CEDIA 2014

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Mark Fleischmann  |  Sep 12, 2014  |  0 comments
Focal ingeniously integrates a soundbar with a subwoofing TV stand. They're two separate products, but notice how they fit together. The Dimension 5.1 soundbar ($1399) is a "true 5.1" bar with a brushed aluminum chassis holding five inverted dome full-range drivers and lateral bass drivers, driven by six times 75 watts, along with HDMI, lossless surround decoding, and touch controls at the right side. Four dip-switch DSP controls compensate for room size, seating distance, and whether you're using a wall mount or placing the bar on a cadenza. Both standing and wall brackets are provided. If you want more bass, place the Dimension SUB ($399) behind the bar. Wouldn't that block the sub's drivers? No, the elliptical drivers are on the sides. The demo sounded excellent, with a warm, un-screechy midrange and full bass.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Sep 15, 2014  |  0 comments
At Crestron’s CEDIA press conference, the company spent time explaining how Crestron Pyng is going to save time for integrators when programming Crestron both small and large home automation systems. According to Crestron, home automation apps have traditionally been “add-ons to control systems that are programmed using computers.” With Crestron Pyng, on the other hand, “you are not adding an app to your automation system. The app is your automation system.” Pyng uses a compact hub to connect accessories - such as Crestron’s wireless lighting controls, various window treatments, thermostats, Yale wireless door locks, and security systems - and runs scenes and events with or without the presence of a smart device. It also continuously backs up all the home settings to a cloud server, which provides a way to restore the system to a previous configuration if the homeowner makes changes to the system that need to be reversed.

Crestron also introduced...

Thomas J. Norton  |  Sep 12, 2014  |  0 comments
B&O is widely known for making excellent, stylish, but very expensive products. While its BeoVision Avant 85-inch 4K/Ultra HD LCD set isn't exactly cheap at $25,000, it's not that far off from the prices its competitors charge for similarly-sized 4K sets (and cheaper than some). The set comes with a unique powered, rotating stand and remote. A B&O sibling 55-inch 4K set is also available, but its $8,000 price (the stand for this model is optional at $2,000) it's not as competitive.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Sep 10, 2014  |  First Published: Sep 11, 2014  |  0 comments
GoRave says its “wireless” audio distribution system makes it possible (and easy) to use any app on any smart device to play audio in one or multiple rooms. The key to the system is are wireless transmitters, called “Audio Senders”, which are designed to be used with a variety of smart devices (Android and iOS), as well as with computers via a universal USB dongle. The Audio Senders wirelessly transmit the audio from whatever is being played on the device to one or more of GoRave’s 5-channel AR5 Audio Receivers. Because the Audio Senders simply transmit whatever audio is being output on the Android or iOS device, the user can listen to Spotify, NetFlix, YouTube, or some other source of audio - including Skype calls - through the connected speakers in the home.

GoRave does not use Wi-Fi or Bluetooth for its wireless connectivity...

Bob Ankosko  |  Sep 12, 2014  |  0 comments
Harman Kardon offered a sneak peek of its forthcoming Wi-Fi-based Omni system, which comprises the stylish Omni 10 ($200) and Omni 20 ($300) wireless speakers plus Adapt ($130), a module for adding wireless capability to an existing home stereo system.
Thomas J. Norton  |  Sep 13, 2014  |  0 comments
On Friday afternoon a CEDIA panel was convened to discus the subject of immersive audio. And we all thought that immersive sound meant 5.1- or 7.1-multichannel! But with Dolby Atmos there's a new kid in town. And Dolby Atmos isn't alone.

The panel was moderated by industry tech guru Michael Heiss, and consisted of Brett Crockett of Dolby, Andrew Jones of Pioneer and TAD, Dr. Floyd Toole, a consultant with Harman Kardon, and Wilfred Van Baelen, the founder of Auro...

Mark Fleischmann  |  Sep 12, 2014  |  0 comments
One of the largest selections of Dolby Atmos compatible surround receivers and pre-pros was at the Integra booth. They included these receivers: DTR-70.6, 11.2 channels, 135 watts per channel with two channels driven; DTR-60.6, 9.2 channels, 135 watts; DTR-50.6, 7.2 channels, 130 watts; DTR-40.6, 9.2 channels, 110 watts; DTR-30.6, 7.2 channels, 95 watts; and the Atmos-incompatible DTR-20.4, 5.2 channels, 80 watts. Then there were the pre-pros, of which only the first had Atmos: DHC-80.6, 11.2 channels; and DHC-60.5, 7.2 channels. Finally Integra showed the DTA-70.1 nine-channel power amp, rated at 150 watts per channel. Most of the receivers (except the last) are THX Select2 Plus certified while the pre-pros and multichannel amp are THX Ultra2 Plus certified. Select models also have ISF video certification and the HDBaseT HDMI extension interface. We'll update with prices when we get them.
Darryl Wilkinson  |  Sep 12, 2014  |  0 comments
Florida-based NextGen is introducing a new Universal Learning Radio Frequency Remote Control that’s a standard 4-in-1 device IR remote control with a built-in RF transmitter. The package includes one of the company’s RF Receivers, which can be used with the handheld remote to relay commands through closed cabinet doors, walls, floors, and ceilings and has a range of up to 100 feet. The system has automatic RF addressing, so there’s no need to pair remotes to the receivers. The package also includes a three-eye IR emitter cord.

