HD Video Looms Large at HI-FI '98

Video is hot and getting hotter. With HDTV looming on the horizon, no-compromise video demonstrations will be among the biggest attractions at HI-FI '98, beginning Tuesday at the Westin Los Angeles Airport Hotel.

One event that promises to sell out every performance is Ultimate Entertainment of Phoenix's ultimate home theater. Billed as the only HD video/DTS audio combination at the show, UE's system will include a D5 HD video source feeding a Vidikron Vision One projector in conjunction with a Meridian 861-based audio system in DTS mode.

Last year in San Francisco, long lines of home-theater fans waited eagerly to see the Arizona custom-installation specialist's Apollo 13 demo, which was the rave of the show. Reviewers and fans alike returned repeatedly, and they are expected to do so again in LA.

This year, Ultimate Entertainment will have its "statement" system in the Gatwick Room on the hotel's third floor. Demonstrations will run noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Other video systems of note will include the Faroudja RP4800 high-definition rear-projection system, currently on a nationwide tour of dealers. The "film-quality" 4800 was previewed at The Audible Difference in Palo Alto, CA, during the tour's kickoff. Sony will demo its Flat Display Trinitron technology. These direct-view sets reportedly produce minimal glare and image distortion. Vidikron will also display its Epoch D-300 LCD projector. Using Digital Pixel Compression, the versatile D-300 displays full 1080i HDTV as well as all other varieties of video, and it is said to "meet the needs of discerning videophiles."

This year's show also holds a few surprises, so keep your web browser pointed here to find out more.