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.
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.
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.
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.
Control4 continues its dominance in affordable home theater and whole-house automation with a huge presence at CEDIA. While the main central components - the $599 Home Theater Controller and the $1499 Media Controller - remained basically unchanged, the company announced a new in-wall touch panel (approximately 10") and ugrades to its 4Sight subscription service that allows a homeowner to both monitor and change the status of lights, garage doors, and other household gadgets via the Internet using any browser.
Accell thinks it's little HDMI 2 to 1 Switch is going to be a big hit. The diminutive $99 switcher - 2.1" wide x 2.1" long x 0.6" high - is fully HDCP compliant and supports high definition (HD) video in resolutions of up to 1080p as well as multi-channel digital audio. Switching is done via a built-in push button or the included infrared remote. The small gadget doesn't need an external power supply and comes with an infrared extender that allows the switch to be installed out-of-sight behind your gear.
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.
CoolIT Systems is now offering a liquid cooling system for Home Theater PCs that will keep the CPU cool, improve performance and reliability, and significantly reduce fan noise. The Home Theater PC (HTPC) Cooler system will fit any media center PC case that has dual 8cm fans. It comes with all the necessary installation hardware and is pre-plumbed, factory-sealed, and maintenance free.
I really like the look and simplicity of ELAN's new ole' Film Interactive Touchpad (F.I.T.), and at $390 it's priced more like a keypad than a touchpad. The new in-wall controller uses predesigned thin film overlays on top of the touchpad surface. Since the button layouts are preset, it's extremely easy to program the pad to control the gear in your system. When installed in a full-blown ELAN multizone system, the pad displays system status info on an OLED window near the top of the pad - but it can also be used as a standalone touch pad controller in any system. (You won't get system status info, though.)
SpeakerCraft gave us a naked look at the company's TIME speakers that descend from the ceiling anytime you're ready to hear music or watch a movie. Although they all use a one-inch tweeter and an eight-inch woofer, the individual drivers in each of the three models are made from different materials. When used with SpeakerCraft's TIME Controller and Remote, up to eight TIME in-ceiling speakers can be programmed to descend from 15 to 45 degrees and rotate to any position within 320 degrees. Memory settings can be programmed for different listening requirements, such as two-channel, multi-channel, and party mode. Pricing for the speakers starts at $350 each. The TIME Controller and Remote is $400.