Two weekends ago, I attended my 4th and final CEDIA Expo to see all of the great new home theater gear. I love going because all of the latest gear is there and experts, and even the designers themselves, are often there to display the equipment. Unfortunately, it will probably be my last CEDIA because the show has grown to be too large for the Indy Convention Center. At least there is a convention center expansion planned, but it won’t be ready until next decade.
This was the best CEDIA I attended as far as new product goes. It topped CEDIA 2001, where all of the generation 1 720p DLP projectors were debuted. There were multiple products that really caught my eye, starting with the Texas Instruments 1080p DLP demo. This was absolutely the best projector image I’ve ever seen. I’ll definitely be upgrading to one of these in the future, most likely one of the less-expensive single chip versions. The Sony VW100 (a.k.a. Ruby) was also impressive. It’s a 1080p LCOS projector that will be shipping before the end of the year and retailing for less that $10k. This projector is going to be great for consumers since it puts downward price pressure on all 1080p projectors, even through I didn’t enjoy the image quite as much as the TI 1080p projectors.
I was happy to see an updated Philips Pronto Pro NG 7500. It fixes 2 major problems: the hard buttons being indistinguishable in the dark and the RF base station receiving too much interference from other equipment to function properly. Now, if they would just make a software mod to enable button backlights with the pick-up sensor.
I was very impressed by the Anthem Statement D2 preamp / processor. Having a video processor capable of 1080p upscaling is impressive. Being able to overlay volume and source info over this scaled video makes it a killer feature in my opinion. I’m also very impressed that existing Statement D1 and AVM 20 and AVM 30 owners will be able to upgrade their boxes to incorporate these features. Now if they can just stick to their release schedule. . .
Finally, I really like the new Embassador recliner from Bass Industries. It doesn’t look quite as nice as the Executive version, but the extra padding in the back makes it even more comfortable. That, in combination with the height adjustable headrest that rolls forward and the option for electric recline, makes this be best chair on the market. It’s way pricey, but the leather is top quality and available in about any color you could want.