It's that time of the year again: CEDIA. And it seems like this year's trade event for the custom integration business, which kicked off today in San Diego, concentrates on the AV presentation more than ever. 4K technology is being perfected, and several 8K prototypes are being introduced. The following are five announcements from CEDIA that particularly caught my attention, and would be worth checking out on the show floor, or following up on later.
Pioneer UDP-LX500 Universal Disc Player
Pioneer debuted a new universal disc player at CEDIA under its Elite brand called the UDP-LX500. The MSRP $1,300 player is capable of playing any 5" disc thrown at it, with control capability using two-way RS-232 and IP, which allows for enhanced driver options via major control system partners like Control4 and Crestron. The player includes two separate HDMI inputs, one of which is dedicated for audio-only.
The player employs PQLS (Precision Quartz Locking System) which, when connected via a compatible Pioneer receiver, will yield to near-zero timing jitter (as tested by yours truly) and Zero Signal Terminal that can be connected to any receiver's unused RCA terminal to create a common ground level (GND) of audio/video signals between the two devices. Any potential differences are suppressed, allowing owners to enjoy audio and video with an even further improved S/N ratio and performance. Add a 3mm thin chassis, Marvell video upscaling chip, and an ESS Sabre DAC, and this player may just be another legendary one from Pioneer as the LD-S1 Reference LaserDisc and BDP-09 Reference Blu-ray players were.
JVC True 4K Projectors
JVC introduced its first true 4K LCOS projectors, which come in three flavours - the NX5, NX7, and NX9, for US$6K, $8K, and $18K, respectively. These projectors will be able to do 80,000:1 native contrast ratio and produce beyond the P3 colour space: no consumer projector is capable of doing the full P3 colour space as of this writing. Further, these projectors have Auto Tone Mapping in order to dynamically adjust their gamma settings for optimum HDR10 presentations. So there will be no more crushed blacks or washed out whites.
If that's not enough, JVC utilizes a 17-elements 15-group all-glass 65mm diameter lens so the clarity of every point of the image projected will be as close to perfection as possible. Still not enough? The N9 projector will also upscale and do eShift 8K, making it the first and most affordable 8K projector on the market as of this writing.
Stewart Director's Choice Masking System
Having a great source and projector aside, movies come in various aspect ratios, from the regular 1.85:1 to 2.35:1, and anywhere in between (Netflix's favourite is 2:1, Disney 1.78:1, classics 4:3, and IMAX 1:1). With Stewart's Director's Choice Masking System, all of the favourites can easily be programmed by the user (or installer) so no more grey bars are shown when you're watching a movie outside your screen ratio.
Unlike "ye olde" 4-way masking systems, available worldwide by various manufacturers, Stewart's system is about 75% thinner in bezel size, which also means it's a lot easier to install, and has a quieter motor. But most importantly, it looks a lot more elegant, especially when coupled with smaller sized screens (I'm talking about 140" or smaller). Pricing depends on the screen material and screen size, of course.
American-based (and manufactured) Emotiva announced that it's releasing the long-awaited RMC-1 processor in November 2018, at the price of US$5,000. The RMC-1 features a full 16 channels of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X surround sound (9.1.6 channels), with a decoded audio signal for each channel that is processed by a separate high performance AKM Verita 32-bit DAC, operated in precision Differential Reference balanced mono mode. Support is provided for native audio decoding of single and double-rate DSD digital audio signals, accepted from either HDMI or USB sources.
The RMC-1 includes Reference Stereo mode to create a two-channel listening experience. Dirac Live automatic room correction, running on all 16 channels at a full 96 kHz sample rate, establishes the perfect synergy between the RMC-1, the listening room, and the rest of the system. For those who prefer a more interactive user experience, the RMC-1 includes 11-band parametric EQ on every channel, in addition to compatibility with the popular Room EQ Wizard room correction and analysis software.
Torus Power POWERBLOCK Series
I've been writing about and using Torus Power for quite a number of years. I personally use the TOT AVR for my bedroom and the RM15 Plus for my home theatre. How about for smaller systems? Torus has the answer. The POWERBLOCK (PB) Series is the company's new midrange line of isolation transformers that delivers clean, uninterrupted power to smaller AV systems or single components.
Compact and affordable, the PB series provides unparalleled performance at a competitive price point. Two models are available: The PowerBlock 10 with eight total outlets in two banks and the compact PowerBlock 5 offers four total outlets for applications where it's only necessary to protect a few components, such as a source, active speakers, monitor, or projector.