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CEDIA Show Report

Oct 3, 2002 12:00 PM, Nat Hecht


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With a record attendance of 19,500 this year, the 2002 CEDIA Expo was a huge success by any standard. The show was quite large this year, covering two floors at the Minneapolis Convention Center, and there were many new products, although not many earth-shattering cutting edge technological advances. It seems as though most companies were refining their product offerings; and the area where new product development was most apparent was in the range of custom installation products that were being shown for the first time. Here are some of the interesting things we saw at the show.

Genelec (www.genelec.com) announced a new active in-wall speaker system with features more akin to a studio monitor than a typical in-wall speaker. The AIW26 has a 7" woofer and a _" metal dome tweeter in a reflex cabinet. Genelec used their special Directivity Control Waveguide (DCW) technology matched with their RAM1 remote amplifier module with 120w available for the woofer and an additional 120w for the tweeter. With sound pressure levels of 110 dB @ 1 meter and wide frequency response of 45 Hz — 21 kHz +/- 2.5dB it isn’t hard to see the studio monitor pedigree. Other features unique to this model are room response equalizers, RCA and XLR line level input connectors, 12-volt trigger, adjustable sensitivity for interface to all types of decoders, and the ability to mount up to three units in a 19" equipment rack with the optional 3U high rack adapter.

Extron (www.extron.com) launched their new one-box solution, the System 7SC, a seven input dual output configurable video and computer-video switcher with a built-in video scaler. The System 7SC is ideal for rental, staging, and permanent installations using plasma, CRT, LCD and DLP projectors providing video scaling, RS-232 or IR projector and room control, audio switching capability, and universal compatibility with displays.

Integra (www.gspr.com/integra/nettune_intro.html), the new professional brand off-shoot from the people who brought us Onkyo have taken a huge step forward in differentiating themselves as an exclusive brand of their own. The buzz surrounding these products is their unique digital networking capability and their new Net-Tune ™ technology that allows access to digitally stored PCM and MP3 files via Ethernet connection. The DTR-7.3 is a 7 x 130w @ 6 ohms THX Select A/V receiver that integrates network audio distribution with the ability to handle every major home theater format currently in use. Equipped with Net-Tune ™ capability, high quality 192 kHz/24-bit D/A converters, HDTV capable 60 MHz component video switching, seven digital inputs, and multi-zone/multi source features. The DTR-8.3 is a 7 x 145w @ 6 ohms THX Select A/V receiver with all the same features as the DTR-7.3 with the addition of the CHAD (Custom Home Automation Device) programmable LCD touchscreen remote control. This remote is a fully customizable learning remote allowing replacement of all other remotes in the system and can be programmed to perform a series of up to 255 tasks across multiple components with single button function control. It features 2 MB of memory, programmable macros and timers, and an RS-232 interface for home PC customization. To top everything off, the Integra NAC-2.3 Net-Tune Client and NAS-2.3 Net-Tune Server are clever devices that interface with the receivers to provide Ethernet connection for accessing digitally stored PCM and MP3 files. Connection to broadband allows these units to playback internet radio in MP3 or WMA format, with the NAC-2.3 being capable of more than a thousand hours of stored audio available instantly accessible over wired or wireless home networks. The NAS-2.3 server can encode hundreds of CDs worth of music and distribute up to a dozen different high quality audio streams at once storing genre, artist, album and track names via Gracenote’s online CD Database. Keep an eye out for the receivers availability in October, the Net-Tune ™ products in November of this year.

Crestron (www.crestron.com/CEDIA2002) introduced the ST-1700C touchpanel for the residential market. The ST-1700C is the latest in a new line of handheld wireless touchpanels, which is the only one I’ve seen that is a high resolution active matrix display with the ability to produce 64,000 colors compared to 256 colors in conventional touchpanels. The panel also has five programmable function keys that allow for mutiple commands to be excecuted with just one touch. Additionally the buttons are engraveable for custom installations.

JVC Professional (http://pro.jvc.com/pro/cedia) announced the release of their latest DILA projector, the DLA-SX21 for upscale home theaters. Some features include 1400 x 1050 native resolution (1400 x 788 in 16:9 mode), three 0.7" D-ILA devices, 800:1 contrast ratio, 1500 ANSI lumens, and user friendly design allowing easy installation at only 12 lbs. Also introduced was their newest 42" Plasma display monitor, the GM-P420UG featuring a 1500:1 contrast ratio, 160 degree viewing angle, fan-less design for quiet operation, 256 levels of RGB allowing for 16.77 million colors, PAL and NTSC compatibility, HDTV compatibility, and RS-232C interface.

SIM2 (www.sim2usa.com) announced their latest DLP projector the HT-300 Plus with their new HD2 chipset, making SIM2 the first to market with a DLP product using the update Texas Instrument chip. and replaces the HT-300 as the new top of the line adding a 72% increase in contrast (1800:1 ratio), 20% increase in brightness, a DVI input, and all new cabinet colors. HD Resolution is the same as the older chipset at 1280 by 720, but this chipset has a micromirror tilting angle of 12-degrees instead of the previous 10-degrees.The HT-300 plus also has RS-232 software upgrade capability.

