Sound & Vision's CES 2023 Editor’s Picks Page 2

BenQ HT4550i

A conventional looking, home theater-oriented standard-throw projector, the HT4550i runs the Android TV platform. It uses a four LED light source to deliver 3200 ANSI lumens brightness. It can cover 100% of the DCI/P3 color gamut and has a dedicated Filmmaker mode. The spec sheet at the show states a 17.9-millisecond input lag with a 1080/60p source, so you could use it for casual gaming. But it lacks the ultra-high frame rate support (1080/240 Hz) that's popping up on numerous gaming-centric displays this year, including BenQ's own X3000i gaming projector. This is more of a home theater/multimedia machine.

The appeal of the HT4550i is a distillation of what makes BenQ's well-tuned DLP projectors such a great choice for a budget-conscious home theater enthusiast. A sharp lens, accurate colors, good contrast, and nicely handled HDR define the picture I saw in the show. BenQ is all about delivering high value for the money spent, so I have high hopes for this one. The best information I have is that it will cost about $2800 and ship in April.

Dirac Live Active Room Treatment

Dirac Live Active Room Treatment is a software solution that allows users to optimize their home theater audio by analyzing the room's acoustics and making adjustments to the sound. Dirac's latest software is quite revolutionary, effectively tightening up bass response and making it more evenly distributed throughout a room. The idea is to use speakers in a surround-sound system as active sound absorbers. How? By sending out cancellation waves that tame the peaks and valleys in bass response caused by interactions with the room.

The traditional approach to mitigating room-related bass issues used large passive absorbers, called bass traps. Dirac's bright idea is to use surround speakers to perform the same duty as the passive traps using active cancellation. The technology is temporarily exclusive to StormAudio gear; that agreement lasts through October 1, 2023, at which point you'll likely see the new Dirac tech roll out on other devices. This award is for the technology, not for a specific device.

Formovie Theater UST and Screen

Formovie is a projector maker that recently entered the U.S. market with its premium ultra-short throw offering, the Formovie Theater. Its UST is notable for having high native contrast and exceptional image quality. It outputs 2800 ANSI lumens, supports Dolby Vision as well as HDR10+ and HDR10 with sound by Bowers & Wilkins. It is a forum favorite and a UST projector shootout winner.

What stood out at CES was the combination of the Formovie UST and the company's new, forthcoming, high-gain UST screen. It looked phenomenal in a darkened space dedicated to home theater demos and on a screen outside the booth under the show floor lights. The above photo is unretouched. This award recognizes the overall quality of the picture created by this combination of UST and screen from Formovie. The projector sells for $3500 and is available now; screen pricing and availability are TBD.

Hisense 120LX 8K Laser TV UST

Hisense showcased its IMAX Enhanced certified 120LX 8K Laser TV, which offers ultra-high definition 8K resolution. The 120-inch screen dazzled with impressive brightness. How bright? According to the placard in the booth, this RGB triple-laser unit delivers up to 400 nits peak on-screen brightness, enough to make HDR look like HDR, especially when combined with this UST's rec.2020 wide color gamut coverage. No pricing or specific availability information yet, but this is destined to be a real product.

Hisense Smart Mini Projector

The Hisense Smart Mini Projector is a compact, portable projector with triple laser technology that offers a (very) wide color gamut to go with its 1600 lumens of output. Built-in speakers and automatic focus/leveling/keystone make it truly a grab-and-go projector, but the picture quality is a cut above typical portables. The real surprise is that this standard-throw model's spec list included support for Dolby Vision, something that, thus far, I have only seen offered on UST projectors. There's no pricing yet.

JBL 4329P Powered Studio Monitors

JBL introduced the 4329P studio monitor, a professional-grade active speaker system with high-fidelity sound and a no-nonsense, classic JBL Pro design.

Equipped with two speakers, each packed with cutting-edge technology, this system is designed to deliver an immersive, dynamic sound.

