We've discussed Sony's new 4K home theater projector earlier in this running blog, but based on the crowds lining up to see it, it's clearly the hit of the show. But the demo, while striking and definitely worth the time to see, could have used less talk and longer, or more, actual demonstrating. I really wanted to see it a second time, but knowing that the two actual demo selections lasted, at best, 10 minutes, I decided against it.
Add on anamorphic lenses to provide a 2.35:1 image on a 2.35:1 screen are a popular though pricey option. Panamorph is one of the best known names in the market. Its prism-type lenses are more affordable than the more visibly "normal" round lenses, but they work well. Round lenses, such as those from Schneider (below) are more flexible with regards to throw distance (they offer focus separate from that of the projector's own lens) but their prices are higher. We've seen superb setups with both types of lenses.
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.
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.
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.
Monster Cable brought along its test gear to demonstrate that HDMI cables can differ. This is a hard sell for many users, considering the high prices some of these products command over others, but a clean "eye" pattern, visible on the display screen, indicates a cable with optimum video performance.
2011 is SIM2 Multimedia's 15th anniversary. To celebrate, the company is introducing 15 new models in 2011. In honor of the event, members of SIM2's upper management, including President Maurizio Cini, also attended the show.
All of SIM2's projectors are DLP designs. The new models fall into five different ranges: CRYSTAL, MICO, NERO, LUMIS, and CINEMA. The CRYSTAL range (2D only) consists of two entries, the $6500 Crystal 35 and the $8500 Crystal 45. To our recollection, these are nearly blue light specials for a manufacturer which is not normally known for relatively affordable projectors.
Panasonic brought along its 152-inch, 4K plasma. It was surprising how small it looked on the open show floor, until a passerby stood in front of it to provide a sense of scale. I don't even want to imagine how much it adds to an electric (including air conditioning!) bill. Of course if you can afford the set, that probably won't matter much to you.