The Universal Learning RF Remote Control is expected to be available in November with an MSRP of $99.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Sep 12, 2014  |  2 comments
I've only caught two Dolby Atmos demos so far, but the JBL Synthesis demo was by far the most impressive--and may be the most impressive at the show. I'll reserve judgment on that, but with 12 discrete height speakers(JBL SCS 8s), 16 surround speakers (also JBL SCS8s, just a few of them shown here--no way to get all of them into a group photo!), 8 subwoofers, JBL M2 front speakers, a Dolby pro Atmos processor, banks of JBL Synthesis amps, and a 17-foot wide screen (projector unspecified--I'll update this when I find out), this $200,000 system is ready for your lottery winnings.

The picture (only 2K no less, from a DPI NC 900C projector, about $50,000) was spectacular (though with blacks more typical of theatrical presentations rather than the superior blacks available from some even modest home theater models). And the sound was as good as any movie sound I've yet heard, either home or theatrical (the latter including even the best theaters in Los Angeles). It could go plenty loud, but with the exception of an extended racing car sequence it was never edgy or grating. If you're fortunate enough to be at the show while reading this, it's a don't miss demo.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Sep 13, 2014  |  0 comments
While JVC introduced no new projectors at CEDIA EXPO for the first time in years, it still produced some of the best-looking images at the show. Using a native 4K source, its top of the line DLA-X900 looked particularly striking in low lamp mode on an approximately 130-inch wide screen. For those unfamiliar with JVC's current models, its higher-end designs can accept a 4K input and process it so that can be reproduced by the projector's 2K (1920 x 1080) LCOS imaging chips. Through further processing it then simulates 4K. Though it isn't true 4K, it can look very good.

I'm guessing that in the depths of JVC's R&D facilities they're working on a way to produce an affordable true 4K home theater projector. So far no one has done this--unless you consider Sony's $16,000 VPL-VW600ES affordable (but see the story above).

John Sciacca  |  Sep 13, 2014  |  0 comments
“We’re religious about the experience and the function and design of our products, “ Kaleidescape’s CEO, Cheena Srinivasan, stated, reminding dealers about who Kaleidescape is and “where Kaleidescape belongs in this world with all of the other competing devices and substitutes, and the technology directions where we are headed.”

Mark Fleischmann  |  Sep 12, 2014  |  0 comments
KEF's famous coaxial Uni-Q driver array is what distinguishes its R60 Dolby Atmos enabled speaker ($1200/pair) from the competition. With a one-inch aluminum tweeter nestling amid a 5.25-inch aluminum woofer, it's the same version of Uni-Q used on the R100. KEF also showed three new tower speakers and a monitor: Blade Two ($24,000/pair), Reference 5 ($18,000/pair), Reference 3 ($13,000/pair), and Reference One ($7500/pair).
John Sciacca  |  Sep 15, 2014  |  0 comments
One of the big announcements from Sony’s CEDIA keynote address was that the company’s FMP-X10 4K media player would be updated later in the year to work with other companies TVs, meaning Sony is going to partially unlock its proprietary connection. This is great news for Ultra HD content starved viewers, however it will likely still require a separate HDMI cable for audio from the media player to the processor and for video to the TV. Lame. Fortunately, Krell figured out a way around this.

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Sep 10, 2014  |  0 comments
Further proving that there’s more volatility in the smart home industry than in a hot air popcorn popper, Leviton Security & Automation (formerly HAI by Leviton) (and, before that, simply HAI) announced on the eve of CEDIA EXPO 2014 that the company had acquired Englewood, CO-based BitWise Controls, LLC. Founded in 2008, BitWise Controls specializes in automation controllers and products designed for the professional and pro-sumer smart home markets. The company’s three automation controllers - the BC1, BC2, and BC4 - are capable of home automation tasks as well as AV system control and offered a less-expensive alternative to systems from companies, such as Control4 and Crestron.

Although not specifically intended for direct consumer purchase and installation, the pricing of the controllers (starting at slightly above $500 for the basic, single-room BC4) also makes them a viable alternative to the gobs of DIY-oriented sub-$300 smart home hubs - none of which are capable of AV system integration. (The Revolv Hub is the only exception to this rule, although its sole AV-control capability involves limited integration with several Sonos components.)

Terms of the deal were not announced. It can be assumed, however, that Leviton did not pay quite as much for BitWise as Google did for Nest ($3.2 billion) earlier this year.

Thomas J. Norton  |  Sep 11, 2014  |  0 comments
Bolstering its dedication to OLED, LG announced two new models, both with Ultra HD resolution and both curved, at 77-inches (available in November at $25,000) and 65-inches (October, at $9,999). The company will also be bringing out a wide selection of new LCD/LED Ultra HD models from 40 inches to 65 inches, with the price for the largest model topping out at $3,500.