I spent much of my first full day at CEDIA Expo scoping out the new 1080p video projectors. I still have more to see, but it's already evident that this is the big story of the show, unless you're into various forms of home automation, which is <I>always</I> a big CEDIA story.
Planar Who? This company is new on the market, but has big plans. In addition to some potentially revolutionary flat panel displays, it introduced a full line of DLP projectors. This includes two 1080p designs, the PD8110 shown here ($8999, Feb 07) and the PD8150 (which adds a dynamic iris at a price to be determined, with spring 07 availability.
There are also two, less expensive 720p models.
The second big surprise after the Planar was the HD-900 LCoS projector from Cinetron. It's a full 1920x1080, features processing from Silicon Optix's HQV Realta chip, and quiet operation. It looked superb on a Stewart Firehawk screen. While it comes equipped with an auto iris, that feature was not used in the demo. At $6000, it's one of a number of projectors that could shake up the front projector market.
Mitsubishi formally announced a new 1920x1080 LCD projector at CEDIA,the HC5000U, equipped with an auto iris, lens shift, and a price of $4495. The video processor is the new REON chip from Silicon Optix, lamp life is claimed to be 5000 hours, and fan noise is specified at 19dBA (a very low figure) in low lamp mode.
TI featured SIM2's new 3-chip 1080p projector at their booth. While it looked great for the most part, it was hard to get a handle on just how good it really is since three of the four demo clips relied heavily or entirely on computer animation, and the fourth was a grainy, oversharpened trailer for a new upcoming <I>Rocky</I> (!) movie. Rocky 12, I think. An lovely but alarmingly enthusiastic presenter extolled the praises of TI's DLP technology until my teeth hurt. This must have been for the benefit of those in this professional CEDIA audience who may have never heard of DLP before.
How do you make an in-wall speaker look interesting? You don't, but Atlantic Technology was one of a handful of vendors to actually make them sound interesting (most vendors didn't even try to demo their in-walls). Three Atlantic IWCB-626's were mounted behind an acoustically transparent Screen Research screen, together with dipole surrounds and subs. The projector was a small Crystal View single chip DLP, which appeared to be a variation on a modestly-priced Mitsubishi design. Nothing fancy here, but simply a solid demo all around of a system that is not outrageously priced. Featured were some particularly fine HD trailers from the upcoming films <I>Flyboys</I> and <I>A Night At The Museum</I>.