CEDIA Expo home theater roundup (pictures)

The Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association's yearly Expo took place last week in Denver. OLED TVs, Dolby Atmos, and laser projectors screamed for attention among the usual mix of in-wall speakers, motorized mounts, and home automation. Here are some highlights.


Geoffrey Morrison

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Welcome to CEDIA

The 2014 CEDIA Expo took place last week in Denver. On the home theater front we got to see some new OLED TVs, laser projectors, a bunch of Dolby Atmos demos, and plenty of home automation doo-dads.

Greeting visitors to the Colorado Convention Center is this big blue bear. Turns out it's called "I See What You Mean" by Lawrence Argent.

It should have been titled "Have fun breathing up here, lowlanders."

CEDIA Expo home theater roundup: OLED, Lasers, Atmos, and more

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This was the show floor less than a day before the doors officially opened. The speed at which these men and women assemble the various booths is impressive.

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Aziz, Light

I was hoping the lighting would get better during the show, but nope. I'm all for keeping energy consumption down, but when it gives everything at the show a dingy pallor, it might be worth it to kick the brightness up a tad.

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Press preview

CEDIA puts on a press-preview the day before the show, and a number of companies set up tables. For me it's mostly just a way to make a note for what to see later.

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Mass Fidelity

One of the cooler products I saw at the preview (and forgot to get a picture of, this is one of theirs), was the Mass Fidelity Core. It creates a convincing stereo effect from a single tiny box. A little pricey, but cool. Ty did a preview last week.

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Instead of its usual press conference, Sony did the show keynote, using it to hype its wares and show off a few products and ideas. The big news was their intention to unlock the X10 4K media player to work with other company's TVs.

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The first day, as usual, is pretty packed. The booths aren't quite the specticle that we see at CES, but they're still pretty big.

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LG ultrawide

A 105-inch, 21x9, LED LCD from LG. A cool looking product, for a mere $100k.

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98 inches

Around the corner from LG's 105-inch was this 98-inch, a comparative bargain for $40K. Far more interesting were their new OLEDs.

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KEF does Atmos

Dolby Atmos was the biggest thing at the show, with many companies offering Atmos-friendly in-ceiling speakers, upward-firing speakers, or like KEF, both. The R50, which sits on top of a normal tower speaker, is $1,199 a pair. The in-ceiling speakers range from $300 to $800.

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The cool design of the tweeter in Paradigm's new Prestige Series.

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4X for 4K

Sony also showed off a neat trick with its 4K projector: showing 4 1080p feeds simultaneously.

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Control 4 Sony

Control 4, one of the big home automation companies, was showing off one of Sony's new "home automation friendly" TVs with Control 4's Simple Device Discovery Protocol (SDDP), which makes integration easier.

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B&O was showing off its sound system in the gorgeous Aston Martin Rapide. It's smaller in person than I expected. I reviewed a DB9 a few years back, and that seemed bigger (it's not).

The 5.9L V12 is one of the best-sounding engines ever. Music. The racing version sounds even more incredible.

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Pop-up tweeters

Note the saucer-shape tweeters rising from the top of the dash.

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Harman is huge in the car audio world, and was showing off this lovely red Fiat.

It had a bunch of iconic home audio brands on display/demo as well, like JBL and Mark Levinson. The LG ultra-big LCDs have Harman/Kardon audio.

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More lasers

Epson and Sony weren't the only ones with laser projectors. Several companies, including Christie, had models, too. The DHD555-GS, shown here, costs around $18K.

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Now that's how you do a curved screen. There were a few golf simulators. This one is from AboutGolf.

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Mirror, mirror

This is not a mirror.

OK, not just a mirror...

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Screen reflections

What looks like a normal mirror is actually a TV. Electric Mirror does a great job hiding TVs in mirrors of all shapes and sizes. Certainly a "wow" factor for unsuspecting guests.

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The new product from DVDO is actually the tiny little box on top of the TV. The Air3C is $190, and offers 1080p/60 wireless streaming. It's 60 Ghz, though, so it's basically line of sight (no cabinets, and you may lose signal if you walk in front of it).

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HDMI 2.0

DVDO did a great presentation at the show about HDMI 2.0, and what it means for 4K now and in the future. Here you can see how much more data 4K uses, in its various forms.

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DVDO posited that Blu-ray, upconverted well to 4K, can look better than streaming 4K.

Given all the potential issues and artifacts with 4K streaming, this certainly seems possible. I've seen some pretty fantastic upconverted 1080p as well.

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Hidden PJs

Display Development does a great job hiding projectors so you can't see them. Here, a mirror folds down at the click of a button. The painting below slides down to reveal another projector (also hidden in the faux wall).

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Definitive Technology also had an upward-firing "elevation module" called the A60. It mounts on top of its BP-8060ST tower speaker.

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Golden Ear's Atmos demo, one of the best at the show, used two Triton One towers up front, two Triton Two towers in the back, a SuperCenter XL, and four in-ceiling Invisa HTR 7000s in a 5.4.4 setup.

The Atmos effect was excellent, with the sound seamlessly moving up and around the room.

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B&O do 4K

At its booth B&O showed off its motorized, 85-inch 4K BeoVision Avant.

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Glass Speakers

French company Waterfall makes glass speakers. No new products this year, but, you know, glass speakers. I reviewed a pair a few years ago and they were easily the coolest looking objects in my house.

That is, in fairness, not saying much.

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So long, Denver

Denver's good food and good beer are largely offset by the almost total lack of oxygen.

Next year the show moves to Dallas, because... Well I can't think of a reason. BBQ?

CEDIA Expo home theater roundup: OLED, Lasers, Atmos, and more

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