I always take time out at CEDIA to sample some of the home theater seating exhibits that sprinkle the show floor. OK, so it’s a tough show and the dogs do bark! This jumbo love seat from Cinema Tech is more than just comfy. It not only reclines, but a powered headrest can be raised or lowered, depending on your needs of the moment. It’s available in different configurations (such a single seat). The catch is the price (for the loveseat shown) of about $7500 depending on the leather selected. A number of other manufacturers were also showing theater seats with adjustable headrests.
Normally known for making high-end indoor seating, CINEAK’s new outdoor collection features hand-crafted seating made with marine-grade materials so they can take a beating and keep on seating. While you’re enjoying your outdoor view, you can soon listen to one of CINEAK’s customizable outdoor entertainment systems that look like attractive outdoor storage consoles – but inside they hide marine-grade speakers and subwoofers and integrated LED lighting. The entertainment systems are available in a multitude of finishes including a variety of woods, painted aluminum, carbon fiber, and acrylic, as well as custom finishes by request. Interlocking panels can be removed, replaced, or mixed and matched for a truly unique look.
Home-automation stalwart Crestron is demonstrating at CEDIA Expo a Near Field Communication (NFC)-based technology called airConnect that enables homeowners to trigger personal control settings for a home theater system and other devices connected to a central control system by simply holding an NFC-enabled smartphone close to an NFC tag in the room. The tag can be programmed to initiate any number of activities or automated routines, such as turning on system components, closing motorized shades, lowering a projector screen and launching a control app on the phone. The NFC tags, which are 1-inch, paper-thin squares, can be embedded in convenient locations, such as behind a wall keypad. A number of Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry devices are NFC-enabled and Crestron says it will support iPhone and iPad as soon as they incorporate NFC technology.
Crestron is also demonstrating enhanced AirPlay functionality for its Sonnex multiroom audio system, which allows you to stream audio from an iPhone, iPad, or Mac PC to any room in the house without having to switch audio sources. Hit play and the system detects audio signals and automatically switches to the AirPlay source. The Sonnex system incorporates high-performance digital audio processing, full matrix switching and high-powered amplification.
The Monster Audio Subwoofer Satellite (MASS) speaker system Monitor Audio is showcasing at CEDIA Expo stands out among satellite-based systems for the gently curved polymer cabinet that defines the MASS 10 satellites. Each aluminum-capped cabinet, which houses a newly developed 1-inch tweeter and 4-inch bass/midrange driver, can be mounted on the wall or placed on optional stands (as shown in the photo). Bass chores are handled by the equally stylish MASS W200 powered subwoofer, which teams a 10-inch driver and passive radiator with a 220-watt DSP-controlled Class D amplifier offering selectable Movie, Music and Impact modes. Due out in the October/November time frame, MASS is expected to sell for about $1,200.
See that USB port on the back of the Marantz SA-11S3 disc player? The advent of computer-worthy USB ports on audio products is a development whose importance can't be overstated. True, there are a lot of great outboard DACs on the market, with more to come—but what if you don't want that extra box and power cable in your rack? One option is to build the DAC into another product such as the Pioneer SC-68 surround receiver, or this Marantz SACD/CD player. Incidentally, it does not do Blu-ray or DVD. The Burr-Brown DAC has resolution of 192/24. Build quality is typically superb, with copper substituting for aluminum in the back panel and some internal parts. Price is $4000.
dotz Cuts Cord Confusion
According to dotz, the average U.S. household has 40 cords, which adds up to 4.5 billion cords cluttering and choasifying homes across the country. dotz’s Cord Identifier Kit comes with 24 clear, round identifiers that snap along both ends of up to 12 HDMI, component, audio, video, power, and etc cords and cables. Different colors make the cords immediately identifiable when digging around behind AV racks, HDTVs, desks, or nightstands. In addition to different colors, each identifier can be further identified by using pre-printed or “write-your-own” punch-out inserts. Kits sell for $16.99.
What is it that the Canton Digital Movie soundbar has that no others do? To find out you will have to look closely at the back panel (not pictured, ha). It has a phono input. You read that right, a phono input. That's a set of values we applaud. It also has two optical, two coaxial, and two analog inputs (including phono) as well as two analog outs. On the front are two coaxial tweeter/mid-woofer arrays flanking four more mid-woofers, all aluminum. Look for it in mid-November for $1500.
