Home Theater

CEDIA Expo 2015: Editor’s Product Picks from the Show Floor

CE Pro senior editor Bob Archer shares his roundup of attention-grabbing products shaping the market during CEDIA Expo 2015.


These products earned high reviews from CE Pro senior editor Bob Archer during CEDIA.

Photos & Slideshow

Robert Archer · October 21, 2015

It’s open to debate, of course, but with that said the 2015 CEDIA Expo was probably the most energetic, most exciting CEDIA event since 2007.

4K, Dolby Atmos and a renewed interest in audio helped to produce some spectacular systems and product demonstrations. There were plenty of companies that stood out over the week.

Perhaps the most impressive company on the entire show floor was Barco. In its demo room, which also featured Auro sound, the company demonstrated its 6P laser projector. It showed everyone just how convincing 1080p and non-HDR 4K content could look through a calibrated, high-performance projector. Barco’s 6P laser projector produced an impressive dynamic range, inky, rich colors and deep blacks. When combined with the Auro sound and the “Star Wars” trailer it was running, it’s not hard to imagine that George Lucas himself would walk away in awe.

Digital Projection showed its Insight Dual LED projector, which produces 3,000 lumens and an eye popping Rec. 2020 color space. The images this projector produced were as vivid and punchy as any video demo ever produced at a CEDIA event.

Dish Network has set out to win over the loyalty of installers. With the combination of its new dealer-friendly programs and brand new Joey 4K box, the company is well on its way to giving dealers an alternative to cable or streaming media.

One last video company that’s innovating is Screen Innovations (SI). Its Intellimask adjustable aspect ratio screen solution will likely have the same impact on the screen market as its Zero Edge product. The Intellimask took SI seven years to develop, and it offers users a maskless aspect ratio system in a choice of screen materials.

The audio guys were also innovating and not surprisingly Sonos is one of them. The company’s new Play:5 powered speaker sounds good with its new drivers, amps and crossover network. Sonos’ real news maker is its TruePlay EQ system that takes less than a minute to fine tune the response of Sonos products in any home environment.

Nobody brings more passion to the custom install channel than Jeremy Burkhardt. Focusing on its “more bass, less space” mantra, Burkhardt’s company Origin Acoustics introduced several new subwoofer products, including a 10-inch retrofit model that when combined with Origin’s companion amplifier, provides dealers a tool to enhance new or existing whole-house audio or home theater installs.

Another long time, dealer-oriented audio manufacturer is AudioControl. Its new line of matrix audio amplifiers incorporates IP remote management capabilities, a wealth of input and a host of other functions that will help dealers to deliver state-of-the-art wired whole-house audio installations and great support mechanisms.

MSE Audio is a quiet brand, but after polling its dealers and reps the company has come out with a new line of in-wall speakers that are reasonably priced and include the features dealers asked for.

One last audio company that was relatively quiet, but targeted in its product plans was Monitor Audio. Monitor’s new 460x and 260x in-wall loudspeakers are sealed box designs, and they include proprietary technologies. The 460x features the company’s C-CAM ribbon tweeter, Rigid Surface drivers and a cast-aluminum front baffle.

 

What else was happening at the show …

Stealing an idea from the new wave band The Nails and the band’s only hit, “88 Lines About 44 Women,” here are a thought or two on more than 30 companies that were exhibiting at the 2015 CEDIA Expo:

Sony: No single product created more buzz on the CEDIA show floor than Sony’s new laser 4K projector with HDR capabilities. The laser projector demo system line was jam packed from the opening to the closing of the show.

Origin Acoustics: In addition to its new subwoofers, Burkhardt also pointed to the growth of outdoor audio and Origin’s solutions to fill this market trend.

Dream Vision: While many video companies showed large, laser-based 4K products, the French company debuted its Dreamy Geek II. This compact LED-based unit carries an MSRP of $1,795 and delivers 1920 x 1080 video.

Russound: The company’s competitively priced TVA2.1 is a 30-watt per channel small amplifier that includes a S/PDIF input that’s capable of handling 24-bit/96kHz content, and a subwoofer out option.

