Next year, all analog TV transmissions will cease and the much acclaimed high-definition will be the standard. Does that mean you should run out and replace all of your entertainment equipment with HD? I haven’t. The price of HD televisions and projectors are declining quickly this fall, and I expect even more reductions next year.
Because of the compression used to tighten bandwidth, you can expect to see more artifacts in a broadcast image. This means you will need to buy a video processor dedicated to specifically reduce image noise and compression artifacts.
In addition, we are seeing a war between Blu-ray and HD DVD, reminiscent of the VHS and Beta format of years gone by. Blu-ray is initially ahead in the polls, but will it keep that position. Retailers are not going to want to maintain copies of movies in both formats. Unless you must have HD movies now, you might want to watch this contest closely. By the way, check your TV or projector for a HDMI connection. These players only use HDMI.
Well, back to the yellow brick road. Maybe the wizard will set us straight.
Mitsubishi launched its HD1000U, a 1500-lumen 720p DLP projector, which doesn’t require a completely darkened room. It has a seven-segment color wheel, which provides rich and vivid colors. It is ultra-quiet at 25 dB.
Mitsubishi Electric www.mitsubishi-presentations.com
Your flat panel TV has finally met its match. Using the latest state-of-the-art materials and the most advanced acoustic technologies, Leon Speakers creates innovative sound solutions that perfectly complement your TV. Their Profile Series speakers are handcrafted and custom-tailored to match the exact dimensions and finish of every flat-panel TV.
Leon Speakers, Inc. www.leonspeakers.com
What happens when you have bugs? You get the bug spray, unless they are visible in your video image. Then, you turn to the bug exterminator, Algolith. The mosquito by Algolith cleans up and sharpens compressed images from satellite TV, digital cable, DVDs and digital recordings made by video cameras. It’s all about the feed. A broadcaster must compress its signal to transmit more channels over the same allocated bandwidth. Digital television would not be possible without compression, which removes redundant and non-critical information. This compression causes “mosquito noise” that appears as random specs around edges of objects. The more that an image is compressed, the more noticeable the mosquito artifacts become. The larger the image, the more noticeable are the artifacts. Exterminate the artifacts with Algolith’s Mosquito.
There’s a new entry in the home theater projector market. Eiki, which has been a leader in the commercial market, introduced two new 720p projectors. This is a real change for Eiki, which has manufactured LCD based systems. The EIP-1500T and the EIP-1600T are both DLPïƒ” based systems. Both utilize a 5x speed, 6-segment color wheel for minimum color artifacts. The 1600T has a contrast ratio of 6500:1 and an ANSI lumen rating of 1200. It has the latest HDMI Digital Video Input. The 1600T has both vertical and horizontal image shift with geometric keystone correction. If you forget to turn the unit off, it shuts itself down.
Eiki International, Inc. www.eikihome.com
Having the gang over, but don’t have enough room for everyone to watch the big game? Having a birthday party, but want everyone outside? If so, the Sima XL Inflatable Theater Kit is what you want. The kit comes in two sizes, 96″ and 144″ diagonal. The screen is 16 x 9 HD format, which includes 2 amplified speakers and inflates in just minutes. An inflator/deflator pump is included. The screen can be used with either front or rear projection. Invite the whole neighborhood to a night under the stars.
Sima Products Corp. www.simaproducts.com
Sim2 Multimedia has created the world’s smallest 3-chip DLP projector. The C3X measures only 17.2 x 7.5 x 16.9″ and weighs a mere 24.3 pounds. This is about half of the size of the other 3-chip projectors. The Italian design is elegant with smooth curves. This 2500-lumen projector accepts 720p and 1080i resolutions with a 6500:1 contrast ratio.
Sim2 USA, Inc. www.sim2usa.com
If you find yourself with a burnt-out lamp, don’t panic. Zettatronics might just have your lamp in stock.
Zettatronics, Inc. www.zettatronics.com
Tired of having speakers look like speakers? Home Decor has a 5.1 high performance speaker system with a wide variety of speaker cover options that will complement most home decors. There is a wide variety of tabletop speaker covers, including candleholders and vases. The floor standing line includes baskets and plant stands, while trunks hold the subwoofer. They even have wall mount covers that have a solid top shelf for display. If you want something different, take a look at this unique line.
