Home Theater Review


CEDIA 2012 Show Report

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JVC introduced three new D-ILA projectors that utilize the company's eShift technology to upscale 2D HD sources to Quad Full HD (or 3840 x 2160). Available in November, the new DLA-X95R ($11,999), DLA-X75R ($7,999), and DLA-X55R ($4,999) employ second-generation eShift2, which the company says produces an even higher native contrast than we have enjoyed in previous JVC D-ILA models. A new 1080p model, the DLA-X35, will also join the line at a price of $3,499. Upgrades across the line include additional lens memory settings so that you can configure a no-black-bars 2.35:1 image without an anamorphic lens, a new illumination system for longer lamp life, a new optical engine for better 3D performance, and a switch from IR to RF for the active 3D glasses. On the pro side, JVC plans to release two 4K 84-inch LCD monitors, the PS-840UD for commercial installations and the RS-840UD for CEDIA custom installations. These are due in January 2013.


On display in Dynaudio's booth was the Xeo Series of wireless high-end speakers. All of the necessary electronics are integrated into the Xeo 3 bookshelf ($2,300 per pair) and Xeo 5 tower ($4,500 per pair); all you have to do is plug them into the wall. The supplied Xeo transmitter works over a closed 2.4GHz network and has a 50m range; inputs include RCA, mini-jack, Toslink, and USB. The system is shipping now.


TiVo subscribers might be interested in the company's latest addition: the new TiVo Stream is a small box that you can add to your TiVo Premiere DVR in order to stream content to mobile devices. Within your home, you can stream recorded and "currently recording" content to iOS devices over your home network. You can also download recorded content to view outside the home without a network connection, but you can't stream live programming. Right now, TiVo only offers an iOS app, but the CEDIA rep said that a free Android app is coming soon.


Wisdom Audio
We got a chance to hear another great-sounding multi-channel demo of Wisdom's Insight Series planar magnetic speakers in an in-wall configuration that consisted of the L8i ($5,000 each) in the L/C/R positions, four P2i surrounds ($1,250 each), and four SCS subwoofers. The company also demoed a lower-priced ensemble using the P4i ($1,750 each). All of the Insight Series models are scheduled to ship this month, which is good news for people looking for audiophile in-wall solutions that are priced more reasonably.


Snap AV
Snap AV is a CEDIA favorite, as they sell very high-value products like Episode Speakers and Dragonfly screens into the custom install channel. One dealer took us aside to mention how good the new Episode "Triple 10" subwoofer compared with his reference JL Audio Fathom. At $995, that's a bold statement, which we are likely to test in a future review, as Andrew Robinson uses the more expensive JL in his reference system.


Canton and Audio Pro
Canton showed their current lineup of products from Germany with no new products, but Audio Pro showed AllRoom Air One. The new speaker is a single-box $799 wireless (DLNA) and Airplay. It can work with or without a wireless network, which allows the speaker to create its own network for Airplay. It also has Android compatibility, as well as subwoofer outs, digital inputs, USB inputs and analog inputs. The new Audio Pro speaker is leather-wrapped and comes in white, black or red.


Dune HD
Hot-ticket media server company Dune HD was showing off their Dune HD Max media player (you can win one this month on HomeTheaterReview.com) as well as an integrated solution with Vidabox that allows for some pretty slick cover-flow control of movies and music. For the investment, Dune is becoming a leader in media server value very quickly.


Da-lite was showing a host of innovative video screen solutions, including their light-controlled demo of their JKP (Joe Kane) screens, which report some of the best performance that money can buy at the reference level of screens. They weren't pushing 4K screens, as that concept is, respectfully, a little silly, but they were showing some of the best screen materials out there at a variety of prices, from more entry-level to the very high end.

RBH speakers were on active display at CEDIA and, to take their 30 wood finish sales pitch to the next level, the Utah-based speaker company was showing speakers literally made of stone. These highly inert speakers had a very distinctive look (meaning they would look at home in Tony Soprano's house), but aim to sound pretty good. RBH had additional refinements to their affordable sub-sat speaker systems, including better-looking finishes and more rounded corners.

SunBrite TV
SunBrite TV was showing their outdoor TV being literally drenched by a constant flow of water. These guys love torture-testing televisions. They didn't take it as far as lighting the set on fire, letting a bear attack it or shooting the set with a 9mm, but we already covered all of those scenarios in our review of their top-of-the-line outdoor HDTV.


Sony just introduced an 84-inch 4K (QFHD) LCD TV, the XBR-84X900, which also offers passive 3D capability, detachable speakers, XR 960 Motionflow technology, Sony Entertainment Network, and a Simulview function that lets gamers watch two full-screen HD images. At CEDIA, Sony provided pricing and a release date: $25,000, November. (While not officially at the show, LG also held a press conference to give the price/release info for its 84-inch 4K TV, the 84LM9600. It will cost $20,000 and come out in October.) Sony's big CEDIA-related news was the introduction of two new ES receivers that sport integrated Control4 home automation technology. The lower-priced STR-DA2800ES 7.2-channel receiver ($999) provides a DIY solution in which you can easily add your own basic automation elements, while the step-up STR-DA5800ES 9.2-channel receiver ($2,100) allows for more robust features via a certified Control4 installer. Both receivers offer 4K upscaling and pass-through, a four-port Ethernet switch, three HDMI outputs, Sony Entertainment Network, and more.


