CEDIA took over our backyard this weekend! The word “CEDIA” wrapped around Reunion Tower and sprawled across the Omni Hotel. Thousands of people rushed into Dallas to get a glimpse of the future home experience. Meanwhile, inside the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center, just miles from our North Dallas and Uptown showrooms, we were experiencing all the jaw dropping demos, new technology, gadgets and energetic music that CEDIA offers.
Last year, we concluded that CEDIA 2014 had some long-lasting industry trends such as 4K, laser projection and the introduction of multi-dimensional sound (Check out the post here). This year, 4K Ultra HD, DTS:X and Dolby Atmos were out in full force yet again. Together, these technologies combine to create the ultimate home cinema experience.
4K Ultra HD content
We saw 4K being integrated into everything, from Dish’s 4K Joey set-top box to the ultra-thin LG curved displays. There are more 4K projectors, 4K TV’s and 4K content options than ever before. Plus, there’s more on the way! There has been a lot of buzz over the recently announced 4K Blu-Ray players. But there hasn’t been any definitive answers on when we can expect to see them in the U.S. and what content will be available upon launch.
When we brought this up to Kaleidescape they had an answer: the Kaleidescape Strato Movie Player, the industry’s first 4K Ultra HD high-dynamic-range movie player. The Strato is a slick movie player with a 6 TB internal hard drive capable of playing 4K Ultra HD content at up 60fps. It can store up to 100 4K Ultra HD movies, 150 Blu-ray quality movies or 900 DVD quality movies. We got a hands-on demo with these new Strato players and were very impressed. They were very responsive and quick to load movies and skip scenes, even with the hefty 4K content. At launch, early next year, there will be around 100 4K Ultra HD titles available priced between $25 and $35 each. But, how are you going to view all those beautiful 4K titles?
Cinema quality 4K projectors
Sony debuted three new home-theater projectors, the VPL-VW665ES, the VPL-VW365ES which are both capable of delivering 4K resolution with HDR and the VPL-HW65ES which is 1080p. All three models support active 3D with 3D glasses. The two 4K models are equipped with Sony’s Triluminos image-processing engine, and both support Sony’s Motionflow picture technology, which is designed to deliver clearer images when displaying fast-moving content.
Want the best there is? Then you’ll want Sony’s new liquid-cooled 4K Ultra HD projector. Why liquid cooled? Video projectors can get very hot when watching long movies such as Interstellar. An internal fan will usually keep them cool but fan noise can become loud and distracting. So, Sony developed a new liquid-cooling system to allow the projector to stay cool and quiet. This is also the world’s first projector designed specifically for home theater use to provide full 4K resolution with a laser light source. Priced at $60,000, this may be a bit high but our jaws dropped when we saw the epic Blackwater battle scene from Game of Thrones up-scaled in near 4K quality.
JVC also unveiled three new projectors in its new e-Shift 4 projector line. These are the company’s fourth generation of D-ILA-based (liquid crystal on silicon) projectors that produce images that are processed to near 4K Ultra HD quality. The latest models are both brighter than JVC’s earlier generation models and provide the industry’s highest native contrast ratio of 150,000:1 (1,500,000:1 dynamic). While the projectors still don’t present “native” 4K Ultra HD images, the near 4K quality may fool you into thinking it is true 4K.
All the screens
To get the best out of a 4K projector you’ll need a great screen. The good people at Screen Innovations have outdone themselves this time. S.I. unveiled new screens designed to bring out the best picture your projector can dish out.
The IntelliMask screen is a constant image-height “non-masking masking system” which expands and contracts on its own. This allows you to maximize your viewing experience when switching from a standard HD aspect ratio to a true cinematic movie ratio. S.I also showed off its impressive 160-inch “Revolve” screen which they’re calling a “roll-able television.” The screen features Slate ambient light rejection screen material which is the same material they put on the space station back in June. What’s cooler is that an image of our solar system is etched into the end cap. As it rolls up, you’ll see the planets revolve around the sun. Pretty cool!
At CEDIA, speakers are everywhere. Music is blasting and movies are playing. Cinema demos just wouldn’t be the same without a great audio system in place. But, amazing sound isn’t the only thing that makes for a great speaker.
Year after year, Paradigm continues to make sound look good. This time was no exception. Paradigm showed off an all-new, hand-build concept speaker with a gorgeous vortex design. Take a look! You can almost see the sound blasting out of these things. The speakers feature the widest dynamic and frequency range for the ultimate sound reproduction: 15hz to over 40 HZ, over 120 dB in room sound pressure levels. Just a few steps away, Martin Logan unveiled a pair of new Dolby Atmos height effects speakers. These new stand-alone Motion AFX speakers sit atop Motion Towers (or other floor standing speakers) and fire sound upward allowing for multidimensional sound. This is a great solution if you’re looking to add Dolby Atmos to your pre-existing non-Atmos enabled speaker system.
Recently, multiple manufactures have been rolling out receivers which support the new Atmos and DTS:X audio formats. At CEDIA, Sony threw their hat in the ring with its all-new ZA5000ES AV receiver. This is Sony’s first receiver to support Dolby Atmos object-based audio. What’s cool is the receiver has the ability to upgrade to add DTS:X support through a future firmware update. The receiver also includes HDMI 2.0a/HDCP 2.2 input and HDR pass-through.
CEDIA was extremely exciting this year and we can’t wait to see what’s in store next year! We should see more integration of 4K Ultra HD and multi-dimensional sound in the future. See you next year CEDIA!
A special thanks goes to James Loudspeaker. We recently acquired a special pair of custom-built speakers by James Loudspeaker. There are only 2 pairs of these speakers in the world and our Starpower Showroom at Knox & Cole is the only place in the Western Hemisphere to have them. (We hear the other pair is in Dubai).