Kaleidescape's CD/DVD/Blu-ray server gets around the copy protection issue with Blu-rays by having the user load his or her Blu-rays into this carousel-like unit--the Vault. The discs are then loaded onto hard drive servers and played from there. But they will only play from the server if the unit confirms that they are still in the Vault. If not, the server will no longer play the disc file. That's not a limitation with CDs or DVDs, which can also be loaded into the Vault, but can be removed (but still play) after copying onto the hard drives. The Vault holds over 300 discs, but the number of Blu-rays you can load will depend on how big a server you purchase. No word on whether the pretty blue light is standard or just a show special.
BDI says they have “high performance furniture”. I’m not sure what that means, exactly, but I do know the stuff they make is incredibly awesome with unique features, such as hidden wheels and integrated levelers, flow-through ventilation slots (in bottom panels, shelves, and back panels), IR-friendly glass, precision hardware (including things like soft-close hinges), as well as sliding - or removable - back panels. During past conventions I’ve breezed by the BDI booth, slowing down just enough to take in the different designs. This CEDIA, however, I spent some time with the folks at BDI who demonstrated for me just how well thought out and intelligently designed the company’s furniture is. The OLA cabinet pictured above has a gently curved front along with curved, tinted glass doors on either side of the center shelf. The stand will hold up to a 73-inch TV weighing 150 lbs or less. It’s also available in chocolate stained walnut finish. The price is under $1,500.
Voco is just one of the many manufacturers hawking wireless multiroom media streaming systems. In addition to being relatively inexpensive, Voco differentiates itself from the competition by giving you the ability to use your voice to find songs, podcasts, internet radio stations, and even YouTube videos. (You can also use your fingers if you’re the quiet type – or a quiet typer.) The system has the capability of streaming up to three audio sources (from your iOS device, CD player, computer, etc.) to up to 10 Voco device equipped zones. Voco V-Zone receivers start at $199.99.
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.
Wolf demonstrated its Cub 3D projector ($15,000) on a SI Black Diamond screen (gain 1.4, 10-feet wide). The demo material consisted of music, including scenes from the new Blu-ray release of Rio which I recently reviewed for our November issue. It's a terrific transfer, and I had no complaints about the Wolf. A review sample of the Cub is expected at chez Home Theater, soon.
The Insight Series is the latest in flat speakers from Wisdom Audio, a company that specializes in them. These hybrid planar speakers use flat diaphragms through most of the frequency spectrum but switch to cones for bass reproduction. They're available as in-walls or on-walls. For surround channels, Wisdom suggests the smaller Sage Series.
Totem Acoustic, you knocked our socks off. Now give them back. Technically, the Element Series was announced at CES and it is against our code of honor to cover anything but new-for-this-show stuff. However, the center speaker is new, so we've wiggled out. It's called the Wood ($4500/each) and it will be joined by the Water sub ($5500) at a time yet unspecified. The existing models include two towers and a monitor. Powered by Arcam electronics, the big Metal tower ($16,000/pair) provided the best sound we've heard at the show so far, with effortlessly natural and well imaged vocals that flourished despite noise from the show floor.
LG doesn't have its own booth at CEDIA this year, but the company did launch a new flat panel in the THX booth with virtually no fanfare. The 55LW9800 3D LCD flat panel incorporates the company's new Nano LED backlighting, in which a extremely thin optical filmthe "nano" partdiffuses the light from the LEDs more evenly than previous designs. As with other recent LG LCDs, this one uses passive-polarized glasses for 3D, and it's THX-certified in both 2D and 3D modes. In fact, a THX rep told me that, in a faceoff with many 3D TVs, everyone tended to gravitate to this one as the most comfortable to watch. The 3D effect was superb on the underwater footage they were showing, though I could still see the line structure endemic to passive-polarized 3D LCDs.
Vivitek was demoing two of its projectors in 2D. A stacked pair of its well-established H9080 LED-based DLP projectors ($15,000 each, shown here) were converged onto a 118" wide, Da-Lite Affinity screen (gain 1.1). A single D8300 ($118,000, shown below) was firing onto a c comparably sized Stewart Firehawk.
Monitor Audio's SF3 in-wall ($399/each) uses a dyed sublimation process -- not Freudian as far as we can tell -- to allow reproduction of any high-res image on the grille, so it hardly looks like a speaker. Monitor also showed a couple of biamped idecks and new trimless in-walls with rounded corners reminiscent of Apple products.
For those who are challenged more by space than budget, Runco's new LS-100d can be mounted flush to the wall directly above or below the screen, taking only 18 inches of depth and producing a 92-inch image. Its LED light source turns on instantly and will last 50,000 hours while consuming 70 percent less power than a conventional lamp. It ain't cheap at $20,000, but that includes an outboard DHD4 video processor.
Perhaps the biggest news from KEF was the unveiling of the R Series, which includes three towers, two monitors, two centers, a surround, and a sub at prices from $1000-2500. Pick hit may be the stand-mount R300, a three-way with 5.25-inch coaxial Uni-Q drivers (basically a tweeter mounted in the middle of a midrange) plus a 6.5-inch woofer for $1800/pair. Finishes are walnut or rosewood veneers or piano black. KEF also showed new in-walls with ultra-thin bezels. Incidentally, the company celebrates its 50th anniversary in October.
USB is something previously unseen on a Rotel receiver or pre-pro. But there is one on the front panel of the RSP-1572 pre-pro, and yes, it's iDevice compatible. The product ships in October for $2199. The next big thing from Rotel will be a second receiver using Class D amplification, RSX-1562, but it wasn't on display.
The good people at NextGen showed off their new “universal” active shutter 3D glasses. Each set comes with two additional nosepieces that allow you to adjust the glasses for the most comfortable fit, a USB charging cable, a carrying pouch, and a cleaning cloth. The current $79 version supports IR-sync based 3DTV systems, but RF and Bluetooth models will be available shortly.