Home Toys Article
- October 2006 -
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CEDIA 2006 Recap - Part
Media servers were everywhere at Cedia. Two questions arise, "What is a media server?," and "Do you need one?" There are two types of media servers. One stores and retrieves movies and other video material, and the second type stores and retrieves music. There are also some servers that do both.
Basically, a media server is a computer with a very large capacity hard drive. Most have LCD screens that are controlled by a remote or by touch. You store your collection of movies and music on the hard drive. Then, using the LCD screen, you can select any movie by title, actor, director or genre. You can select your music by artist, title, producer, type or mood. You then make a playlist and enjoy.
If you have a large collection of DVDs and/or CDs and you can never find exactly what you want, maybe its time to buy a media server. The capacity of a server depends on its memory. Some servers have a capacity of 4 gigabytes and can handle several hundred movies and thousands of CDs.
Now let's finish our trip through the maze of Cedia booths.
iMuse has redefined the audio and video media server world with their Sierra, Ascent and Avalanche Series servers. The Sierra Media Player is the graphical powerhouse of the series, designed with ease-of-use style. The proprietary scaling technology scales 480i to 1080p resolution, ensuring compatibility with the monitors and TVs of today and the technologies of the future. The Ascent Media server can store up to 175 DVDs. The Sierra can stream stored video, audio and Internet radio to any zone throughout the connected system. Add the Avalanche for a safe, secure environment for your data.
You might just think it is a "Mirage®." The UNI-theater incorporates the left, right and center speakers in one ingeniously designed, enclosure, divided into three independent chambers. Each chamber houses an active 3" woofer, two passive 3" polypropylene titanium deposit hybrid radiators and a ¾" pure titanium hybrid tweeter. Mirage's patented Omnipolar™ technology enables the UNI-theater to radiate sound in a 360-degree spherical pattern. This results in a sound that is fully3-dimensional, pure and natural. All of this comes in a 36" horizontal cabinet.
As many as 10 million of the 100 million Americans, who own pets, are allergic to their dogs and cats. Yet, 80% of the pet owners keep their pets indoors, triggering a variety of allergic reactions. A good central vacuum system is the best way to eliminate that problem. 60% of the allergic symptoms improved when the Beam Central Vacuum was used, instead of a portable vacuum to clean the house. Each of the Premier tools has a light to illuminate the surfaces to be cleaned. Exclusive to the Beam Central Vacuum Systems is the self-cleaning CleanStream™ Filtration System that carries a lifetime warranty. This best selling brand is also one of the quietest systems on the market.
Beam Industries www.beam.com
Looking for awesome high-definition digital image processing? The Vantage-HD from Calibre is a state-of-the-art ultra-high speed real-time image processing system capable of performing at speeds in excess of 1 Tera-flop, which is more power than many super computers. The Vantage-HD features a wide range of multiple audio and video inputs and outputs so no additional switcher is needed.
Calibre UK Limited www.calibreuk.com
Visual Sports Systems
The Escient Fireball MX Series media manager provides access to your entire DVD and music collection all from one easy to use on-screen user interface. The MX series works in conjunction with high capacity DVD changers to provide both convenience and time saving features, through the intuitive on-screen interface. It will even allow you to listen to hundreds of free Internet radio stations. The Fireball is definitely the One with More.
How would you like to have a projector that will display a native contrast ratio of 10,000:1? At the heart of JVC's new technology are three 0.7" 1920 x 1080 pixel HD D-ILA (LCOS) devices that deliver a native resolution of two megapixels for smooth, film-like images. Look for this projector in early 2007 for under $7,000.00.
JVC Company of America www.jvc.com
LG Electronics showcased its newest 60" plasma HDTV, along with its wide array of high-definition LCD televisions. Most noticeable was the industry's first LCD with a built-in high-definition digital video recorder. This combines HDTV with a powerful 160-gigabyte HD-DVR, capable of storing up to 13 hours of digital HD programming or 63 hours of SD programming. When you have an LG HDTV with HD-DVR, life's good.
LG Electronics USA, Inc. www.lgusa.com
For the videophile in all of us, InFocus displayed the Ply Bid IN78EX projector. Enhanced by Pixelworks DNX video-processing technology. The IN78EX is a technical wonder. Set-up is a snap with a simple keypad or remote. The menu is icon based and does not interrupt the show. The 720p DarkChip3 DLP provides breath-taking depth and picture sharpness. With 1000-lumens and a 3500:1 contrast ratio, you'll get brilliant, dramatic brightness.