Stewart Filmscreen
Stewart made a number of announcements at CEDIA this year, including the introduction of a more affordably priced yet still high-performance series called CIMA. CIMA models are less customizable than other Stewart products: they come in standard sizes with a choice of two screen materials, and they are available in fixed-frame, above-ceiling, and below-ceiling configurations. Stewart also launched the Director's Choice DC-100 screen with a thinner frame structure and full horizontal masking for DC screens up to 14 feet wide, as well as the new Mystik! self-adhesive screen material.


GoldenEar Technologies
We loved GoldenEar's demo of the SuperCinema 3D Array soundbar ($999) back at CES, and we loved it again at CEDIA. This L/C/R bar uses six of GoldenEar's cast-basket bass/midrange drivers and three High-Velocity Folded Ribbon tweeters, with interaural crosstalk cancellation technology to help counteract the drivers' proximity to each other. It's a passive soundbar, which means you need to mate it with an external amplifier/receiver. I personally prefer the more natural sound of passive soundbars. For the complete multi-channel experience, you can add surrounds and a ForceField sub from GoldenEar's line.


While Mark Levinson showed off the 40th Anniversary No 52 Reference Dual-Monaural Preamplifier first announced at CES (due to arrive in January 2013), Revel debuted a new lineup of in-wall and in-ceiling speakers that boast easier installation and a "new value standard" for Revel. The 2-Series includes seven models that will be available in the first quarter of 2013. The Revel Perfoma3 Series speakers that caught our ear at CES will ship in December, and we also heard rumblings that Revel may announce a partnership with a major auto manufacturer in the next few weeks. Oh, and we may soon (finally) see a JBL Synthesis surround sound processor, developed in conjunction with Bryston.


dnp Screens
dnp made quite the visual statement with its new ultra-thin screen. The Supernova Blade is a completely frameless, ultra-thin fixed screen that uses the ISF-certified Supernova 08-85 material. The Blade is available in 100-, 110- and 120-inch 16:9 sizes (custom 2.35:1 sizes are also available). The CEDIA sample hung from suspension cables that come included in the package, or you can go with the optional wall-mount kit. dnp also showed off a new high-gain (2.3) material designed to offer wider off-axis viewing than many high-gain screens.


Polk offers a variety of soundbars in two different groups: the Component Home Theater line consists of passive soundbars meant to be mated with a receiver, and the Instant Home Theater line, which is made up of active soundbars with internal power and processing. Polk gave us a demo of the new SurroundBar 9000 ($799), which is just 2.25 inches deep and delivers 45 watts of discrete peak power to each of its eight drivers (five 2.5-inch midrange drivers and three 0.5-inch silk dome tweeters) and uses an 80Hz crossover to the 150-watt, eight-inch wireless sub. The 9000 had excellent dynamic ability and created a respectably wide soundstage for an all-in-one bar.


Atlantic Technology
In other soundbar news, Atlantic Technology showed off the PowerBar PB-235, which is touted as the first "no subwoofer required" soundbar because of its use of Atlantic Tech's patented H-PAS bass system (indeed, the demo showed that the bar can go impressively deep). The bar contains power and processing, with three digital and two analog inputs and Dolby Digital/DTS decoding. The DSP engine allows for a two-, three-, or five-channel presentation, easily adjustable using the supplied remote. Atlantic Tech says that the PB-235 ($899) will be shipping in a matter of weeks.


Wharfedale introduced two new Ultra Power Cube subwoofers. The UPC-10 sports dual 10-inch woofers and a 500-watt amplifier for $1,599, while the UPC-8 offers dual eight-inch woofers and a 350-watt amplifier for $1,199. Both subs have controls for volume, variable low-pass crossover, crossover slope, phase adjustment, and sound effects mode, all adjustable via the supplied remote. The subs are available in a variety of finishes designed to compliment the company's Jade Series, which was also on display.


Vutec debuted an ultra-thin-frame fixed screen, the SilverStar SSX, available in various shapes and sizes up to 151 inches. The screen material is a high-contrast, ambient-light-rejecting material. The new product that really caught my eye was Vutec's Multi-Vu. At first glance, it looks like one of Vutec's traditional Theater Art Systems framed screens. With the press of a button, however, the screen rolls away to reveal custom TV cabinetry, built to your exact specs based on the TVs you wish to install. This custom cabinet can support a 16:9 screen size up to 115 inches (114 inches for a 2.35:1 screen), and horizontal screen masking is also available.


Bowers & Wilkins
On display in B&W's booth was the CI800 Series of high-end in-walls, which incorporates technologies from the 800 Series Diamond speakers. The lineup will include the three-way CWM8.3 ($6,000 per pair), the two-way CWM8.5 ($2,800 per pair), and the in-ceiling CCM8.5 ($4,000 per pair). All three models will be available in December.


