- Written by Staff
- Published on 05 September 2008
Denver, Colorado - September 3-9
Here you will find a running commentary from the show floor, uploaded by Secrets staff during the show days.
Report 2 Sandy Bird
PSB has always made beautiful speakers. This year they have released a new series called the Imagine. The manufacturing process of the cabinetry is very impressive and allows the entire cabinet to be laser cut and computer sanded as one solid piece. The cabinets have no straight lines and are finished in real wood veneer and then hand sanded and stained. They are beautiful piece. The MSRPs look like the following Imagine T ($2000) Imagine B ($1000) Imagine C ($800) and Imagine S ($1200). These should be shipping in October.
NAD in an effort to help future proof their receivers and processors has moved to a modular design. We saw Onkyo try this a couple of years ago and were not overly successful, we wish NAD luck. They are allowing the T765 to be upgraded for $400 to the newest sound formats. The new units to be released are impressive and have all the right stuff. The T785 flagship receiver and T175 processor but have HDMI 1.3, TrueHD, DTS-MA, Audyssey (everything including volume, MultiEQ and DynamicEQ), and Sigma Designs video processing.
VUDO has released a new 1080p set top box with 1TB of disk space and an MSRP of $999. Their movie collection continues to grow with other 6000 SD title and over 200 HD movies. The bit rate of the HD movies would appear to only be 4Mbit/s which seem kind of low to us, but maybe the representative at the booth mis-quoted that (or we hope so).
Digital Projection International
We stopped by Digital Projection International to see their 3-D 1080p solution which consisted of 2 1080p DLP projectors and a bunch of guys (including us) looking at a screen with some polarized glassed that looked like we might have gotten them out of a cereal box. The demonstration wasn't the impressive, it did show off 3D but in comparison to things I have seen in IMAX and Disney it just left a lot to be desired. Before the demo we got to see a lot of great 1080p video from one of their projectors' and that was impressive.
Wow that was loud. They of course claim we should all have 1000+ watts to make sure we can properly resolve the new digital formats in their full intended purpose. All I can say is that they had the loudest demo on the show floor. Usually we leave that award for Dan Miller at Marantz or Carl Kennedy at JL Audio but this year in terms of SPL CINEPRO wins. They were demoing their new AFM in-wall speakers.
Yamaha releases new received like the changing of the seasons and this year is no different. Last year we saw the very impressive RX-Z11 at $5500 it isn't going to be found in the average home theater, but this year they have filled out the line up with the RX-Z9 ($2700), RX-V3900 ($1900) and RX-v1900 ($1400). They support all the latest audio and video formats, 1080p up-scaling, two active HDMI outputs on some models, the ability to access media over the LAN and even HD Radio.
The Theta Casablanca III HDMI finally exists. It is good to see Theta finally entering the HDMI 1.3 marketplace. Keeping in line with Theta thinking it deals with the audio only and passes the video along to your favorite video processor. It is a shame JJ already sold his older Casablanca after waiting for years to get it upgraded. Theta also mentioned that being owned by ATI has allowed them to work with new manufactures with parts that allow faster warm-up times on their amplifiers like the Dreadnaught.
Microsoft Media Center
Microsoft has a fairly large booth setup showing off Vista Media Center and a number of manufactures building HTPCs around it. It is starting to look like the THX booth but instead of receiver it is filled with fancy PC cases.
Cynthia was over to visit Fady at Earthquake who showed her the IQuake system, the IQ-52 is shown below with a 200 watt built in amp and an iPod dock.
Report 3 Ross Jones
JVC introduced their latest 1080p D-ILA projectors, including the DLA-RS10 and RS20. The RS20 demo was in a dedicated room; the RS10 in an open bar area with lots of ambient light, but it still looked great. Pricing is not finalized, but expect the RS20 at under $8,000, and the RS-10 under $6,000. Shipping in November.
JBL has a new line of wireless subwoofers, including the ED 250, tramsmitting via 2.4 ghz.
JBL also introduced its own home theater pre-pro and amp separates. The AV2 Prepro is expected to be priced at $2,000; pricing on the AV7 amp not available.
Stewart filmscreen's Media Decor is retractable artwork that will cover anything from a flat-screen display up to a projection screen 58" in height.
