Shane and David are taking shrapnel over on Shane's blog regarding BD replication "rumors" (which are what Blu-ray fanboys calls factual, documented and critically contradictory statements from Sony's DADC division regarding BD disc yields over the span of a year) so I thought I'd run a flank attack and see if we can't create enough of a diversion to get those two to safety.
Well, DirecTv's new high definition channels are here and, er, what the heck were they thinking? On TNTHD, a station that existed as channel 75 before the hoopla and is now also shown on 245, "Save the Last Dance" is being shown in 4x3 stretch mode. Sci-Fi's high def incarnation is showing Merlin, a movie that was only shot in 4x3 (but at least they're not stretching it). USA is showing "Law & Order: CI" on their high def station properly, but in a weird-aspect challenged pillow box (black bars on all four sides) on their regular definition channel. A&E's has some high def shows that they're cropping and then stretching to 16x9 judging by the look of it. Only TBS's high def baseball game looks good enough that it gives me nothing to complain about – except that fact that the Yankees are losing.
"<i>Our chief weapon is greater capacity...greater capacity and more manufacturer support
… more manufacturer support and greater capacity. Our *three* weapons are more manufacturers and greater capacity…and higher content availability…and an almost fanatical devotion to the Blu-ray consortium…. Our *four* …no… *Amongst* our weapons…. *Amongst* our weaponry…are such elements as more manufacturers, greater capacity….I'll come in again.</i>"
THX is working a new connect-the-world project, code named Blackbird. Having seen how easy it is for the general public to mangle their picture and sound with all the new toys they've been acquiring recently, Blackbird presents a solution for the three cardinal sins of home theater, by sending metadata in the form of control signals through HDMI to all Blackbird enabled devices in the chain.
This is a pretty good shot of the JVC RS1 projector with an anamorphic lens by Panamorph giving it a 2.35:1 image. Video processing was done in the Anthem D2 processor and sequence from Phantom on Blu-ray looked really good.
NHT has come a long way, or a different way, or, whatever. Their A/V pre/pro, bundled with five speakers, two self-powered subs, five 4-channel amps (one for each speak), plus, uh, wires I think, goes for $40,000! Each of the amp's channels is responsible for one of the four drivers in each speaker, so there is no crossover in the speakers themselves. Of course, in the middle of the convention hall you couldn't get much of a feel for the systems sound. I would have liked to have heard an isolated room demo.
Shane already nailed the Epson Cinema Pro 1080 UB ("Ultra Black") demo. It was amazing to see this kind of performance from an LCD. I'll add that Epson might be claiming a 50,000:1 contrast ratio, but that's with what has to be an awfully aggressive auto-iris in play. Kevin Miller, whose work continues to amaze, flew without a net using the chipset's native contrast ratio of 4,500:1, which is pretty outstanding on its own.
Ron Phone was deep in discussion when I wandered by and I didn't disturb as I was in a rush too, but I did snap this picture of their pre/pro. I've had great things to say about Sherbourn amps in the past but was disappointed when I saw this pre/pro had no HDMI switching on back. Good thing I checked <a htref= "http://www.sherbourn.com/PDF/PT-7010A/PT-7010ADataSheet.pdf" target="new">their website.</a> The PT-7010A will have a separate HDMI switcher, controlled by the processor via an RS-232 port, for, hopefully seamless operation.