Remember CinemaScope in the movies? Stewart Filmscreen is introducing it to home theater. With a 2.35:1 ratio, the CinemaScope screens immerse viewers in the cinematic experience of yesteryear. Stewart has several versions, the CineCurve, which is a constant vertical height screen that won the CEDIA Manufacturer's Excellence Product of the Year Award, the Cine-V with vertical masking panels, the Cine-W, which is a curved fixed screen with no masking panels, and the ElectraScope, an electric screen that descends from the ceiling, that masks from the screen's native 2.35:1 to 1.78:1.
Stewart Filmscreen Corporation www.stewartfilmscreen.com
You have a full house with Cinema Suite by ADA. The Cinema Suite is a fully loaded 7.1 home theater controller/preamplifier with an additional eight independent stereo zones. The front panel features a color TFT touch screen, which controls both the theater and multi-room system. This is a true all-in-one surround sound controller that can also run the house.
Audio Design Associates www.ada-usa.com
Mondo USA www.mondo-usa.com
The Monster AVL 300 home theater and lighting controller does more than any other remote. You can control multiple rooms of audio and video equipment and wireless IlluminEssence light station switches/dimmers throughout your entire house. It works through walls, floors and doors. It replaces all of your other remotes and there are no complex programming or codes to enter.
Are you wasting water, irrigating your lawn? Accuwater™ is a network based irrigation controller and weather station. Using attached weather instruments, each controller collects and sends weather data to the data center. Using sophisticated methods that take plant type, soil, weather conditions and the design of your irrigation system, the AccuWater data center determines just the right amount of water to maintain healthy plants. If an unexpected rain shower, low temperature, or high wind occurs, the controller will postpone irrigation until conditions improve. AccuWater is designed to integrate over IP with WeatherHawk weather stations and any IP-capable home automation system. This provides truly local weather data and allows manual control (including "party mode") of irrigation from the touch panels around the house.
AccuWater Inc. www.accuwater.com
Never come home to a dark house again. The LiteJet™ from CentraLite uses the astronomical clock to calculate sunset so that the lights come on automatically. Use pathway lighting at night to prevent falling over objects or down stairs as the system provides safe passage from one part of the home to another. Integrated with your home security or smoke detection system, LitJet can illuminate a pathway out of the house. Flashing lights alert the neighbors and approaching authority. If ever there was a case for automated lighting control, you family's safety is it.
Terra AC Series All Climate loudspeakers use innovative technologies to deliver the sound quality that you expect of fine indoor speakers . . . outdoors. Terra speakers can withstand anything the weather can dish out and sound great doing it. Since both channels emanate from a single enclosure, placement and sound coverage is not a worry. With Terra's lifetime warranty, you'll enjoy every outdoor moment for years to come.
Terra Speakers www.terraspeakers.com
Store up to 335 DVD's or 3,900 CDs with Kaleidescape's 1U server. The system stores up to 25 simultaneous video or audio zones per server. The system automatically notifies Kaleidescape of problems so that your dealer can be alerted. The 1U automatically receives and installs updates from Kaleidescape via the Internet. Multiple servers can be clustered to provide even more storage. If a disk fails, no movies or albums are lost and the failed disk can be replaced without the need to power down the server. I love the sleek design.
Kaleidescape, Inc. www.kaleidescape.com
Philips combined the finest in flat-panel picture quality with Ambilight technology to create its new HD flat 42" TV. This is the first Philips model to cast its immersive glow from all four sides of the screen. This technology offers stress-relief for the eyes. A well-balanced amount of light behind the TV leads to a more relaxed viewing. Philips utilizes Lambda's sound system, along with Philip's ClearLCD to provide a complete viewing experience.
Philips Consumer Electronics www.philips.com
Do you place your HDTV against the wall because the back is so ugly? Hannspree has designed its flat-panel TVs from 26" to 37" with a rich mahogany wood finish, which covers the rear of the TV. Now your TV can look good from every angle. You can place your TV anywhere without needing to hide the back. The Hannspree televisions come with assorted bases, detachable speakers, and they incorporate HDMI technology. They look good from any angle.
Hannspree California Inc. www.hannspree-usa.com
Imagine your home working for you so that you can live and enjoy the comfort and convenience that home control offers. Imagine knowing that the lights came on automatically when the kids came home. Imagine scanning traffic cams for commuter routes, before you leave home. Imagine one button that hibernates the home, arms critical systems and alerts you in case of trouble. Imagine that all of this is easy to install. You can stop imagining. It's here today.
