The sound that most amazed me during Day 1 of the CEDIA Expo came not from a $50,000 speaker, but from a cardboard box. A cardboard box supporting the Bass Egg Verb, that is. We've seen devices like this before, that turn any box or table or whatever into a speaker. The difference between those and the Bass Egg Verb is that it doesn't suck and it plays loud as hell.
No, they’re not stylized Daleks from Dr. Who or PVC termite mounds. The objects pictured above are actually a couple of pretty impressive all-weather speakers from NEAR. There are a couple of things that are newsworthy about these speakers, not the least of which is that they are the first environmental speakers designed by NEAR specifically for the consumer/custom installation market in about a decade and a half. In fact, it’s been exactly 14 years since NEAR last had a booth or display at a CEDIA EXPO.
If you’re angling for a ceiling installation, but are put easy adjustability in roll, yaw, and tilt—everything but left-right; it’s up to you to insure that the projector's lens is centered on the screen.
Nestled among the few dozen companies exhibiting at CEDIA 2013’s Media Preview was Soundwall, a Boulder, CO-based startup specializing in speakers that masquerade as art (or is it the other around?). The artwork of your choice is printed on a foam-core board mounted in a 2.5-inch-deep frame that hangs on the wall. Left- and right-channel exciters attached to the back of the board (and powered by a small amplifier), vibrate the “canvas,” turning it into a speaker.
Epson’s new lineup of projectors is topped off by its PowerLite Pro Cinema 6030UB ($3500, mid-October), shown here on the left, offering both 2D and 3D. On the right is the company’s Ultra-Bright PowerLite Pro Cinema G6900WU. The latter ($7500, 2D only),available now exclusively through CEDIA and specialty dealers) is said to offer a brightness of 6000 lumens. The projectors were shown on static display in today’s Media Preview. Epson’s demos will commence tomorrow when CEDIA formally opens. More about those demos later in the show; check this space.
Vutec broke the brightness barrier on the eve of CEDIA 2013 by announcing SilverStar2.2, a high gain (2.2:1 gain) screen that is ISF (Imaging Science Foundation) certified. High-gain screens typically lack in picture quality what they make up in brightness and the ability to move to a large screen with the same amount of projector light. Delivering better than double unity gain while still securing ISF certification is a huge deal.
Bad pun. The Kordz Neo-S3 has nothing to do with cancelling your TV cable service for wirelessly streaming your programs from the Internet. Rather, it involves 4K and ultra long HDMI cables, as might be found in many custom installations. It consists of a pair of powered HDMI dongles ($349) to which you attach your existing HDMI link, one at each end. It’s said to allow for an HDMI run of up to 30 meters, even in 4K. Kordz also offers HDMI cables, though the HDMI cable is not included with the Neo-S, just the dongles. Available in October.
Custom installations aren’t all about audio and video hardware, and the field in recent years has expanded into peripheral areas such as custom window blinds of various sortsfrom decorative to blackout. The Hunter-Douglas Pirouettes shown here, available in manual and powered versions (battery or hard-wired), appear to be of the former variety, though when closed (they’re shown open here) they’ll dim (but not darken) the room.
This year’s Custom Installapalooza, officially known as CEDIA EXPO 2013, starts Wednesday, September 25th and runs through Saturday, September 28th at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, Colorado. (Thankfully for the Expo, the nearest of the devastating flooding that parts of Colorado have endured recently was more than 20 miles from Denver. While that’s good news for the CEDIA Expo and attendees, a lot of Coloradoans were affected. CEDIA suggests that if you’d like to help support those folks, please visit HelpColoradoNow.com.) Wednesday should be a rather leisurely day with a few scattered press conferences, a CEDIA Media Preview Event (kind of like speed dating for PR people and journalists), and quite a few continuing education courses for dealers and installers. The real fun begins on Thursday when the Expo floor opens up and thousands of technical questions start being asked…and answered.
Almost all of the Sound & Vision crew will be on hand, blogging like madmen (and a madwoman) from amidst the Expo floor—and, who knows, probably during a dinner or two if John Sciacca stays true to form. I’ll be there, too, just in case John needs someone to bail him out of jail...