CEDIA EXPO 2014 Wrap-Up: Part 1

We walked miles through the coolest tech on the planet. Saw the newest products and innovations. Met a lot of amazing people. We are sad that CEDIA EXPO 2014 has come to a close. We believe this year held some long-lasting industry trends such as high-resolution audio and laser projection. We were introduced to new innovations like Dolby Atmos which offered us the most memorable experiences of the show. Here is part one of our re-cap from this year’s CEDIA EXPO:

MULTI-ROOM AUDIO 

This seemed to be the standout trend of all the major brands. With a multi-room audio system you can play music in any room in your home without having to have speakers built into walls or wired throughout your home. The one brand that usually comes to mind is Sonos.

SONOS

Sonos had a big presence at this year’s CEDIA. They announced a new exclusive streaming service and debuted a more powerful wireless peripheral called the Sonos Boost. This is essentially a Sonos Bridge with “enterprise-grade wireless capabilities to serve even the most challenging home Wi-Fi environments.”
Sonos had a wide variety of competitors at CEDIA this year, from Bose to LG. With all these brands crowding the multi-room audio space Sonos introduced a new exclusive to the Sonos ecosystem: Deezer Elite.

DEEZER ELITE
Deezer brings content to the high resolution capabilities of Sonos speaker systems. Deezer Elite is the first global streaming service to offer high-resolution audio. It has the largest music catalog in the word with over 35 million songs. Since, Deezer Elite is integrated into the Sonos app it allows for a seamless transition between speaker control and song control.
We were impressed with the Sonos-exclusive streaming service. The service offers a larger music catalog than Spotify at a similar price. (Sonos owners that sign up for one year, will pay $10 a month. Otherwise, it’s $15 month-to-month.) The integration of a lossless audio service allows consumers to easily hear the full power and clarity of Sonos speaker systems. Not to mention, it’s an exclusive that really allows Sonos to stand out among the competition.
Sonos had a wide variety of competitors at CEDIA this year. From Bose to LG, everyone is looking to step in the ring. Denon has a serious shot.

HEOS
Denon introduced HEOS directly across from the Sonos booth. HEOS is extremely similar to the Sonos speaker systems. There is a small, media and larger speaker plus a “Range Extender” strengthens the entire home network for all Wi-Fi devices. The big difference? Pricing. The smallest speaker, HEOS 3, costs $299 compared to the Sonos: Play 1 which is $199. However, the HEOS sound systems have power. For instance, the smaller HEOS 3 features a two custom full-range drivers powered by a two-channel class D amplifier. A rumor at the Denon booth was that they plan to introduce a new sound bar and subwoofer early next year.

 

DOLBY ATMOS

This was the most popular and memorable innovation that was at this year’s CEDIA. Dolby’s new multidimensional sound technology allows you to hear specific sounds of people, music, and things as they move around you. Sound comes from all directions, including overhead. The new technology is now integrated into various products from brand like Pioneer Elite, Integra and Denon. The demos we heard were extremely impressive. This multidimensional sound experience has been available in certain movie theaters but this is the first time you’ll be able to hear it in your home.

How do you add an extra dimension of sound with Atmos? One way is adding ceiling speakers. Another way is using the impressive speaker system created by Pioneer Elite.

 

PIONEER ELITE

Pioneer Elite introduced us to their new line of Atmos-enabled speakers. They integrated a speaker on top of existing tower speakers which allow sound to be pushed toward the ceiling. This means you’ll get full multidimensional sound without having to install ceiling speakers. The demo we heard did a great job of putting us into the middle of the action. The movie ‘Oblivion’ really stood out, as ships and lasers were being shot all around us. They also switched from normal surround sound to Atmos which made it easier to hear the effect.

The speaker set-up included the Pioneer Elite SP-EC73 center channel, four SP-EFS73 Atmos-capable tower speakers plus two SW-E10 subwoofers. These were powered by the Atmos-enabled Pioneer Elite SC-89. There were 2 other receiver models on display with the lowest starting at $1600. This is an extremely affordable way to get the full experience of multidimensional sound.

For Atmos-enabled speakers, Dolby recommends that ceilings be anywhere from 8 feet to 14 feet high, with flat, reflective material such as sheetrock for the best effect. If your ceilings are absorptive, textured, very high or angled, you may need to consider discrete ceiling speakers instead. (We heard a demo from Epson, who did not have reflective ceilings, yet we were still able to hear a very similar effect.) Atmos-enabled content is becoming available. ‘Transformers 4’ is one of the first movies to integrate the new technology. The streaming movie service, Vudu, will also support Dolby Atmos.

CEDIA EXPO 2014 – Day Two

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It’s Day two at CEDIA EXPO and there is still so much to see and hear! Hi-res audio, laser projectors and the cinema quality Dolby Atmos technology are just a few of the innovations we can’t wait to see today. Check out the lasted from Day two at CEDIA.

 

SONY

Sony’s latest innovation is an incredible short throw 4K laser projector. This is their first 4K short throw projector which means you can stand extremely close to the screen without obstructing the view of the projector. Their integrated laser technology allows for crystal clear picture and vibrant colors, even at a close viewing distance. The coolest part is you can put two projectors together to get a bigger and longer picture with Sony’s edge blending technology.

 

DOLBY ATMOS

The one innovation that’s making the most noise at this year’s CEDIA EXPO is Dolby’s ATMOS. Dolby’s new multidimensional sound technology is now integrated into various manufactures products like Pioneer Elite, Integra and Denon. The various demos we heard were extremely impressive. Helicopters sound like they are flying over head. Raindrops can be heard falling all around you. All of this in cinema quality clarity!

