If you've been thinking about taking the big step to high-definition front projection entertainment (it's well worth the cost and effort, that's for sure), then Optoma has a thousand dollar offer you just about can't refuse. (Well, you could, but then you'd be forced to continue watching that tiny 42-inch plasma you paid more than $1,000 for last year...)
Wiremold wants do-it-yourself flat-panel TV installers to play hide-and-seek with the many cables plasma and LCD TVs have to have in order to do their thing. Professional installers have the wherewithal to slip those butt-ugly cables in the wall behind a high-tech display; but you and I might not be so inclined, nor do we have the tools necessary to make an in-the-wall install really stay in the wall. (If you think a crowbar might be a good tool to use when installing any kind of electronics in the wall, you should consider consulting a professional.)
Auralex Acoustics quietly showed off their latest offering in home theater acoustical treatment. The new SonoSuede System looks great, is designed to be a do-it-yourself project, and is reasonably (as far as room treatment packages go) affordable. Different color combinations are available, and you can custom order other colors if you simply must have something to match that special designer couch you bought. The SonoSuede System package has a suggested retail of $1199.
Polk Audio's newest in-wall speakers were on display for all CEDIAnistas to see. In a separate part of the booth, Polk demonstrated the company's - and the world's - first THX Ultra2 Certified in-ceiling loudspeaker, the RTS100, along with the RTS105 in-wall. On static display were two THX Ultra2 Certified hopefuls from Polk: a dipole in-wall and an in-wall center channel.
Acoustic Research is taking the idea of a "bookshelf" speaker to a new extreme with this model from the Home Decor Series. The SAT510, a quite substantial traditional bookshelf speaker, hides inside a fake-but-convincing shell designed to look like four well-read, weathered books. The front of the books have tiny perforations that let the sound through. Other various disguises - like table clocks, lamps, and planters - are also available.
Is it possible to improve the greatest invention since the wheel?
If I needed any additional proof of the iPod's ubiquitous nature, I found it the other day when my son pointed out a state trooper with an iPod stuffed into his uniform shirt pocket and telltale white earbuds popped in his ears. I'm sure the trooper was perfectly capable of doing his law-enforcing job whilst enjoying a tune or two, but the thought of state troopers packing iPods gave me pause. What's next? Carthusian monks contemplating God's gift of the click wheel while rocking out to some Gregorian chant?
Two of JL Audio's three massive are now pumping it up: the 12" Fathom f112 and the 13.5" Fathom f113. These beasts are big, loud, claim to go down to 22 Hz, and use a room acoustic correction system that's supposed to help produce more balanced bass throughout the room. The system works much like what's found in a number of receivers these days, in which you plug a microphone into the front of the sub, and the sub automatically generates a series of tones that are analyzed by the internal circuitry to get a final optimization curve. The Fathom f112 has an internal 1500-watt amp and sells for $2600 in satin black. The 2500-watt f113 sells for $3200 in satin black. A 305-pound beast with dual 13.5" woofers that goes below 20 Hz will be available sometime next year.
Canton's fine people pulled us aside to show off the new CD 3200. It's a sleek, beautiful, contemporary-looking silver tower that has an internal 200-watt IcePower amp and four aluminum 4-inch mid/bass drivers and one of Canton's ADT-25 aluminum-manganese tweeters with a 2-1/2-way crossover. The CD 3200s are $1600 each.
Xantech's four-source HD44CC5 High Definition Component Video Matrix Switcher let's you send four streams of high-definition 1080i video and digital audio up to 1000 feet over CAT5. You'll need a HDRXGS01 CAT5 receiver in each zone. The receiver automatically senses the cable run length in 20-feet increments and self-adjusts for best picture quality. The HD44CC5 is coming in January 2007 for $1895. Each receiver is $250.
Vogel's has an alternative to standard projection screens. It comes in a can, and it's called Mighty Brighty. Vogel's says the process is as easy as picking a wall and picking up a paintbrush. The screen paint comes in three different packages: the MPW 10 with enough pre-mixed paint and base coat to cover five square meters; the MPW 20 with enough material to cover up to six square meters plus ContrastBooster and BrightnessBooster paint components that can be used to customize the performance of the screen to match your projector; and the MPW 30 that contains enough paint to cover an entire wall so the screen is invisible when you're not watching TV.