As usual, video guru Joe Kane was holding forth in his black-curtained lair in the land of Da-Lite , demonstrating his Samsung-derived projectors (sadly, no longer available) and his approved, Da-Lite Affinity screens (which definitely are). Joe is working 24/7 to get his next test disc ready to market, which will include 3D material and 3D test patterns sorely needed by video pros, calibrators, and users alike.
The venerable Baltimore-based speaker maker showed three new monitors, two new soundbars, and three new subs. The three StudioMonitors include the SM65, an LCR with two 5.25-inch woofers ($449/each), SSM 55, a two-way design with 6.5-inch woofer, $299/each), and SM 45, two-way, 5.25-inch ($199/each). The two larger models have passive radiators on top; the smaller one is back-ported. All have woofer phase plugs whose rubber surfaces are dimpled to control air flow. These speakers are voiced for the audiophile on a budget, as opposed to the home theater buff looking for deep thrills, so the bass is said to trade off midbass force for greater extension. Shipping October. DefTech's two new soundbars include the XTR-SSA5 ($999) which has woofer-tweeter-woofer arrays for three front channels plus some extra drivers that sorta kinda contribute to surround effects (it's a long story). With Pink Floyd's "Money," the five-channel bar managed to break the cash-register effects free from the bar, about a foot out and to the sides. The three-channel version is the XTR-SSA3 ($799). Three new subs range in price from $599-799 and have remote controllable preset EQ modes. Coming this fall is the ProCinema 400 sat/sub set ($599).
SIM2 wasn't the only company with a native 2.35:1 DLP projector at the show. Digital Projection showed its dVision Scope 1080p single-chip model with a native resolution of 2560x1080 and a native (non-dynamic) contrast ratio of 7500:1. A modified Gennum processor expands 2.35:1 images to occupy the entire imager when black bars are detected. Pricing is around $50,000. Another new dVision model is the 35-1080p 3D, which uses active glasses and two lamps for 3D content. The price tag here is $35,000.
Digital Projection's entry-level 3D model is the M-Vision Cine 3D single-chip DLP, which outputs 3000 lumens without BrilliantColor (5500 lumens with BC, but you sacrifice some color fidelity in this case). Pricing is around $18,000.
As we all know, 3D needs as much brightness as it can get, and you get plenty with Digital Projection's Titan Quad 1080p 3D. This monster includes four lamps to blast up to 16,000 lumens at the screen with a native contrast ratio of 2000:1. You can up the contrast to 5000:1 by closing down the aperture, but then you get "only" 8000 lumens. The price for all that light? Just shy of $90,000.
You can pay thousands for a good screen, or paint your own for the low hundreds. Screen Goo Americas (probably the company with the most memorable name in the business) offers four flavors: Reference White (roughly unity gain) HIgh Contrast, Max Contrast, and Ultra Silver 3D (high gain, preserves light polarity). All of them may be rolled or sprayed on an appropriate flat, smooth surface. The even make a screen paint for rear projection! It's also said to be flexible enough that the screen can be moderately curved after painting. We're not saying that it can equal a professionally produced screen, but the demo we saw looked mighty impressive. If the cost of a screen is keeping you from acquiring a projection system, this approach might well help.
DNP Denmark may not be the most well known name in screens, but it makes some unique products. Hidden behind the bobble heads in the darkened area to the right of center here is the DNP Supernova Epic, a 132" diagonal, 2.35:1, 0.8 gain model with side masking. Made in Scandinavia, so you know it's expensive. All yours for $20,000.
DNP was using projectors from projectiondesign, and while that company has no booth at CEDIA this year, I was told to watch out for press releases. We will.
While it would seem a just another target-rich environment for feminism-bashing jokes and inappropriate sexual innuendoes in the sausagefest that is the annual CEDIA conference, the annual Women in CE breakfast held Saturday morning was actually one of the serious high points of this year’s CEDIA for me (and not simply because of the free prizes that were given out). In addition to a very interesting keynote address by Debra Boelkes, CEO of Business World Rising (a leadership development services firm dedicated to the advancement of high potential business leaders and stronger, more inclusive enterprises) that covered some of the societal and personal reasons why women succeed or fail in the current corporate business world, I was able to catch up with an old friend, Molly Gibson, who recently founded Sixty3percent, a retail sales training concept solely dedicated to marketing to women.
According to Molly (a woman with over 20 years of experience in marketing and sales in the CE industry), women make 63% of consumer electronics buying decisions, but despite the overwhelming numbers, they’re not engaged in the process at all. After interviewing hundreds of women in all economic ranges, Molly’s come up with a sales training program aimed at helping retailers and manufacturers to stop ignoring (at best) or alienating (at worst) the half of the population that makes the larger percentage of buying decisions when it comes to consumer electronics. While the ulterior motive for manufacturers and retailers is to sell more stuff to women, if they can figure out ways to do that while also improving the experiences that many women have when they walk into most consumer electronics stores, everyone will win in the end.
Draper is a major screen manufacturer but doesn't get a lot of play in the press. The small 2.35:1 screen shown here is curved, though that's not easy to spot in the photos. Draper can make any of its fixed screen sizes in a curved configuration for about a 50% premium over a comparable fixed screen. If that sounds like a lot, check out the competition from manufacturers who have grabbed more ink.
While it didn't photograph well in its dark location (despite my primo photographic skills!), DreamVision's new Inti series of projectors are lookers. At least their cosmetics are, and if their JVC innards are any indication, their performance will be as well (they were on static display only. The Inti 2, shown here, is $10,000. The Inti 1 is $7000, and the Inti 3 is $13,995.)
DVDO was demonstrating a prototype technology from parent company Silicon Image in the form of a 6-in/2-out HDMI matrix switcher. The important features include InstaPort, which allows switching inputs in less than a second because all ports are active all the time, and InstaPrevue, which displays PIP insets from all inputs as seen in this photo, letting you select the input you want based on the content. No pricing or availability was revealed.
Wireless HDMI was a common theme at CEDIA. DVDO's offering in this regard is AirHD, which uses the 60GHz WirelessHD system. It can convey up to 1080p/60 and 3D up to 30 meters within a room, but not from one room to another. A package with one transmitter (seen here on the right) and one receiver will go for $129 when it ships in November. The booth demo included an Epson projector with a built-in receiver.
The popular Edge video switcher/processor from DVDO is now greener thanks to lower power consumption than the previous generation. It provides five HDMI inputs and four analog-video inputs with five audio inputs and two HDMI outputsone A/V and the other audio-only for an AVR or pre/pro. As before, it upscales all inputs to 1080p and cleans up all sorts of video problems. It's shipping now for $499.
MusicLites is a wireless speaker/light system from Artison and Sylvania. Each MusicLite combines a 10-watt LED light (equivalent to an incandescent 65-watt light output) with a 2.75” speaker plus a built-in 20-watt amplifier and RF receiver. The system uses a proprietary 2.4 GHz technology, and the MusicLites fit in standard four-, five-, or six-inch recessed cans. Installation is as simple as setting a dipswitch or two on the back of the MusicLite assembly and then screwing it in to a standard light bulb socket. No cutting. No new wires. Any one of up to three sources can be transmitted to up to six zones, and multiple MusicLites can be configured together as one zone. Each MusicLite can be set for either left channel, right channel, or summed mono output. Audio sound quality is surprisingly good, especially for such a small speaker. The company will release a wireless 8-inch 300-watt powered subwoofer before the end of the year.
MusicLites retail for $250/each. A single transmitter with wireless remote control retails for $100/pkg. The subwoofer will have a suggested retail of $600. Overall it’s a very impressive package for the money.