 

PIONEER ELITE

Pioneer Elite is about to make waves. They are introducing an entire Atmos-ready speaker system for around $3100. Pair that with an Atmos enabled Elite receiver starting at $1600 and you have a cinema grade sound set-up capable of multidimensional sound. The most innovative part is how Pioneer has built a speaker facing your ceiling into the tower speakers. This means you’ll get full multidimensional sound without having to install ceiling speakers.

 

JAMES LOUDSPEAKER

Like musical chairs? James Loudspeaker knows how to hide their high quality sound systems anywhere. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing but they pack a punch. They also showed off their 21-inch in-found subwoofer!

 

KALEIDESCAPE

Kaleidescape will release their new interface November 30th! This an update to existing Kaleidescape systems and allows you to buy and download straight from your tv. They have also added Sony Pictures to their widely-expanding movie library.

CEDIA EXPO 2014 – Day One

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We’ve landed at the CEDIA EXPO 2014! We’re here to bring you the latest innovations and first impressions. Walking into the event, you can feel the excitement and electricity in the air. Check back for live updates as we make our way through this game changing event.

 

MARTIN LOGAN
This is a powerful speaker. Martin Logan is releasing a new behemoth speaker system called the Neolith. These humongous electrostatic speakers are built of exceptional, super dense composite material. Did we mention it’s big? The speaker is over 6 feet tall and features a 15-inch woofer, 12-inch mid bass woofer and a 22 x 48-inch transducer. You can pick up a pair for $79,999 starting January next year.

 

PARADIGM
This is how to make sound look good. Paradigm’s newest speaker line will be called the Prestige Series. It features powerful sound with a new unobstructed look, clean sharp lines and extreme attention to detail. Their beautiful design comes in four premium grade finishes. It will be released this December.

 

SONANCE

It’s all about sound with Sonance. They are responsible for creating the invisible speaker. Their speakers blend into walls, ceilings and the foliage outdoors. These high quality sound systems are great for the kitchen. Sonance has shown off a new line of outdoor speakers with loud sound you can feel, complete with a woofer.

 

CRESTRON

Crestron believes “One app is all you need.” Crestron’s newest innovation is called Pyng. It’s an app which allows you to create a personalized home automation experience at the touch of a button. Build your house. Pair your devices. Group shades. Create scenes. Customize and schedule. Control your entire home within one app.

A big feature is the app will record all of your scenes and schedules. If you accidentally delete a room or scene, you can recover prior saves.

A cool new add-on to the existing Crestron app is called PinPoint.
PinPoint will know what room you’re in and give you options on what to control.

CEDIA EXPO 2014 Preview

This is going to be big! CEDIA will be celebrating its 25th year starting today at the CEDIA EXPO 2014. The three day event kicks off in Denver, Colorado with a press preview day. It will run until Saturday, September 13th. The show floor opens tomorrow morning and we are extremely excited to see the newest products and innovations. We will have hands-on impressions, previews, new product launches, industry trends and your questions answered.

We will recap our favorite experiences at the end of each day and highlight on what you want to see. CEDIA EXPO 2014 will have everything from the future of home automation to the latest wireless audio systems. We’ve already heard buzz over an exclusive streaming music service from Sonos, new Tivo Mega and Sony’s latest line of receivers.

There will be so much to see in just a couple of days! We will keep you up to date on the latest news at CEDIA. Interact with us on Facebook and Twitter. Send us your questions! What would you like to see at CEDIA? We want you to be the first to hear about the latest in industry changing innovations.

     

The Starpower ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Yes. I accepted the Ice Bucket Challenge! The entire Starpower family and I fully support the ALS Association’s mission in finding effective treatments and a cure for ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. We are happy to raise awareness alongside the rest of the country in this great cause. The ALS Association helps patients and families cope with the day to day challenges of living with ALS by providing information, resources, and referrals to many sources, including a wide variety of community services. The ice bucket challenge is all in good fun and for a great cause. Now it’s your turn to spread awareness and help fight ALS! Below is more information on ALS and how you can help…

What is ALS?
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.
A-myo-trophic comes from the Greek language. “A” means no or negative. “Myo” refers to muscle, and “Trophic” means nourishment–”No muscle nourishment.” When a muscle has no nourishment, it “atrophies” or wastes away. “Lateral” identifies the areas in a person’s spinal cord where portions of the nerve cells that signal and control the muscles are located. As this area degenerates it leads to scarring or hardening (“sclerosis”) in the region.
As motor neurons degenerate, they can no longer send impulses to the muscle fibers that normally result in muscle movement. Early symptoms of ALS often include increasing muscle weakness, especially involving the arms and legs, speech, swallowing or breathing. When muscles no longer receive the messages from the motor neurons that they require to function, the muscles begin to atrophy (become smaller). Limbs begin to look “thinner” as muscle tissue atrophies.

Here are some ways you too can spread awareness according to the ALS website:

  • When doing the challenge, please use the hashtags #icebucketchallenge, #alsicebucketchallenge, and #strikeoutals.
  • The ALS Association has created social media graphics for you to download and use to help spread awareness about ALS and the #icebucketchallenge. Click on an image to download a full-size version.
  • The Ice Bucket Challenge may not be suitable for small children, the elderly, anyone in poor health, or animals of any kind, so please use good judgment.
  • Please be thoughtful about water usage! If you’re in an area of the country or world affected by drought, repurpose the water for later use or help spread ALS awareness by becoming an ALS advocate, joining the Walk to Defeat ALS® in your community, getting involved in their fundraisers, or sharing information about this disease via social media. For more information visit www.alsa.org or make a donation at www.alsa.org/donate.

 

Already took the Ice Bucket Challenge? You can donate to ALS here.