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CEDIA 2012 – Wrap Up
The third and final day of the show was on Saturday, 9/8/2012. I had an early flight out of Indianapolis on Saturday so I didn’t have a chance to return to the show floor. I fortunately have more content to share with you that I’ll include after some final thoughts on the show.
CEDIA 2012 seemed similar to the CEDIA 2011 show in terms of overall crowd and level of enthusiasm. I look forward to seeing the actual attendance numbers to see how this show compares to prior years. There were definitely fewer exhibitors in some areas of the show floor and occasionally an area was setup as a seating area where exhibitor booths might have otherwise been. The good thing about CEDIA is that being a smaller show compared to CES, you really get a chance to talk with people. There were plenty of conversations going on and there were lots of dealers discussing products with manufacturers. Hopefully those conversations will turn into lots of business. There was definitely an excitement for the 2013 show and the return to Denver.
As for technology and products, there were definitely a few things that stuck out for me. The evolution of 4K displays is progressing whether we like it or not. More products are including 4K video processing and the Sony 84” XBR 4K display was beautiful. Yes, it’s outrageously priced at the moment and there is no consumer content, but it wasn’t too long ago that large HD displays were in that same price range when they were first introduced. I would have taken the Sony display home in a minute if I could afford it and had a place to put it. The MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link) technology is appearing on many devices. This is a good thing from the perspective of providing easier ways for consumers to enjoy high definition content taken from their mobile devices.
The proliferation of network connectivity in the home environment is amazing. From more and more devices offering wireless support, to network connectivity in amplifiers, to receiver manufacturers including network switches in their products, there is no escaping that a robust network is a must in any home wanting to utilize the latest technology. The challenge for the manufacturers and the installers attending CEDIA is to make all this technology work well and be understandable for the consumer. There is definitely a huge opportunity to make audio and video distribution and control easy for the consumer; given the large number of vendors presenting competing solutions, there is plenty of room for continued innovation.
On the audio side of things, it was really great to see Paradigm celebrating 30 years of tradition and excellence in the industry. The Tribute and Inspiration speakers will be loved by those lucky enough to buy them, and the innovation that created them will undoubtedly spark future products. It was great to see the return of the Audio Electronics brand from Cary Audio. I especially like that consumers can purchase the Audio Electronics products from an on-line store direct from the manufacturer. It was also an unexpected high-note to get a preview of the next Blu-ray players from Oppo Digital. The Oppo Digital products have been significant to the industry and the upcoming release of the BDP-103 and BDP-105 will spark continued interest and enthusiasm for months to come.
That’s it for my official show coverage for CEDIA 2012. Please continue reading the next section for additional material from Thursday and Friday that I didn’t have a chance to post earlier in the week. Thanks for reading.
Additional Material from CEDIA 2012 Day 1 and 2:
The Pioneer booth was largely the same as it was at CES 2012, but there were a few new products for the show. Pioneer was showing three new Wi-Fi speakers with sound tuned by Andrew Jones who is Pioneer’s chief speaker engineer. The XW-SMA1-K supports built-in Wi-Fi as well as Apple AirPlay. The XW-SMA3-K offers a built-in lithium ion rechargeable battery for a portable solution. The XW-SMA4-K includes an integrated 4” subwoofer and supports 96 kHz/24-bit high resolution audio using a wired Ethernet connection. All of the speakers support HTC Connect which allows direct audio streaming from select HTC One series Android-based phones.
Pioneer was also showing HTC Connect technology on their Blu-ray players. In a future firmware update, Pioneer will be including the ability to stream audio and video from select HTC One series Android-based phones to Pioneer Blu-ray players. The upgrade will be free and available on select players later this fall.
Here is the custom theater on the truck.
Indy Audio Labs was showing the Aragon 8008 and Iridium amplifiers. The 8008 is a 200 watt dual mono-block amplifier while the Iridium is a 400 watt differential mono-block amplifier.
One of the interesting features on the Indy Audio Labs amplifiers is that they all include Ethernet-based control and status monitoring. Here’s a photo of the control functionality on an iPad. The application can be used to monitor the performance and temperature of each channel and can be used to diagnose a problem with the amplifier.
I stopped by the Harmon booth to see what was happening with the Lexicon MP-20 processor. While this may not be new news, the project was cancelled due to the complexities of video processing. I do hope the QuantumLogic Surround 3D technology that was included in the MP-20 makes its way into other products in the near future.
Sherbourn was showing off their new PT-7030 preamp/processor and their PA 7-350-7 seven channel amplifier. The Sherbourn products come with a ten year warranty which will definitely appeal to consumers and custom installers alike.