Acoustic Research Accessories www.arhomedecor.com
Does your pet like to watch TV? If so, First Impressions has a pet lounger just for your best friend. It even comes with a “pupcorn” bowl for its favorite snack. Maybe you were just born to be wild. If so, try the CineBikerLounger™. This chair has the look of a motorcycle, but much more comfortable. It has stainless steel diamond plate accents, solid billet aluminum drink holders, and molded fiberglass faux gas tanks with gas caps. The lounger is complete with functioning LED head and taillights, two exhaust pipes, and rear patron-view mirrors. If you just want fine cinema seating, check out First Impressions. They certainly do make a real first impression.
First Impressions Theme Theater www.cineloungers.com
You’ve heard the expression, “Let your fingers do the walking.” Now you can let your finger open doors for you. eKey uses your fingerprint to open doors. No need to change locks . . . simply delete the user. No need to share keys or alarm codes with houseguests or personnel . . . simply swipe a finger. You can even assign different fingers for various functions, such as the front door, the garage or the alarm. The reader can be installed inside or outside. Most importantly, the system is easy to use.
eKey USA Systems www.ekeyusa.com
The world’s first HDTV recorder and tuner were introduced by Microtech. It can record in 1080i or 720p up to 40 hours, or 200 hours of standard SD. Transfer your favorite programs onto DVD data disks. It supports 5.1 Dolby and it will up-scale all incoming video to 720p or 1080i.
T.S. Microtech Inc. www.hdehome.com
NetStreams is the first company in the world to introduce IP-Based, uncompressed video distribution for multi-room entertainment. The company demonstrated a new encoder, decoder and Ethernet switch, which allow streaming HD video content from multiple sources to multiple displays on an IP-Based network. NetStreams incorporates PerfectPixel™ technology, which provides 100% accurate picture replication; while its patent-pending StreamNet™ technology ensures the reliable transmission of synchronized audio, video and control packets across network. Will your home be one of the 30 million households that will have an IP-Based home entertainment network?
MusicGiants launched the world’s first music download service with high-definition recordings from EMI Music, Sony BMG, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group. Priced at $1.29 each and offered in the Windows Media Audio Lossless format, the downloads have up to seven times the sound quality of music from any other download service. MusicGiants also introduced a professional-grade home music player, which is preloaded with Windows XP and the MusicGiants Network, and capable of storing about 10,000 songs in hi-def. If you want premium music for high performance audio systems, this is for you.
MusicGiants, Inc. www.musicgiants.com
Did you know that 70% of front channel movie sound plays through the center speaker? Well, ClearPix™ by Screen Research has put the critical speaker where it belongs, behind the screen and the same height as the right and left speakers. In fact, you can place all of your front speakers behind the screen. The screen is acoustically transparent and is designed for today’s fixed pixel projectors.
Screen Research www.screenresearch.com
Want to reduce the noise of your in-ceiling speakers traveling through the floors? Dynamic Control has a revolutionary acoustic barrier for in-ceiling speakers. The DynaBox completely encases the speaker, which effectively reduces sound migration between rooms, ceilings and floors. It can even be retrofitted in existing systems.
Dynamic Control of North America www.dynamat.com
Got wine? eSommelier is an easy to use computerized device for managing and cataloging your precious wine collection. At the touch of a button, you can search your entire inventory and retrieve pertinent information about the wine, for which you are looking. It will even tell you the location of the wine in your wine cellar. We all have a wine cellar, don’t we?
W.H.E.N. begins here and now. A DVD downstairs, a kid’s classic, cable news and MTV upstairs in the bedrooms, iPod in the kitchen, and jazz radio out on the deck. A whole house full of entertainment, all at the same time, all from the same system. The Whole-House Entertainment Network (W.H.E.N.) from AudioaccessÂ® can stream up to eight different entertainment sources to a home theater and as many as 20 additional rooms simultaneously. You have to check out the different system configurations. The future is now playing.