Stewart also demonstrated its Starglass rear projection screen, consisting of several glass layers. This 160" screen produced an impressive image in bright-light conditions.
Monster Cable and Speakercraft hosted a concert by the Doobie Brothers on Friday night.
Report 3 Sumit Chawla
The Sony KDL-52XBR7 will feature a 240Hz LCD panel. Shown here on the wall is a comparison of 60/120/240 Hz LCD panels.
Logitech's diNovo Mini seems like a great HTPC companion. It has a built-in touchpad and the keys are backlight. A rechargeable lithium-ion battery is built into the keyboard. The keyboard lists for $150.
Microsoft Media Center has an addon called WebGuide which allows control of the program guide and access to content over the web. It is provided as a free download.
Revel has added a number of on-wall loudspeakers to their Concerta line.
Meridian showed their 4k projector, the model 810,Â which uses JVC's LCOS panels. Marvell has provided the scaling/de-interlacing solution. 1080i and 1080p content was used for this impressive demo. A number of lens options are available. The projector is priced at $185k. The 810 demo also showcased the new DSP7200 and DSP8000 with the SpeakerLink feature.
Report 4 Sumit Chawla
Infinity launched a full-range version of their Cascade series. This series, called the Prelude Forty, will retail for $6k/loudspeaker.
Shown here is also a wireless subwoofer; it comes with an attachment which receives the subwoofer output from the processor. It operates in the 2.4 GHz spectrum, but both Inifinity and Revel said that interference with other networks is not an issue. We will try and get one to review. The subwoofer shown here will retail for $1200.
JBL has come out with a wireless expansion modules which will make any loudspeaker wireless. You get two pieces: one gets attached to the processor and the other to one or two speakers. MSRP: $359.
Gefen is offering two wireless HDMI transmission systems. One system targets longer distances, 100ft, but its output is limited to 1080i. The other system targets shorter distances, 30ft with one wall and 60ft with no walls, but you get upto 1080p. Both systems compress the content prior to transmission to reduce the bandwidth requirement.
The new Auditor M from Sonus Faber.
Atlantic is offering a new line of in-walls which are NetStreams compatible.
Several new Pronto remotes were being shown. Shown here are two remotes which are WiFi capable. The remote on the left is the TSU9400 which will retail for $999. The remote on the right is the TSU9800 which will retail for $2399. Windows Media Center control may get added at some point.
Report 3 Sandy Bird
CEDIA departs Denver this year with a bit of a disappointment. Overall show attendance appeared to be down, some blamed it on the economy others felt it was a changing market. Overall there were lots of new products but most were simply refreshes of previous models. There were no truly revolutionary product or technology releases and most attendees seemed very ho-hum about the entire experience. That didn't stop the major sponsors from putting on an exceptional show. Speaker Craft one of the premier sponsors was showing a crazy pre-historic (if that is the right word) show on a regular basis while other vendors gave away cars and other large prizes. Most of the vendors we talked to still felt they had good attendance though their booths and that was what really mattered to them.
The "Boutique" The Home Theater processor brands have caught up with the mass market companies in terms of integrating HDMI 1.3, 1080p video processing, support for bit stream processing of TrueHD and DTS-MA and room correction features. That is good as the mass market receiver companies were starting to put a lot of space between them and the higher end brands. I believe from a custom installers perspective there were a lot of receivers installed over the last few years that could have been pre/pro-amp combinations at the feature sets been there. Anthem one of the manufactures that endorsed the HDMI and video processing features in their processor haven't just sat around waiting for other to catch up and this show released the Statement D2 v2 (or maybe D2.1 by the time it becomes official) with HDMI 1.3 support and bit stream processing.
On the projector front everything looked great. Sure we aren't to CRT black levels, but we are always getting closer and the ANSI contrast in most cases is way up. Everyone has 1080p projectors at reasonable prices. JVC and Meridian both showed 4K projectors, you can even buy the Meridian one if you are interested in spending 6 figures for the setup. The LCD/Plasma war silently continues with both sets increasing all their specs and looking better and better. We are starting to differentiate flat panel displays based on their exterior chassis so I believe we have hit the point where the average consumer really isn't going to care anymore. This is a great photo showing off the LG Scarlet Series.