Soundcast Systems’ awesome wireless, portable, weather-proof speakers are amazing in terms of both sound quality and wireless range. But the Outcast and Outcast Jr suffer from the same problem. They’re both basically white cylindrical towers with no visual personality other than “blah”. Now Soundcast is partnering with Skinit, Inc to provide skin adhesive wraps for the two speaker towers. Soundcast says the skins are easy to put on and feature a “residual-free removal”, so you can remove old and apply new skins whenever your heart desires a new look. Skinit offers a large online library of colors, patterns, photography, art, professional sports leagues, colleges, and universities from which to choose – or you can even customize your own design. Pricing is $49.99 per wrap for either the Outcast or the Outcast Jr, and they’re available from Soundcast Systems’ or Skinit’s websites.
JVC’s booth on the show floor, using its top of the line DLA-X95R projector with e-Shift2 technology, provided one of the more eye-popping demos at the show. The 2D demo, with clips produced specifically for demonstration purposes from a 4K source file downscaled to 2K for transfer to Blu-ray, looked incredible on a 123” diagonal, 16:9, Stewart Studiotek 130 screen, suggesting that e-Shift2 really is a genuine step up from last year’s original e-Shift. The sound was special as well, provided by Definitive Technology speakers (anchored by the Mythos Super Towers at the left and right).
Mohu’s original paper-thin indoor HDTV antenna – the $44.99 Leaf – is descended from a special antenna designed to do double-duty as a mudf flap on military Humvees. Soon to come from Mohu is the $120 Sky HDTV amplified outdoor HDTV antenna. Mohu says the sleek Sky HDTV antenna is omni-directional, very lightweight, and extremely easy to install. Mohu also showed the $49.99 JOLT Amplifier that can be used with any HDTV antenna to boost performance.
OK, the wording should be One Adam 12, but if you know the reference you’ve been on the planet and watching TV for far too long. But Adam Audio GmbH, of Germany, was one of several manufacturers (including KEF, Totem, and Wharfedale) attempting to make music on the open show floor. The strikingly styled Tensor Gamma Mk2 shown here is the smallest model in Adam’s top of the line Tensor Mk2 Series.
Remote control and home automation company URC introduced two brand new remote controls to CEDIA. Yawn…I know. The world needs another remote control as much as it needs another set of $20 earbuds. But the URC TRG-100 and TRG-200 have built-in gyroscopes and use motion-based technology so all you have top do is move and point the handheld remote to control the cursor directly on the TV screen. The basic TRG-100 has a minimalist design with very few buttons. The TRG-200 has direct numeric keys along with other direct function buttons. The new remotes are designed to work with URC’s Total Control whole-house systems with the company’s new MRX-20 Advanced Onscreen Network System Controller.
The MRX-20 offers a simple as well as a more elaborate on-screen user interface that is very cleanly overlayed on top of the HD picture on the TV so the user can summon direct TV controls – or, more interestingly because it’s done so unobtrusively, access controllable features provided by other URC control devices throughout the house. Pricing and availability for the new TRG remotes and the MRX-20 have not been announced.
Wow, was my first thought when I heard Jennifer Warnes’ mellifluous voice floating between a pair of SP-BS22-LR bookshelf speakers , one of four models in Pioneer’s new budget line of “home theater and music” speakers introduced at CEDIA Expo. Budget in price, not sound. The handiwork of chief speaker designer Andrew Jones who also happens to be director of engineering for high-end speaker maker TAD, the $130-a-pair bookshelf model is joined by the SP-C22 center speaker ($99), the floor-standing SP-FS52 ($130 each) and the SW-8MK2 subwoofer ($160). Design highlights include a sophisticated multi-element crossover that you just don’t find in this price range. The deal gets even sweeter if you opt for a complete home theater package: $499 for a system with four bookshelf speakers, a center-channel and sub or $629 if you go with a pair of mini towers for the front channels. The mission behind the new line is to engage younger consumers by offering high-quality sound at affordable prices, Jones said.
The wiggling-needle volume meters that are synonymous with McIntosh are now equally pleasing-to-look-at LEDs. The MC8207 seven-channel amp ($6000) on which they blink boasts 200 watts per channel into both eight and four ohms. McIntosh also showed two pre-pros, one of which was making its debut at CEDIA. That was the MX121 and it brings AirPlay and music streaming from Pandora and the like. Price is $6500. Both shipping now.