The Sanus Trillium A/V console is a trend-driven design that the company hopes will appeal to buyers beyond the hardcore home-theaterphile. To that end, they’ve gone for a classic modernist look and an affordable price point: $799 for a 63-inch wide version and $599 for a 53-inch version. The larger console supports TVs up to 70 inches, while the smaller one holds up to 60-inch screens. Color options include Dark Cherry (shown here) and Walnut.
TiVo, the savvy couch potato’s alternative to a cable company DVR, just rolled out its 5th-gen Roamio platform. Roamio comes in 3 flavors: Core ($200), Plus ($400), and Pro ($600). The difference between the three comes down to storage (the Pro tops things off at 3 Terabytes) and options (the core Roamio has just cable and off-air tuning, while the Plus/Pro add streaming capability). TiVo service will run you $14.99/month.
Sonos’ Playbar soundbar uses proprietary tech to beam surround sound from its 9-driver array. To judge from the demo I caught at CEDIA — my first-ever experience with the Playbar — the effect is impressive. But some people may prefer real surround speakers located in the rear of the room. The company offers up its Play:3 wireless speakers for that very purpose, but custom installers have been bugging them to provide a solution that expands surround speaker options for the Playbar.
Stewart Filmscreen is a company whose name is strongly linked with the dedicated home theater concept, but even they acknowledge that the concept is in decline. People are starting to gravitate toward viewing movies and TV in open, multiple-use living spaces, not dark, isolated viewing vaults.
DVDO showed off its new Air3 WirelessHD adapter ($199), a wireless HDMI solution that sends uncompressed HD video (up to 1080p/60-rez) and 7.1 channel audio over the 60 GHz band. DVDO says that the new unit has a more robust radio its previous version of the Air, which means less possibility for interference. The Air3 also has a much smaller footprint, along with flexible mounting options that let you squeeze the receiver component behind a flat-panel TV mount. The receiver draws power via USB, so you can simply plug it into your TV’s USB port, while the transmitter features an MHL2-capable HDMI input that accepts up to 1080p/60-rez signals from a compatible smartphone or tablet.
Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com.
Q. I recently bought an Oppo BDP-103 Blu-ray player. A key reason for buying it was to connect a cable TV box to the Oppo’s HDMI input and tap the player’s superior video processing to improve TV picture quality. Will it be necessary to set the equipment up in such a way as to avoid the TV’s video processing? Doug Crowley / Santa Monica, CA
With LCD TVs nipping at their heels, plasma sets have quickly abandoned their industrial heritage and evolved to become a user-friendly centerpiece for your home theater. Basically, they've grown bigger - screen sizes will soon hit 70 inches - and accrued tons of cool features.
When I reviewed Oppo’s BDP-93 — the company’s first universal player to support Blu-ray 3D and high-rez FLAC audio playback — I wrapped things up by saying it could be the last disc player you’ll ever need. Turns out I spoke too soon, because Oppo keeps finding new ways to make the whole disc-player concept relevant. Its most recent offerings include the BDP-103 ($499) and the BDP-105 under review here, a $1,199 version that has been hot-rodded for two-channel-audio enthusiasts.
Step into the TV section of any big-box electronics store, and you're bound to see endless rows of LCD sets lining the shelves. While this surplus of options can make it tough to decide on a specific LCD model, the upside is that the competition for your flat-panel TV dollar has resulted in a number of great deals.