Few home automation things – especially in a home theater – can match motorized shades for sheer (or blackout) sex appeal. Whether the shades are coming down in preparation for a movie, or going up after the movie is over, it’s difficult to avoid being mesmerized by the seemingly magical movement of the shade material. But motorized shades have traditionally had two major drawbacks: cost and installation issues (which add to the cost). Lutron’s new wireless motorized cellular shades give the treatment to expensive, difficult-to-install window treatments. The new shades are exciting for several reasons: They’re motorized! They’re affordable! They’re cordless! And I can install them myself! (Yes, I’m drooling over shades…)
Carver's assets have been bought from their previous owner by the Carver Holding Group and many of the company's world-beating products will be reintroduced in early 2012. That will include amps of seven, five, and two channels, not to mention mono-blocks. What caught our eye was a new product, the CSB-601 2.1-channel soundbar. In development is a surround pre-pro. Welcome back.
The so-called Future Technology Pavilion was open for a press tour on Wednesday, press conference/setup day (the show formally opens on Thursday September 8). Much of the content here was of limited A/V interest, but will be of interest to custom installers who often add home automation and similar services to their repoitoire. The most interesting features here were those that offer a wide range of medical monitoring facilities, providing health and well-being warnings that can be transmitted to the appropriate agencies and individuals if needed. In other words, just the ticket for a granny-friendly house.
We didn't hear much of what Noah Kaplan said during the Leon Speakers press event -- too many people, not enough decibels. But his Living Space Theater soundbar, two-thirds of which is pictured, could be heard over the noise of the show floor, summoning vocal clarity and pretty good bass considering its depth of less than two inches. The amazing Trithon REYN made a welcome reappearance. Kaplan will make CEDIA history at an event tomorrow evening in which he will paint a mural accompanied by musician Adam Roberts.
The relaunched MK Sound has introduced something it never had before: a true tower loudspeaker. Previous ones were actually just stand-mounts on tower-shaped pedestals. The THX-certified F-950 ($2200/pair) has two 5.25-inch woofers with dual magnets for extra oomph plus a soft dome tweeter in a box to protect it from its own back wave. Also shown were three new THX-certified subs (8, 10, 12 inches) using MK's famous push/pull technology.
Why bolt a speaker onto a sub? Well, if you deploy five or more of them, your surround system's regular sub will have huge reinforcement, great coverage, no holes in bass response. That's what Procella does with products like the new P610. Thanks to shallow depth, it's not as bulky as it looks. Inside are a 10-inch sub driver at bottom with a 6.5-inch midrange and one-inch tweeter at top, the latter recessed deep into a waveguide. Price $3199 for the speaker half and $1499 for the sub half.
The Onkyo TX-NR5009 ($2899) and TX-NR3009 ($2199) and their Integra equivalents are the only receivers that upscale to 4K x 2K. But they weren't as photogenic as the two docking systems, the iOnly Play, left, with cool sliding cover over the dock; and the iOnly Bass, right, which is large enough to accommodate an iPad. Pricing $249 for either.
Epson made quite a splash at last year's CEDIA with a demo of its first LCOS projectors. The company actually refers to their version of this technology as 3LCD Reflective—essentially the same thing as LCOS, though I recall that they noted in 2010 that they were liquid crystal on quartz rather than on silicon.
In addition to its mainstream consumer plasmas, Panasonic makes a line of professional models for broadcast monitoring and high-end custom installations. New from the company's pro division at CEDIA is the 65-inch TH-65VX300, which boasts over 12,000 steps of gradation and the ability to reproduce the DCI color gamut as well as Rec.709, SMPTE-C, and EBU. It provides circuit-board slots to customize the input complement, and its internal scaler can be bypassed if you have a better outboard processor. It looked quite good under less-than-ideal conditionswhich it should for $6250.
Mitsubishi has been busy this year. First was its 92", DLP rear projection set shown at last January's CES. Now they've also re-launched their Laserview RPTVthe $6000, 75", 16" deep, L75A94. I don't think the latter was being shown to best advantage, located as seen in the photo (the set against the wall on the left is the 92" DLP, the Laserview is further to the right, in the upper center of the shot), but it will be interesting to see if MItsubish can make more of a go of it than the first time it was launched several years ago.
JVC opened the show with a bang, introducing eight new projectors. Six of them are further refinements of last year's models, with some significant new features. As last year, they are paired in sister designs, the Reference models (DLA-RS65 at $12,000, DLA-RS55 at $8000, DLA-RS45 at $3500—the latter a $1000 price drop from last year's corresponding model!) and the Procision models (DLA-X90R, DLA-X70R, and DLA-X30Rat the same respective price points as the Reference models) The respective Reference and Procision models are identical in features and differ only in minor cosmetic details and their sales channels (the Reference models are sold through Pro dealers).
On the day before the show opened, the isles were clogged with crates, ladders, and fork lifts doing the Indy 500 shuffle. For how it all looked when the crowds rolled in, scroll down until you get to the beauty shot taken on Thursday morning, opening day. Viewing the chaos on the day before, you never think they'll be ready to open on time. They always are. Kudos to the dozens of behind the scenes "stagehands" without whom there wouldn't even be a show.
First seen as a concept piece at CES last January, the HMZ-T1 is now ready for prime time. This headmount 3D display includes two small, 720p OLED panelsone for each eyein a futuristic-looking contraption that sits on your head with padded earphones on the sides. The interocular distance and earphones are both adjustable, as is the support structure that holds the device on your head. Because the two displays are completely isolated from each other, there is no crosstalk whatsoever. When fitted properly, most of the unit's weight is on the forehead, which is reasonably comfortable, but I don't know if that comfort will last through an entire movie.
The image is truly amazing, with exceptional 3D and super-deep blacks. However, moving your head around and seeing the "screen" move with you is very strange, especially when you can see the floor below the unit. Fortunately, light blockers can be installed to more completely isolate you from the real world.
Atlantic Technology's Peter Tribeman was in no mood to mince words about the divergence of the video and audio industries. TV makers, he declared, "have thrown our industry under the bus." The occasion—and the solution—is a soundbar with killer bass that will "take the den and the livingroom back for the audio industry."