|CEDIA 2009 Show Floor Impressions|
|Home Theater Feature Articles Best Of & Top 100 Lists|
|Written by Thomas Spurlin|
|Thursday, 17 September 2009|
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JVC’s Paper-Thin Thin 32” LCD
Alright, it’s not exactly paper thin, but it’s hard to take your eyes off of JVC’s ultra-slim LCD television. The 32WX50 sits at ¼” wide and offers 4,000:1 contrast differential, but it’s not without a price. JVC’s press release indicated that this 32” television will be around $3000, which is awfully steep for such a marginal screen. Still, the presentation of its slim nature is more than enough to turn a head or two.
Mitsubishi’s 3D Display
3D technology was around every corner at the expo, with impressive turns from Sony and Panasonic to solider the way. But I found myself most impressed with Mitsubishi’s at-home application of the technology, spread out on their 65” Laservue DLP (L65-A90) with comfy couches and chairs set in front. Their demo unit featured footage from Coraline (and others), an item that has already been presented from Universal in 3D Blu-ray to very, very headache-inducing levels. Showcasing this feature tied in my experience with that disc, and then blew it out of the water; instead o the jarred green-and-purple unattractiveness, it offers a smooth and colorful presentation with surprisingly tangible results. Iin comparison to the other 3D offerings at CEDIA, this one felt surprisingly smooth and, with lack of better words to use, the most “dimensional”. Their proficiency isn’t much of a surprise though, since Mitsubishi have been developing the 3D technology for several years now.
Panasonic’s 103” Plasma
Along with their more “practica” plasmas, Panasonic also brought one of their stars to CEDIA – their massive, highly impressive 103” plasma television. It’s amazing how 65” screens were dwarfed by this piece of equipment, which can contain the likes of 250 Universal remotes safely into the width of the screen. It included over 4,000 shades of gradation fill its seven-foot-plus width, which certainly stands as a monolith of 2001: A Space Odyssey proportions. Just make sure you have some help handy to mount it since, well, the thing nearly dials in at a quarter of a ton (486 pounds).
Pioneer’s Presentation of footage from Disney’s Tron Legacy
Behind dark closed doors with a small line waiting outside, Pioneer ushered in patient CEDIA attendees as they found their seats in a custom-built acoustic mini-theater. After a quick speech on what they’d be hearing, Pioneer’s demo presentation of their high-end equipment began with discussions from music producers and composers alike that discuss the importance of audio equipment to their respective trades. All of this was on one of Pioneer’s ELITE panels; then, a projector screen toppled down, and the small audience was treated to a home-theater showcase of footage from Tron: Legacy – the same teaser footage shown at San Diego Comic Con. With a well-equipped theater setup in tow – including four (4) subwoofers, sound-equalizing panels, and several wall-mounted speakers -- the demo offered a thunderous and beautifully-rendered home theater experience. “Cool” is an understatement.
Warner Bros’ Blu-ray of Speed Racer is known by many home theater enthusiasts as one of the premiere visual demo discs out there for its loud colors and ravishing detail. Naturally, presenting it as a demo for a projector was a natural fit, but Panamorph’s pro-grade expansion lens demo showcases how beautiful the marriage between projector tech and 2.40:1 material can be. Using an easy-to-slide toggle to show the before and after elements of the lens, it showcased how It shifts from being in 16x9 mode to “True Widescreen”. Waltzing around their booth during their intermittent demos gave me the opportunity to see the Michael Bay signed letter of approval for Panamorph’s tech (pictured).
Terra’s All-Weather Speakers
Throwing together water, ice, and electrical equipment sounds like a nightmare for anyone with a mind for electronics. However, the folks at Terra Speakers not only laugh at this fear, but put them all front-and-center for us to witness at CEDIA. Featuring one of the more mind-boggling offerings at the expo, they featured several water-drenched displays – including one with a puddle of water sitting directly in the cone, another with a speaker completely surrounded in ice – to showcase their true testament to “water-proof” and “all-terrain” prowess. Though outdoor loudspeakers exist, Terra’s come with a Limited Lifetime Warranty that shows their pride behind their products.
Toshiba LED and Microsoft’s Xbox 360
Though it’s little more than a minor notice in my part, it was fun seeing Microsoft show off their XB360 hooked up to Toshiba LED televisions. It brings back memories of HD-DVD’s heyday, specifically the Advanced Interactivity Consortium (AIC) geared towards the integration of using the now-failed -- but fondly remember, and still heavily used – high-definition platform.
CEDIA 2009 showcases twenty years of refined measures taken towards building a streamlined yet exciting trade show. Each of the larger labels had their eye-catching moments, boasting attractive designs to their setups that really brought attention to the right products. Buzzwords flew about in conversations like bullets (both in positive and in the negative “gun it down” fashion), from the uniqueness of 240hz motion replication to whether 3D technology would become something of an enduring element in the home theater spectrum.
But even with the companies touting their best and brightest with new techs, it also stood as a satisfying showroom forum to compare and contrast the more “accessible” pieces to come. Flat panels littered the walls everywhere, while video player upon player levitated below or to the side of their product specs. With 65” panels becoming the big selling point in displays, wireless video tech reaching the point of adoption, and a slew of Blu-ray players looking to wedge into several respective markets – the audiophile, the high-end connoisseur, and the tried-and-true second / third adoption runs for the less expensive market – CEDIA offered a clear look into what the next year has to offer. The result, after soaking in the cornucopia of options crammed into the Georgia World Congress Center, is best classified as “individualized” to just about any and all needs of the home theater lover.