under their D-ILA (Direct-drive Image Light Amplifier) moniker.
Hallelujah! A custom-installation speaker package even an audiophile can love.
Klipsch's new THX Ultra2 speaker system boldly goes where poseur speakers fear to tread. Let's face it, the speaker industry is obsessed with producing ever skinnier and sleeker designs; you know, the sort of trendy speakers that look cool straddling plasma TVs. For their new high-end line, Klipsch's product planners took a different approach: The THX Ultra2's raison d'étre is the rapidly expanding custom-installation market. No doubt most of these big-'n'-brawny speakers will be tucked out of sight or flush-mounted in a posh home theater, but I'd bet a bunch of these systems will be sold to performance-oriented buyers. They're that good.
<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/headshot150.tjn.jpg" WIDTH=150 HEIGHT=194 HSPACE=6 VSPACE=4 BORDER=0 ALIGN=RIGHT>The booths are disassembled, the carpets are rolled up and stored, and the showgoers are back at their day jobs. CEDIA Expo 2004 is over, and there's no doubt that the planning for 2005 began the day after this year's installment closed.
MitsubishiNot only does Mitsubishi's WD-62825 rear-projection HDTV have a big, 62-inch screen for high-definition shows to stretch out in, but it also has a built-in 120-gigabyte hard disk for recording them. The disk has room for 12 hours of high-def programming or 72 hours at standard-def.