CEDIA Expo 2019 is officially underway and I spent every minute of the first day walking up and down aisles, stopping in booths, chatting with old friends and checking out demos looking for the coolest new products I could find on the floor.
My day began at a press preview breakfast in the LG booth where they unveiled a new 88-inch, 8K OLED panel that looked absolutely amazing, but came with a wallet-puckering price of $29,999. The set utilizes a new a9 Gen 2 Intelligent processor designed for 8K and also features all the expected technologies like Google Assistant, Alexa, Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos. It also incorporates pixel level dimming for stunning black levels. If you’ve got a spare 30-large lying around, the OLED88Z9PUA isn’t a bad place to spend it. For the slightly less endowed of wallet, LG also demonstrated a 75-inch 8K TV incorporating the company’s NanoCell technology for $4,999.
My next stop was Sony where the company officially announced the immediate availability of its Crystal LED Display video wall which is scalable from 109-inch to 65-feet diagonal. At the show, reps from Sony demonstrated the 4K resolution 219-inch panel (16 feet x 9 feet) … and it looked fantastic. When not showing a video, the panel structure and a small dimple in the individual tiles were slightly visible, but it was barely noticeable during actual video which offered incredibly bright and punchy images. This panel comes with a five-year warranty, includes installation, and is available now for $877,000. Yes. Eight hundred. And Seventy-Seven. Thousand. Yowza!
I then cruised down to the Epson booth where they were unveiling the new LS-500 Laser Projection TV. This ultra-short-throw system is a complete package with projector and screen in either 100- or 120-inch size. The 4K laser projector also incorporates an audio system to offer an all-in-one experience, but also has audio outputs to feed a traditional sound system. They package it with a specially-designed ambient light rejecting screen for use in a living or media room, with 4,000 lumen output to produce a punchy viewable image in most lighting conditions. The exciting thing about this is the price—it starts at under $5,000 for the 100-inch, which could bring ultra-short-throw projection to a much wider audience.
Following my video heavy morning, I stopped to see Harman’s booth—home of Arcam, Lexicon, Revel, and JBL Synthesis. Arcam has several new AVRs that push the Dolby Atmos channel count up to 16, and there is a new Lexicon SL-1 speaker system that utilizes 33 speaker drivers and DSP beam steering technology to ensure a stereo sweet-spot wherever you are sitting. Unfortunately for me, the display was static and I couldn’t test the audio. I was super impressed with the new JBL Synthesis processor and AVR, both featuring 16-channel processing capability and tons of great features like Dirac Live, advanced DSP processing and the latest version of Lexicon’s Logic16 upmixer. Both new Synthesis units also utilize Dante audio over Ethernet, and can feed up to 16 channels of audio output to one of the new Synthesis amplifiers over a single Cat cable, greatly reducing cable clutter. The JBL Synthesis demo is always a highlight, and this year’s didn’t disappoint, as they used clips from A Star is Born, Captain Marvel, and the new live action Aladdin.
Afterwards, I stopped at the Legrand AV booth, home of Luxul, Sanus, Middle Atlantic, and more. Luxul has a new Epic Mesh Wi-Fi router system that should greatly simplify adding quality Wi-Fi to projects where adding new wiring isn’t possible. Middle Atlantic’s new rack system has built-in rack lighting in the rear which was one of those simple, “Why didn’t anyone else think of that?!” things that will make racking in gear way easier and should put an end to the days of holding a flashlight in your mouth. Sanus was demonstrating its new advanced full-motion premium mounts that hold TVs really tight to the wall, but have reduced the pull force by over 75 percent to make them much easier to adjust. There are other premium features on the mount that will make it something you should definitely check out.
I spent a fair bit of time in the afternoon at the Barco booth, where I met up with many of my hosts from the U.K. trip I took a few months back. They were demonstrating their new projector with a full suite of Meridian in-wall digital loudspeakers and a new Steinway-Lyngdorf processor.
On tonight’s agenda is another Sony event, a Pro Source event, and then the Control4 dealer party! It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.
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