Velodyne was one of the vendors not showing on the exhibit floor this year. They had a suite at the JW Marriott which is near the convention center. The Velodyne logo is changing to be a more modern “V” as seen in the new end caps on the vPulse in-ear headphones.
This is a new subwoofer product that will be replacing the MiniVee and MicroVee products. As of now, the product does not have an official name and Velodyne was soliciting feedback from dealers at the show. Here’s the new DTR-70.4 receiver from Integra. The DTR-70.4 boasts 9.2 channels, 140 watts/channel of amplification, Audyssey MultEQ XT32 processing, and 8 HDMI inputs and 2 outputs. The receiver also offers MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link) and includes support for playback of Apple Lossless over the LAN. The DTR-70.4 supports 11.1 channel processing with DTS Neo:X by using an external amplifier for the extra channels.
Integra was also showing their new DMI-40.4 iPod/iPhone/iPad docking station. The dock includes support for AirPlay and network connectivity, and can be added to almost every Integra receiver ever made thanks to the RI (Remote Interactive) cable which provides a control interface between the receiver and the dock.
Integra had a very nice display showcasing the new MHL technology which is also utilized by the Roku Streaming Stick. Integra was also demonstrating InstaPrevue functionality which is now included on the Integra DTR receivers mentioned above. The InstaPrevue technology allows for a preview of multiple HDMI sources connected to the receiver. InstaPrevue is made possible by technology on the Silicon Image chipset in the receiver.
HydraConnect LLC was showcasing their new HSS-3 8x8 HDMI matrix processor. The processor makes us of HDBaseT transmitters and provides a Control4 dealer with a single solution for HDMI matrix switching, audio distribution and system control.
I stopped by GoldenEar Technology to listen to the final product version of the SuperCinema 3D Array. The SuperCinema 3D Array uses three high velocity folded-ribbon tweeters and six midrange drivers to create the sound of left, center, and right channel speakers all from one speaker. The demonstration of the SuperCinema 3D Array created an engaging soundstage with beautiful imaging and clarity. Pair the array with a GoldenEar ForceField subwoofer and a pair of SuperSat surround-speakers, and you can easily create an impressive home theater without the need for floor-standing speakers.
I stopped by Panamax to check out their latest power management solutions.
Panamax is offering a power management solution called BlueBOLT which provides remote power management using a secure, IP-based application that is hosted on the internet. The system allows custom installers, integrators, and end-users to securely monitor and control BlueBolt enabled equipment from anywhere in the world using a web browser. The technology also allows for the monitoring of energy consumption and trends over time.
Panamax was also showing their MD2-ZB power control solution which can be used to add power management and control to any power outlet in a home. The system makes use of a BB-ZB1 wireless gateway which provides a ZigBee wireless mesh network in the home.
RTI was showcasing the new T2i and T2x wireless controllers. The T2x is the latest generation of RTI’s T2 controller and features an edge-to-edge touchscreen, grip sensors, and an accelerometer which allows for control by hand movements.
Friday – 9/7/2012 – CEDIA 2012 Day 2
I started my day with a quick stop at the B&W suite at the beautiful Conrad hotel. The new B&W product being shown at CEDIA is the CI 800 Series which are in-wall speakers designed to perform like the 800 Series Diamond speakers. The CI 800 has some amazing engineering including midrange drivers made from Kevlar and carbon-reinforced cones like those found on the Diamond speakers. The midrange drivers are dyed blue instead of the traditional yellow in order to make the CI 800 installation more discrete. The speakers are installed with a dedicated back box which helps the speaker perform like a traditional floor-standing speaker.
After returning to the show floor at the convention center, I stopped in at the Yamaha booth. They were showing the new BD-A1020 Blu-ray player which is part of the AVENTAGE series. The player adds built-in Wi-Fi as well as support for Picasa photo sharing, YouTube, NetFlix and DIVX+HD.
Yamaha was showing two new sound bars which Yamaha calls Digital Sound Projectors. The sound projector at the top is the YSP-4300 which supports 7.1 channel HD audio, iDevice integration, auto calibration, and has 4K, 3D, and ARC compatible HDMI inputs. The sound projector on the bottom shelf is the YSP-3300. Both of the new products make use of one row of drivers which reduces the overall height. The sound projectors make use of extensive processing technology to recreate the sound of a multi-speaker environment using just the single sound projector and the included wireless subwoofer shown at the bottom of the picture.
