Optoma had an incredible picture in their theater. It was sharp, bright and best of all, cinemascope wide. The HD81, a single chip 1080p DLP projector that ships at the end of the month will cost $11,000 with the anamorphic lens that lets you get the most out of 2.35:1 movies if you have an extra wide screen. The 171" screen was certainly bright enough even given its size. The processing they do to stretch the image vertically so that all pixels on the DLP chip are used seemed to work great. Runco does the same thing, but with a motorized switchable lens assembly that costs a great deal more.
Sunfire announced their upcoming Theater Grand Receiver 3 (TGR-3) as part of their premium XT series of components. While it isn't rated as powerful as their dedicated multi-channel amps, I don't know anyone who would complain about having 200 watts times seven channels in their receiver. In fact, Sunfire claims the TGR-3 is the world's most power receiver. Sunfire's trademarked Tracking Donwconverter technology allows you move power from the wheels that slip to the wheels that grip. Oh wait, that's my car. Actually, having used a Sunfire Cinema Grand Signature amplifier as a reference for over 3 years, I can attest to the fact that their technology works as advertised.
Definitive Technology had some really intelligently designed and great sounding in-ceiling speakers in their room. Most in ceiling speakers we've seen are appropriate for the shoe department Muzak at Macy's, but I wouldn't let them near the home theater. Sandy Gross of Definitive puts a whole can and a half of whump-ass in these babies. I blew up a picture of the speaker and put it in the bottom right of the photo for you to get an idea. The baffles are angled, looking like what the roof looks like in the attic. Two woofers and a tweeter are angled down and towards the back of the room, while on the other other side of the "roof" you'll find two passive radiators. I was tremendously impressed by the timbre and solidness of the midrange and upper frequencies. Sandy also used some in wall subwoofers to round up the bass. I actually thought the bass was a little on the high side, but I guess that shuts up anyone who is worried that a 4" deep subwoofer can't keep up with the action.
ProjectionDesign has a unique solution for high end custom installer. Their Action Model Three 1080 projector, using a single 1080p DLP chip, but is equipped with two lamps and two color wheels. In other words, the projector has two light paths that are recombined before being sent out the lens. ProjectionDesign claims that this eliminates rainbows, and in ten minutes of viewing, I only saw one rainbow that wasn't caused by rapidly turning my head. I'm real sensitive to color rainbows, so I'll have to say they succeeded.
No, it's not Mad Max Times Four. This is the business end of the Meridian amplifier designed for use with their in wall speakers. There are four input channels, each with both single-ended and balanced connections. Each input feeds two of the amps eight output channels and results in 100 watts per tweeter and 100 watts per woofer for biwiring each of Meridian's new in-wall speakers. With eight channels, you can power all your surround channels in a 7.1 setup.
BG's in-wall ribbon speakers are very impressive (and expensive so they should be), but this stunt took real guts. Apparently, the wine goblets were in less danger from their subwoofer than from passing visitors who already took it down once.
Salamander's new Chameleon furniture line is going to thrill a lot of Suzi Homemakers who want to find a home for hubby's electronic toys. The Hampton model here sells for $1,899, and there are four other models available as well. Options (not included in the price) are rear mounted power strips and Plasma mounts. The optional fan cooling and IR repeaters will come in handy when those solid wood doors are shut too. This little company is located in my neck of the woods in Connecticut and you have to admire how they've grown. Their products are well engineered and assemble easily. I've had one of their Synergy racks for over three years and I love it. These look even nicer still.
Xperiment, a maker of music and movie whole house systems for custom installers has some interesting, albeit expensive products. But expensive as they are, they really do do a lot and compared to some of their competitors, they're sort of midline in price. Xperiment just struck a deal with Music Giants to download music and movies into one of their high end servers. Their servers, Poseidon and Polaris, offer between 1.5 and 4.0 Terabytes of raided storage for prices that closely mirror what corporation pay to protect their data. Of course, I don't know if you need that much protection for, say, <i>Godfather III</i>, but it's nice to know it's there. A top end server, the Poseidon, is $25,000 and each room where you want control needs a "client" which features a DVD player/reader (from $2,400 to $3,000). Everything is connected with Ethernet and the whole system can even synch with your other system at your vacation home in the Hamptons while jet over there for the weekend.
I was looking at Directv's new MPEG4 DVR. The pipedream now has innards and according to the map they had posted, Hartford and my zip code are eligible to get the box! What a perfect last visit for me. I'll be ordering this as soon as I can, but I hear there's about a four to six week wait to get them. I had other questions.