Torus Power: Diversifying its product line, Torus announced its TOT AVR series, which brings its toroidal and voltage regulation technologies down to lower price levels.

RoseWater: This company is providing a new concept for dealers to offer homeowners that want clean, efficient energy, and the ability to manage power outages.

Sonos: Sonos acknowledges the advancements its competitors have made and states the growing competition between brands is driving its product development team.

The Sound Organisation: The Dallas-based company showed Arcam’s new line of receivers. These receivers offer proprietary amplification technologies, Dolby Atmos and Dirac Live. In addition to Arcam, Sound Org also demonstrated a new line of DALI powered loudspeakers for multimedia applications.

MSE Audio: One of the most dealer friendly audio products on the show floor was Phase Tech's P3-35 compact 3.1 amplification solution that is designed for soundbars and whole-house audio applications.

Bryston: Bryston is redefining value and performance with its digital audio products. The new BDA-3 DAC reaffirms the company’s engineering and marketing goals with a flagship DAC that offers USB, HDMI and other options.

Autonomic: Adding control flexibility to its product line, Autonomic introduced its KP-6 keypad.

James Loudspeaker: In a booth filled with loudspeakers, it could be said no two loudspeakers looked the same. James emphasized its custom capabilities.

Meridian: The iconic British company is now offering system design support to dealers. Dealers can consult with Meridian or go as far as sending floor plans and other documentation. Meridian will help dealers engineer the best solutions for their clients.

Elite Screens: Showing the picture capabilities of its ISF-certified Polarstar eFinity the company showed how well the screen maintained contrast in an ambient light environment.

Screen Innovations (SI): The video category’s dynamic duo, Ryan Gustafson and Blake Vackar, must have a direct line IV from Starbucks to SI’s offices for the amount of energy they pour into R&D. Creative as always, Gustafson and Vackar introduced the Intellimask Screen to provide dealers a maskless screen masking system if that makes sense.

Stewart Filmscreen: Edgeless screens are creating new opportunities for dealers, and Stewart's edgeless LuminEsse is available with several of Stewart’s materials, including its 4K-ready FireHawk G4 and StudioTek 130 products.

MartinLogan: One of the most versatile products to hit the show floor this year, MartinLogan’s VisionX soundbar features DTS’ Play-Fi wireless whole-house audio format, and optical, coax and analog inputs.

Anthem A/V: Updating its line of receivers, Anthem introduced three new products with state-of-the-art features such as Dolby Atmos processing and the wireless Play-Fi whole-house audio format.

Paradigm: Paradigm introduced a line of Play-Fi enabled powered speakers, but maybe the company’s biggest news was its showing of its Concept 4F high-performance loudspeaker that provides dealers a flagship performance loudspeaker for reasonable money.

Klipsch: Klipsch had a lot of fun products in its booth, but maybe the most unique product in its booth was its R-15PM active monitors. What makes these active speakers unique is their phono stage input that augments its line-in and remote options.

KEF: Few companies can match the industrial designs KEF brings to market. Combining KEF’s great looking designs and Uni-Q driver array is its limited edition LS50 active speakers. KEF is offering these products in a choice of black with blue drivers, gray, and red with black drivers.

NEAR: For $2,599, the Maine company’s latest package includes four LB4TM speakers with steaks and one IGS10M in-ground subwoofer.

Crestron: Crestron’s new Home Element solution scales to screen size and provides dealers a concise interface option that delivers the options homeowners want with no fluff.


  About the Author

Bob is an audio enthusiast who has written about consumer electronics for various publications within Massachusetts before joining the staff of CE Pro in 2000. Bob is THX Level I certified, and he's also taken classes from the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) and Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA). Bob also serves as the technology editor for CE Pro's sister publication Commercial Integrator. In addition, he's studied guitar and music theory at Sarrin Music Studios in Wakefield, Mass., and he also studies Kyokushin karate at 5 Dragons in Haverhill, Mass. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Robert at robert.archer@emeraldexpo.com

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  Article Topics


Home Theater · Audio/Video · News · Media · Slideshow · AudioControl · Barco · Digital Projection · Dish · MSE Audio · Origin Acoustics · All Topics
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