An interesting feature of the Yamaha sound projectors is something called Target Mode. This feature allows the user to aim the sound coming from the sound projector to a specific location in the room. This feature is really handy if someone was trying to read, sleep or talk while other people in the room wanted to listen to television or music. The demo was pretty convincing and did a good job of localizing the sound. This was a very interesting feature.
DVDO was showing their Air Wireless HD product which uses a 60 GHz full rate uncompressed HDMI signal and can wirelessly transmit that signal up to 30 feet. The product is an excellent way to simplify projector and wall-mounted display installations.
DVDO was also showing their Quick6 product which provides instant visual switching for up to 6 HDMI sources with no handshake delay. The product offers the ability to watch true picture-in-picture with HDMI sources on your existing display.
Below the HH-1 is the Audio Electronics Nighthawk headphone amplifier. Cary Audio is re-launching the Audio Electronics brand which they originally introduced back in 1993. The cool thing about Audio Electronics is that it's made by Cary Audio here in the United States and Audio Electronics products can be purchased directly from an on-line store or through Cary Audio dealers. This is a fabulous way to introduce the consumer to higher-end products at more affordable price points.
Here is the Audio Electronics Hercules two-channel amplifier.
Marantz Consolette premium home speaker docking station. The Consolette is priced at $1199.99 and features a 75 watt/channel digital amplifier and a nine-band digital EQ for each driver. In addition to premium finishes and a retractable docking port, the Consolette has the ability to store up to six internet radio presets using its onboard processing. This means that the Consolette can access internet radio directly without the need for another device or computer.
The Denon home speaker dock is called the Cocoon. It comes in two models. The DSD300BK which is portable and offers 25 watts/channel of amplification. The DSD500BK is similar to its Marantz cousin but offers only 50 watts/channel and only three on-board internet radio presets.
Here is the Denon AVR-4520CI 9.2 channel receiver. The AVR-4520CI supports 11.2 Audyssey DSX and DTS NEO:X processing and can drive a full 11.2 channel system with the addition of a two channel external amplifier. The receiver also includes Audyssey MultEQ XT32 processing, 7 HDMI inputs, and three HDMI multi-zone outputs.
The rear panel of the AVR-4520CI offers a four-port 10/100 Ethernet switch which will come in handy when integrating lots of network-enabled devices. The rear panel also has a Denon Link HD connection which allows for clock synchronization with a Denon Link HD-enabled Blu-ray player. This technology allows the receiver to control the clock signal and is intended to eliminate jitter.
Here is the Denon DBT-3313UDCI universal disc player and the AVR-3313CI 7.2 channel receiver. Both products include support for Denon Link-HD. The AVR-3313CI only supports Audyssey MultiEQ XT processing and can also upscale to 4K (3840 x 2160) resolution.
Thursday – 9/6/2012 – CEDIA 2012 Day 1
The exhibit floor opened today and it was great to see the crowds on the now completed show floor.
Paradigm was showing their new 30th anniversary limited edition series speakers. The “Tribute” is the floor-standing version which offers 5 drivers in a 3-way design with a 1” pure beryllium dome tweeter and a carbon-anodized pure-aluminum midrange cone.
The “Inspiration” is the bookshelf/stand-mounted version which offers 2 drivers in a 2-way design with the same pure beryllium dome tweeter and a carbon-anodized pure-aluminum midrange cone. The speakers were simply gorgeous and the demonstration of the “Tribute” sounded fabulous.
Paradigm was also showing the Millenia CT which offers two Millenia CT speakers, a Millenia CT low-profile subwoofer and a small source control box. The source control interface is the same size as an Apple TV and pairing the two devices together offers a great media solution and an excellent alternative to a sound bar.
For those looking for reference quality, Paradigm was also offering the MilleniaOne CT which includes two MilleniaOne CT speakers, a MilleniaOne CT subwoofer and the same source control box as the Millenia CT.
For those looking for a sound bar solution, Paradigm offers the Soundtrack system which offers a soundbar with two pure-aluminum dome tweeters, two bass/midrange drivers, and two passive radiators. The Soundtrack system also includes a wireless subwoofer.
On the personal audio side of things, Paradigm was showing a few new products in the Paradigm SHIFT series. The e2i and e3i in-ear headphones are designed to be compatible with the audio controls included on the iDevices from Apple and offer play, pause and track control from the in-line control on the headphone cable. The e2i are tuned to the Paradigm Reference Studio speakers while the e3i are tuned to the Reference Signature speakers.