Convergent Living www.convergentliving.com
Enjoy your music and forget the technology. qsonix enables you to regain control of your music by organizing your entire CD collection in one easily accessible secure hard disk based system. You can access and listen to any song, artist, album, mood or personalized playlist instantly and without hassle. How about loading your portable music player or burning your own favorite CD compilation with a touch of a button? Simply insert your CD and qsonix will do the rest. Simply drag, drop and play.
Qsonix , Inc. www.qsonix.com
Runco has the first 1080p HD video display products to achieve THX certification. These are the new VX-22d, VX-44d and VX-55d three-chip 1080p projectors. For the ultimate in viewing flexibility and enjoyment, each model is available with Runco's exclusive award- winning CineWide™ and CineWide with AutoScope™ technology. This ground-breaking option can transform a superb home theater system into a true home cinema experience, reproducing 2.35:1 CinemaScope™ movies with unparalleled accuracy and full vertical screen image height, eliminating useless black bars. Featuring a native resolution of1920 x 1080 and utilizing advanced three 16:9 SuperOnyx™ DMDs™ combined with Runco's award-winning Vivix II™ video processing, the resulting images are breathtaking.
Runco International www.runco.com
Optoma announced the first 720p projector under $1,000.00. The HD70 features a DarkChip2™ DLP® DMD chipset from Texas Instruments and a 4000:1 contrast ratio with Optoma's proprietary ImageAI™ technology, which allows the HD70 to deliver incredible color saturation and subtle details for amazing image quality. At 1000 lumens and a native 16:9 aspect ratio, the HD70 also offers whisper-quiet 28dB operation.
Phase Technology displayed the SPF-55 and SPF-85 for in-ground, outdoor applications. These speakers deliver advanced sound quality, smooth off-axis performance and maximum intelligibility. For quick and permanent installation, the line includes theft-control hardware, easy-access hardwire leads and stainless-steel fasteners. A proprietary lens reflector delivers 360ş of consistent dispersion allowing larger spacing between speakers (up to 25 feet apart).
Phase Technology Corp. www.phasetech.com
American Recorder announced the pMix Personal Audio Mixer™ for use with residential audio systems and for use with the Apple iPod™, satellite radio other personal audio devices. With the optional instrument adapter, users can play the guitar and sing along as they play their favorite music through the pMix. They can even connect up to three individual sources, each with a separate level control along with a master volume control.
American Recorder Tech www.americanrecorder.com
The DVDO iScan VP20 video processor utilizes an array of processing technologies from Anchor Bay's recently launched Video Reference Series. VRS Precision Video Scaling II™ technology incorporates 10-bit scaling, enhanced sharpness controls and non-linear scaling. Since the scaling engine is completely flexible, other image manipulation features are supported including complete pan and zoom capability to position and/or stretch an image on the screen, overscan, underscan, and border controls to eliminate "black-bars" by filling the entire screen.
Anchor bay technologies Inc. www.dvdo.com
The new Solara Cinema line of luxury home theater seating is revolutionizing the concept of providing high dollar furniture for your media room at a price attractive to the practical consumer. These well-made chairs are surfaced with your choice of Top Grain or Italian Leather with matching leatherette upholstery on the sides and back in a variety of colors. In the past, such furniture had to be custom made. This meant long waiting times as the chairs were built at a high cost. SolaraHome is committed to providing on-hand inventory at a reasonable price.
The world of home entertainment is moving rapidly from analog to digital. Soon there will be thousands of different HD components available from TVs to DVD players. The frightening question is how do you know the component you are buying will connect to what you already have? The answer is to buy Simplay HD tested products. To use the Simplay HD logo, a manufacturer must submit its products to a testing center and be tested for connectivity. The testing assures that the design is compatible with HDMI and HDCP standards.
HDMI is now the world standard for connecting HD. It delivers pure digital audio and video content through a single cable. HD movies and other entertainment content will be secured by High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP). HDCP safeguards digital content through HDMI connections. The Simplay HD symbol eliminates the guesswork from compatibility. To learn more go to www.simplayhd.com.
Well, the four-day show is now over and the manufacturers have given us many choices. All though I have highlighted some of the products, there were entirely too many to discuss without writing a book. Before you buy, educate yourself as to what equipment will best serve you for the years to come. Talk to your local systems integrator and discuss your needs with a trained professional.