MartinLogan has added two new speakers to its Motion Series - the Motion 30 center channel ($650) and the Motion 15 bookshelf model ($800 per pair) - that are designed to compliment the Motion 20 and 40 floor-standing speakers and come in three high-gloss finishes: black, white, or black cherry wood. Also new to the MartinLogan family is the Dynamo 1500X subwoofer, which combines a 650-watt amp with a 15-inch woofer. This is the first MartinLogan subwoofer to offer room correction; the Perfect Bass Kit is sold separately. Finally, the company also demoed the Motion Vision soundbar, which we recently reviewed.


Epson won't jump into the 4K fray with this year's projector line, but the company did use the occasion of CEDIA to unveil its new line of 3LCD 1080p projectors. The PowerLite Pro Cinema 6020UB, Home Cinema 5020, and Home Cinema 3020 offer many of the features found in their 6010/5010/3010 predecessors, with modest improvements in brightness. All three are active 3D models that come with two pairs of RF 3D glasses and a new split-screen mode to watch dual full-screen images simultaneously. As with this year's models, the 5020 and 3020 can be purchased with an optional WirelessHD kit. Epson did not give exact prices; instead, we know that the 6020 will be sub-$4,000 (November release), the 5020 will be sub-$3,000 (October release), and the 3020 will be sub-$2,000 (October release).


Definitive Technology
Definitive Technology showed off the finalized version of the SoloCinema XTR soundbar first previewed at CES. This $1,999 bar distinguishes itself by adding HDMI inputs and outputs and offering advanced processing options like DTS-HD, Dolby TrueHD, and Dolby Volume, making it more like a receiver and soundbar in one package. A low-profile wireless subwoofer is included, and the bar itself is only about 2.4 inches deep. The SoloCinema XTR should hit stores within a few weeks.


On display in Onkyo's booth were new hi-fi mini systems and tabletop players. The visual standout was the RBX-500 iLunar tabletop radio (October, $249), a round design with six full-range speakers designed to offer a stereo presentation from any direction, as well as a down-firing sub, Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR support, and an iPod dock. The new LS3100 EnvisionCinema ($499, November) combines a two-channel speaker system with a wireless sub, a small 20-watt digital amp, Bluetooth support, and SRS TruVolume. In the higher-end audio realm, Onkyo also showed off the A-9050 integrated stereo amp ($499, October), the PR-SC5509 9.2-channel preamp ($2,499), and PA-MC5501 9-channel amp ($1,899).


D&M Group
Both Denon and Marantz announced new high-end electronics and universal players. This month, we'll see Marantz's new AV7701 7.2-channel preamp ($1,700) with AirPlay and 4K pass-through/upscaling, followed later in the year by the UD7007 3D universal player ($1,200). Denon, meanwhile, will debut this month the flagship AVR-4520CI 9.2-channel receiver ($2,500) with four-zone support, AirPlay, and Audyssey MultEQ XT32, among many other features. The DBT�?�3313UDCI universal player ($1,000) will also arrive this month. Finally, Boston Acoustics showed off new TVee soundbars, the new MC200 AirPlay speaker ($299), and a new high-end speaker series. The stylish M Series will include three floor-standers ($1,499 to $2,499 per pair), a bookshelf ($799 per pair), a center channel ($599), a surround ($748 per pair), and a subwoofer ($1,199). All of the speakers are available in gloss black with black faux leather trim.


Elite Screens
Elite Screens highlighted its new line, Elite Prime Vision, aimed specifically at the custom-installation market, which includes aggressively priced products in the fixed-frame, electric wall-ceiling, and motorized free-standing categories. Part of the new EPV lineup, AcousticPro-4K is an acoustically transparent screen material with a 1.1 gain and an angular weave optimally designed for a 4K resolution. The company also introduced the AirFlex5D projector stacking system (available in October) that precisely aligns the images of multiple projectors into a single picture for passive 3D applications and increased brightness. The AirFlex5D's ability to increase brightness up to four times is ideal for someone who wants a more economical way to build a very high-brightness projection solution.


Focal and Cambridge Audio
Focal had their Bird speaker system nicely on display, while also showing their larger Utopia line of loudspeakers, which didn't shy away from lighting up the vast open air of their CEDIA booth. Cambridge Audio showed revised versions of their new line of AV receivers with tank-like build quality. Cambridge's DAC Magic at $399 is also of note for those looking to get audiophile performance from new-school, less-than-audiophile products.

Despite the low attendance and lower number of booths, HomeTheaterReview.com's editorial staff put forth our best efforts to cover the best the CEDIA 2012 show had to offer. With booths now in hotel rooms off-site, there is a chance that we may have missed a booth or two, and for that we apologize; the logistics of any major consumer electronics show are close to impossible to navigate perfectly.

Additional Resources
• Read more original commentary in our Feature News Stories section.
• See more industry trade news from HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Learn about the trends of CEDIA 2012.

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