2D Performance 3D Performance Features Ergonomics Value
AT A GLANCE Plus
Bright, crisp 3D display
Unique Magic Remote
Voice Mate feature
Below-average picture contrast
LG’s mid-level set is undoubtedly Smart and a very good value, but its less than stellar contrast and picture uniformity make it an also-ran in the LCD TV race.
At first look, there’s nothing groundbreaking about LG’s 55LA7400, the mid-size model in the company’s LA7400 line of 3D-capable LCDs (47- and 60-inch versions are also available). To be honest, its feature list is packed, yawn, with lots of stuff we’ve seen before from LG: TruMotion 240-hertz display, edge-arrayed LED backlight with local dimming, passive 3D using polarized glasses. Where the LA7400 series starts to get interesting is when you look beyond the video specs to the Smart features and connectivity options—things video enthusiasts routinely dismiss but in reality are futuristic and cool. As one of the big three companies pushing the Smart TV envelope (Panasonic and Samsung are the other two), LG takes this stuff seriously, and it hopes you will too.
CEDIA was packed with plenty of pricey options for transmitting audio over the air, but at least one company was showing wireless gear at a down-to-earth price. Monoprice’s Wireless Speaker Transmitter ($88.11) is a transmitter/receiver system that sends CD-quality audio over the 2.4 GHz band at distances up to 98 feet. And since were talking Monoprice here, a no-frills cables/accessories e-tailer that places a premium on value over marketing, I will also note the system’s product number: 10601.
Digital Projection showcased its two newest DLP projectors at CEDIA, the updated single-chip M-Vision Cine LED1000 ($12,995) and the 3-chip Titan 1080P LED 3D ($80,000). And when I say showcase, I mean showcase: Both PJs were projecting images on a huge 165-inch screen that made you feel as if you were sitting in a real cinema.
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.
LG may not be at CEDIA proper, but they are definitely in Denver. The company held an off-site press event to debut a pair of new Ultra HDTVs. Its LA9650 Series arrives in 65- and 55-inch screen sizes, priced at $4,999 and $3,499 respectively. The addition of the pair brings LG’s total UHDTV count up to five, with the line still topped off by its 84-inch LM9600 ($18,000).
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.
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.
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.
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