Paradigm was also showing the Aera wireless AirPlay speaker system. This product supports a direct AirPlay connection between your favorite Apple device without the need for a wireless network. Simply connect the Apple device to the Aera and after a simple one button confirmation, music can be played directly from an iPod, iPad, iPhone or computer using iTunes. The Aera includes a 30-pin dock, and a Class-D amplifier providing 2x30 watts of power.
After a long day on the show floor, we enjoyed a wonderful dinner at the Libertine restaurant. This was the only restaurant that I've ever been at that offered a flight of bacon as an appetizer. It was no surprise that everyone enjoyed sharing this appetizer.
Towards the end of a delightful meal, we happened to find two mysterious bags containing prototype units of the BDP-103 and BDP-105 Blu-ray players from Oppo Digital. Not being ones to shy away from a little audio/video geek-by-candlelight, we delighted in examining these players. We didn't have our cameras with us, but we made the best of the lighting and the cameras on our phones to bring these pictures to you.
Both the BDP-103 and BDP-105 offer an updated Qdeo processor and a front-mounted HDMI input with support for MHL which stands for Mobile High-Definition Link. The BDP-103 is on the bottom in this photo.
MHL allows for the direct connection of mobile and portable devices. MHL is the standard used by the Roku Streaming Stick product which allows for full streaming content in a form factor similar to a USB stick. Both players will support 4K x 2K output and of course support 3D. You will also notice that the buttons on the front panel have been redesigned. The button to eject the tray is now backlit! It wasn't surprising that a Roku Streaming Stick happened to appear at our table.
The BDP-105 is on the top in the next photo. The appearance of the BDP-105 is very similar to the BDP-95 with a few noticeable changes. The eject tray button is now backlit. The USB port is moved and is joined by the MHL/HDMI port. The connection on the right hand side of the player is indeed an input for a headphone because the BDP-105 now includes a headphone amplifier!
The back of the BDP-105 includes a few more surprises. The player includes coax, optical, and USB digital inputs allowing you to use the BDP-105 as a DAC. The USB DAC is synchronized by the clock circuits in the player and supports 24/192.
The balanced inputs on the back of the BDP-105 are now right-side up. This reflects a redesign of the audio board and a new power-supply with is made directly by Oppo Digital. The redesign also eliminates the need for a fan in the BDP-105.
You will also notice two USB inputs and a single output labeled “Diag.” This output offers access to the basic setup menus in case you accidentally happen to configure the player in such a way that the menus are not viewable via the HDMI interface.
We had one last surprise for the evening. The Oppo remote has some changes as well. The remote now includes dedicated buttons for Netflix and Vudu.
These machines are still prototypes and Oppo is still working on the firmware. Many more details will be coming in the future and we will be providing you reviews of both players in the future. Release dates are not established yet, so please be patient as Oppo Digital brings these two beauties to market.
I am including some more photos for your enjoyment. That's it for today. Much more to come.
Wednesday – 9/5/2012 – CEDIA 2012 Press Day
I arrived in Indianapolis today for CEDIA 2012. The exhibit floor opens on Thursday and today was focused on press announcements. In addition to more formal press conferences, this year's CEDIA had a special media preview session which was attended by a number of this week's exhibitors.
One of the interesting products that I saw at this session was from Celerity Technologies. They were showing a detachable fiber optic HDMI cable solution transmitting an HDMI signal over 500 feet of optical cable. The solution makes use of very small optical transmitters and might be really handy for the custom installer market.
On the way to the pavilion, I also got a chance to see the show floor. It was still under construction and had a very long way to go before Thursday morning at 9:00 AM when the exhibit floor officially opens.
The flat panel display in the office showed multiple video sources that could be easily controlled via a touch screen interface. The computer and display recognized the office occupant and video conferencing was seamless via the interface.
The future kitchen had touch panels on the back-splash that allowed for selection of style and decorative patterns as well as interactive features for making menu selections and preparation instructions.
The future home theater used three 10 foot screens for a combined resolution of 5760 x 1080. The screens were arranged at a 47 degree angle from the center. The room audio was tuned with Trinnov room correction using equipment from ada. One of the interesting clips was a pharmacy laboratory recreation which was done by the Envision Center for Data Perceptualization at Purdue University. The virtual pharmacy is used to teach pharmacy students in a safe and cost effective environment. The demonstration allowed viewers to experience walking into the virtual room. Students in the pharmacy program at Purdue are able to interact with equipment in the virtual lab using control devices similar to game controllers. If you happen to be a Star Trek fan, the best description I can offer is that this is the first step toward a holodeck.