In each speaker is a patented JBL 2409H 1-inch compression driver, paired with a "High-Definition Imaging" horn and a JW200P-4 8-inch paper cone woofer in a cast frame. These components work in harmony, powered by a 300W of amplification: 250W for the woofer and 50W for the compression driver.

The system features a sophisticated digital signal processor (DSP) so each driver blends seamlessly. It also offers a wealth of streaming options. With its integrated streaming engine, you get wired and wireless network audio capabilities via built-in Google Chromecast, Apple AirPlay 2, and Bluetooth 5.3 aptX Adaptive. A 24-bit/192KHz high-resolution DAC renders high-fidelity sound. Plus the 4329P will be certified as a Roon-ready product for easy access and playback of large libraries. $4500/pair and just a couple of months from being in stores.

During my visit, I talked with Jim Garrett from Harman Luxury Audio about these great sounding new active speakers.

JBL Spinner BT Turntable

The JBL Spinner BT turntable is a Bluetooth-enabled turntable that allows users to play their vinyl records wirelessly. It offers perfect pitch, sleek design and easy replacement of the cartridge. The sleek design complements the aluminum platter and tonearm, black MDF plinth and JBL orange accents. This turntable costs only $399 and also connects via line-level RCA outputs with its built-in MM (moving magnet) phono stage. Available fall 2023.

JVC LX-NZ30 Multimedia Projector

JVC's latest is a high-performance multimedia projector that is very gamer-friendly and offers advanced connectivity plus a bright, sharp image at an attractive price. It can handle some home theater duties, and it's great for the media room. JVC left out "smart" features and focused instead on making a good projector; you just need to add a good source or two to have some fun. Upgrades over the predecessor LX-NZ3 include a rated brightness of 3200 lumens (instead of 3000), USB C plus DisplayPort inputs, and support for 1080p at 240 Hz. $3500, ships in March 2023.

Here's an interview with Jeffrey Marks of JVC where we discuss the LX-NZ30.

LG UltraGear 240 Hz OLED Gaming Monitor

LG showcased the UltraGear 45GR95QE 240 Hz OLED Gaming Monitor, a high-end gaming display that offers an ultra-fast refresh rate, stunning picture quality, and support for G-Sync technology. This monitor has essentially no input lag, aside from the frames themselves flashing by on the display. The key specs are its support for 240 Hz refresh rates and a 0.03 millisecond response time. There's no compromising picture quality for the sake of performance with this LG. $1700, available now.

LG M3 Wireless OLED TV

LG also introduced a new wireless OLED M3 TV, a 97-inch wireless wonder, which allows for a clutter-free viewing experience by eliminating the need for HDMI cables. How? A "Zero Connect" box beams a signal that can carry up to 4K 120Hz video to this 4K TV using a proprietary wireless protocol that LG developed for this application.

You still need to plug in the M3, but the rest of the cables involved with a TV installation are eliminated. According to LG, a statement piece like the M3 might very well not go on a wall but rather be presented freestanding, and that's where having no cords or cables aside from the power plug offers an opportunity for a truly clean, minimalist installation. You can put all the source devices, like UHD Blu-ray players and gaming consoles, somewhere else. LG was not ready to discuss cost or availability at CES, aside from stating it is a real product that will ship in 2023.

Leica Cine 1 Laser TV UST Projector

The Leica Cine 1 Laser TV UST is a large-screen ultra-short throw projector that offers refined performance thanks to a fixed-focus Leica lens. It offers 4K resolution that looks as good as I've seen from a UST, and while you pay a significant premium for this model, it achieves image quality that is truly home theater-worthy. Get more detail and watch my video interview with Leica's Stephan Albrecht here.

Traveler's picture

Please do a full review of the Spatial Reality Display,

JuliaBrown's picture

It's great that I found this information. I am just about to visit Las Vegas this year. And it's good that I was able to find out about the entertainment there. Usually on this page I follow the latest online game reviews. And when I have a free minute I like to play them.

jeffmoore's picture

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