On the HD content front I think downloadable media was almost as common as Blu-ray this year (and yesHD-DVD is truly gone, I don't think anyone even mentioned it). Sure there were lots of Blu-ray players around but Direct TV, VUDU and a half a dozen Media Distribution products had ways of getting you HD content without anyone ever getting off the couch to change a disk. Samsung's CEO even claimed Blu-ray would be dead in 5 years, and I have to agree with him.
While THX and Dolby try to innovate new and interesting ways to get their logos stamped on products we saw Audyssey start to encroach on their territory. While Dolby released Dolby Volume, Audyssey released an incarnation of the technology as well. Either solution would claim it is better but we saw as many products with the Audyssey implementation as the Dolby one. Maybe there will be a bit of a changing of the logo guards' any maybe we will just find larger front panels for all the logos to go on.
Media distribution and single solution media access was a hot topic as always. Microsoft's Vista Media Center seemed to be grabbing a bit a market share with a number of vendors. We saw displays, receivers, SSPs, set top boxes, satellite receiver and even DVD/Blu-ray players with network connectivity that could play you videos, music and pictures over the home network. They all had limitations of some form compared to what we want in a media distribution system but we are making a lot of progress in this area. We also saw a number of HTPC manufactures using My Movies a popular Media Center add-on allowing Kaleidescape like movie access. What is interesting was My Movies was supporting Blu-ray where kaleidescape still had no real HD solution.
Well that probably all sounded terribly depressing. There were some great products announced. The new Integra receivers and processors look very interesting, the Marantz pre-pro demo was very convincing that we have truly moved forward in terms of network media integration into the AV components. The OPPO Blu-ray player showed up which had a bunch of people excited. The demos on the floor were spectacular, but I think Dan Miller at Marantz wins again with the opening to Cars and a great Matchbox 20 video in terms of demo quality.
We can always hope CES brings some excitement back into the AV industry but as far as CEDIA EXPO 08 I would have to wrap it up as slightly disappointed. Then again maybe I am just spoiled with the last few years where the industry really leaped forward with HD Video and lossless audio.
Report 2 Piero Gabucci
It wouldn't be CEDIA without ADA, Audio Design Associates; the new Mach IV now features HDMI switching with 8 inputs and dual outputs. Their position has been a wait-and-see before jumping into the constant revisions.
Really hot from ADA is the TPA-1 Tube preamplifier (MSRP $2,849) with built-in iPod with tube line amp stage. Complimented by the PF-2150 power-FET amplifier (MSRP $2,649) the combination sounded amazing on a small pair of table-top speakers.
Albert Langella ADA's Chief Design Engineer, CEO and President with the iPod preamp/amp combo.
BG Radia boasted the first in-wall THX Ultra 2 Certified subwoofer. Although the BGX-4850 can be in-room as well as in-wall, the design is specific for shallow applications. The system includes four modules each with 12 woofers each in their own enclosures in balanced pairs. All totaled the four modules equate to 2-18' drivers. With an outboard amplifier the package is sold for $6,995 and shipping mid-October.
Traditionally Gus Cossifos of Cinepro wins the "Loudest-in-show-by-far" award, (Gus would argue "not loud, but clean and accurately lifelike)" but this year it's an honor to give him best advertising award, by far. Their demo was amazing with both delicate music and thunderous sound.
Our good friends at Totem showed an in-wall version of the popular on-wall Tribe at about $1,000 each. Honestly one of the few on-wall/in-walls that have really captured my attention. Also new are in-ceiling center channel and in-wall center/side versions.
Stylishly, Totem showed their entire line in stunning white!
Canton's Frank GÃ¶bl, head of engineering lost his voice but not his passion and enthusiasm for the new Reference 3.2DC boasting a new ceramic dome tweeter in a 3 way bass reflex design. A two-chamber monocoque structure is hidden by a stunning finish. At $16,000 for the pair, my listening room is ready for them.
CEDIA 2008 - It's a Wrap
The Paradigm-SECRETS Dinner
Saturday night ended with the much-anticipated Paradigm-Secrets group get together at Nine 75 in Denver. Good food, drinks, jokes were shared among good friends. Thank you Paradigm!
The Paradigm and Secrets Teams
Mark Aling from Paradigm (right) and Cynthia Johnson and Adrian Wittenberg from SECRETS. So just who was responsible for that joke?