This new spectroradiometer was brought to my attention by William Phelps, video expert and currently working with Meridian on its digital projectors. A spectroradiometer is a sophisticated test tool used to measure and calibrate video displays (we use the Photo Research PR0650 in much of our testing). This SP-100 from Orb is not a product for the average consumer, but something for the calibration specialist, or well-healed video perfectionist, to know about. Not cheap at about $8000, it's nevertheless less expensive than much of its direct competition. According to Phelps, it compared favorably to a $30,000 Minolta device.
No pricing or availability was set yet, but Panasonic showed this portable Blu-ray player, which includes the same capabilities as its standard players. It uses the same outstanding UniPhier decoding/processing chip the standalone players do, and here’s a trick- it also has an HDMI out so you can plug it into your TV when you get back home from your road trip. Because you can doesn’t mean you will, but that’s still kinda cool.
Vivitek was the only manufacturer I found showing DLP projection with an LED light source. And there’s good reason for that- the company claims an exclusive deal with Texas Instruments on its LED-based DLP light engines. This technology is significant in two areas- no bulb replacements, ever, and no more color separation “rainbow” artifacts. The H6080FD is full 1080p, and incorporates TI’s DynamicBlack dynamic iris system. The image was being shown on a very small screen by front projection standards, but had a lot of pop and detail with rainbows nowhere to be seen. The 6080 is due later this year at an MSRP of $19,999. This is a new wrinkle we’re very anxious to get a closer look at!
These Academy Sovran speakers should certainly get the award for the most-travelled consumer electronics equipment. Koetsu USA, a distribution company connected to the well-known Japanese cartridge manufacturer turned to the Italian company Chario for this particular speaker, which makes it one of the most transcontinental speakers out there.
SIM2's Domino 60 single-chip 1080p DLO was making sweet pictures on a 2.35:1 screen together with a static anamorphic lens from Panamorph. The projector can process the image so that a conventional 1.78:1 image will be properly proportioned when it passes through the lens. $8300 for the projector and Panamorph (the projector is also available separately).
The bottom floor of the Hilton Hotel's convention center (adjacent to the Las Vegas Convention Center) is home to hundreds of small stands hawking every description of small electronic thingamajig, most of them representing small Chinese companies. I searched out two of them, only to find that they didn't market anything like what I expected to find: speakers (Dayton) and projectors (Sharpvision).
The Paradigm Seismic 110 sub has a rounded top, and to complement the Millenia Series speakers, a diecast chassis. And it makes the best picture. But the Paradigm subs that will really raise eyebrows are the marginally less photogenic Sub 12 ($1999) and Sub 15 ($2999), each of which has dual 800-watt amps and dual voice coils driving a single cone. Why? More output, better control, less distortion. And there's USB input for fine tuning via the Perfect Bass Kit.
Mark Fleischmann raved about the input jack panel to his hotel TV in an earlier post. Here at the Hyatt Place we have even more flexibility, including component, HDMI, and a myriad of other connections. And the TVs in the rooms are 42" LG plasmas! If I had only had brought along something to plug into them, like a Blu-ray player!! And this hotel is cheaper than the Mirage, with parking right outside the door and no noisy casino to traipse through from car to room. In exchange, all we have to put up with is being under the takeoff leg at McCarran airport 18 hours a day. Actually, we're under it 24 hours a day. The hotel doesn't move for those other six hours; there are no flights from midnight to 6AM.
DLS designs its products in Sweden and has them assembled in Taiwan with enclosures from China. But the company designs and manufactures its own drivers. The M Line includes the M66 tower, for $3500/pair, plus the MC66 center, M60 monitor, and M Sub 10.
Phase Technology's Teatro PC310 ($1200) has three 5.25-inch woofers, five 1.5-inch soft dome midranges, and three 1-inch soft dome tweeters, some of which you see here, and some of which are mounted at the sides. Imaging was wide, the feel was smooth and natural (more so than most sound bars), and if the regular one-size grille doesn't match your flat panel display, you can have one custom cut.
"We like the sound," said the MK Sound folks in response to my question -- "why an analog bass management controller?" The DMC-1 accepts five XLR input for line-level loop-through. Available in February for $1200. MK is the newly returned heir to the M&K legacy, so expect to see lots of classic models return with upgraded parts to make them even better.
It’s no revelation that Blu-ray players have become more and more accessible to the general public. Now the question has turned from “Do you have a Blu-ray player?” to “What can your Blu-ray player do?” NAD aims to answer the latter question with its new, fully featured T 587 Blu-ray player.
Epson demonstrated its top of the line ProCinema 7500UB LCD projector at CEDIA. It looked excellent there, but after undergoing further refinements to smooth out some pre-production wrinkles, its finally ready for prime time, with one of the best-looking images at the show. With a claimed native contrast ratio of 6000:1, it didn't appear to need the help of a dynamic iris (though it has one) to produce convincingly deep and rich blacks. Worked great with an anamorphic lens, too, on a 101" wide Stewart Studiotek 130 projection screen. The projector uses an HQV REON processor, has a full color management system, red, green, and blue-only modes for setup, and a claimed tight color alignment of the three panels. The best part may be the $4199 price.
Sharp’s DLP front projectors have always been overachievers that offered a ridiculous amount of performance for the money. Nevertheless, with the company’s sharp (ahem) focus on LCD flat panels, I wasn’t certain we’d see any new front projector products from Sharp at this show. Well, I was wrong!