The so-called Future Technology Pavilion was open for a press tour on Wednesday, press conference/setup day (the show formally opens on Thursday September 8). Much of the content here was of limited A/V interest, but will be of interest to custom installers who often add home automation and similar services to their repoitoire. The most interesting features here were those that offer a wide range of medical monitoring facilities, providing health and well-being warnings that can be transmitted to the appropriate agencies and individuals if needed. In other words, just the ticket for a granny-friendly house.
The area of the Future Technology display of most interest to home theater fans, however, involved this huge, 244.5-inch x 104-inch, 2.35:1 Stewart Aeroview 100 screen. It's a rear projection setup using six DLP projectors with edge blending. The image you can see here was only 16:9 for this preview, but 2.35:1 material that fills the screen is on the menu for the show days. The image was as impaired, as this photo suggests, by the ambient lighting, which is also higher on setup day than it will be during show hours. For more details, see the next post.
The magic behind the curtain for the Future Technology Pavilion's big rear projection screen (above) consisted of six Digital Projection D-Vision 30-1080 DLP projectors, each responsible for filling one sixth of the image, combined with edge blending to hide the transitions from one projector to the other. These projectors offer a short throw, permitting a short, 9-foot distance from projector to screen.
Once you divide the high definition source image into six segments, each of those segments will be far smaller in pixel count. Each of these segments must therefore be upconverted to match the projector's native resolution. The processing is further complicated by the fact that the screen used here is 2.35:1, not the 16:9 that would be a direct multiple of the six projectors' native resolutions. In addition, allowance must be made for overlap where the images meet. An overlap of about 13% is needed to provide for the edge blending. And the edge blending itself requires major processing power.
Come December 25, Santa will be slipping new Blu-ray players and discs under many a Christmas tree. But will those Blu-ray discs actually look better to you?
The Blu-ray format may be four years old, but I still see comments on various websitesnot to mention in the mainstream (non-enthusiast) pressto the effect that those Blu-rays don't look any better than upconverted DVDs. When you read these comments, you need to ask a few questions about the commenter, questions to clarify the circumstances surrounding the observation. These questions may even relate to your own experiences…
In addition to its range of anamorphic lenses, Schneider Optics introduced its own single-chip, 2D DLP projector, fitted with an anamorphic lens. The trick feature here is that the motorized mechanism that moves the lens in and out of position is built into the lens case, with no need for outboard sled hardware. $23,500, including ther anamorphic lens. Available early in 2011.
Vivitek wants to be your projector company, either with its premier H9080FD LED-lit, single-chip DLP projector ($15,000) or with its new $5000, H5085 lamp-lit single chipper, or the H1085 DLP. The latter carries an alarming price of $1499 with a specified light output of 2000 lumens.
Also by Monitor Audio was a new line of Monitor Audio premium in-or-on-walls (available in either form factor). The Soundframe 1iW, shown, utilizes a coaxial driver from 250Hz up. A con-shaped, convex midrange surrounds Monitor's signature gold-colored tweeter. This driver technology should be a natural for the mid/tweeter response in a conventional box horizontal center flanked by a pair of woofers. The Soundframe 2iW, not shown, actually does use this configuration, but with a single woofer. The 1iW and 2iW sell for $800 each.
Procella is a relatively new speaker company to these shores, with headquarters in Los Angeles, Stockholm, and Sydney. Its speakers, apart from the surrounds, follow the professional, powered-speaker paradigm. That is, they are driven by on-board amps. The P815, for example (the two stacked cabinets on the left in the photo, for example, is bi-amplified with 700 x 2 watts of built-in, class-D power. That model sells for $10,000 each.