Ivie Technologies, Inc. (www.ivie.com) is well known for their excellent professional audio products, but now they have entered the custom residential foray with their new E-Series universal remote controls. The system is make up of three components, the E-16 universal remote, the PI-8 in-line power supply, and the ET-100 Universal Intelligent Translator. The E-16 is disarmingly simple with six pushbuttons with LED indicators and one rotary knob. The PI-8 is the power module for the E-16 remotes. The ET-100 is a combination translator and controller. It translates a simple pushbutton or rotary knob event on the E-16 universal remote control into commands that are then sent to the device under control via Ethernet or serial output ports utilizing RS-232, RS-422, or RS-485. Intuitive programming is accomplished via a user-friendly software application. Signals are sent via CAT-5 connection between the E-16 and the E-100.

Runco (www.runco.com) added a new plasma monitor to their line, the PL-50cx with a contrast ratio of 1500:1 and black levels that rival CRT projectors. Its native resolution is 1366 x 768 and includes Runco’s 10-bit PFP Controller handling NTSC and PAL scaling down to native resolution without contouring effects and solarization that is often found in other plasma monitors.

Belden Electronics Division (www.belden.com) introduced their new CAT 5e composite cable called Homechoice ™ Banana Peel ™. This cable is very unique in that it is a jacketless design that allows for faster and easier installation. The patent pending design affixes the individual cables to a center spline eliminating the need for an outer jacket. With no overall jacket to strip off and instant indentifiability of the individual data, coax, and fiber cable components, installation is a snap once the cable is peeled off the spline. Without the overall jacket the Banana Peel cable is smaller than traditional composite cables improving the overall bend radius making it easier to handle. The cable is available in two configurations: two 2x2 versions offering two Cat 5e UTP data cables and two coaxes and two 2x2x2 versions with two fiber optic cables added to the 2x2 design. All cables are on standard 500-ft. and 1000-ft reels.

Xantech Corporation (www.xantech.com) Following on the heels of their success with the MRC44 at last year’s CEDIA Expo, This year Xantech bowed their new MRC-88 multi-room entertainment system, an eight zone, eight source device with audio and VIDEO switching, six zones have 35w/ch amplifiers, all zones have pre-amp out, and is expandable 16-zones. Other features are audio and video loop-throughs for all sources, RS-232 communication for control of lighting, HVAC, and others, eight-zone music server inputs, and two zones without amplification for interfacing with external amplifiers. Also introduced was their new plasma-friendly Micro Link ™ IR receiver. This IR window rejects interference form plasma displays, direct sunlight, and fluorescent tube lights, often a huge problem in all kinds of installations whether residential or commercial.

Niles Audio Corporation (www.nilesaudio.com) offered their new Direct Soundfield (DS) line of in ceiling speakers featuring an a pivoting speaker baffle allowing for unique aiming of the speaker to compensate for less than desireable installation locations. The DS6500AT is the top of the line with power handling up to 200w using a carbon and glass fiber woofer with one-inch aluminum dome tweeter. There are 4 other models in the line.

Proficient Audio Systems (www.proficientaudio.com) started out strong with their two excellent sounding ceiling speakers back at CES, and they followed up that success with another winner, the AW500TT 5 _" twin tweeter indoor/outdoor single point speaker system. With a dual voice coil woofer and two 1" soft dome tweeters the system allows a single speaker installation point with wide, even stereo sound. The system will handle 100w @ 4 ohms with a sensitivity of 89dB 1w, 1m and a frequency response of 38 Hz — 20 kHz +/- 3dB. A 10-year limited warranty comes along with this and the other Proficient speaker systems, the longest warranty for an outdoor speaker I have ever seen.

LiteTouch, Inc. (www.litetouch.com) introduced their new HomeTouch retrofit lighting control system that is both easy to use and perfect for existing homes since it uses the home’s existing wiring to communicate and can be easily integrated with security, HVAC, audio/video and window treatments allowing total home control. This unique approach opens up one of the fastest growing segments of the custom home market to the remodeling market, greatly expanding the possibilities for new business.

Russound (www.russound.com) unveiled their new single chassis solution to the A/V controller market by introducing the CAV 6.6 A/V controller amplifier and UNO-S2 user interface. The CAV 6.6 distributes six audio/video sources to six listening zones simultaneously with additional expansion of up to 4 A-Bus sub zones. Other key features are six zones with 20w per channel, variable or fixed line outputs, adjustable bass, treble, balance and loudness for each zone, built in IR learner and pre-programmed IR Library with thousands of IR codes, Serial computer programming, paging and doorbell support with audio and video inputs, front panel RS-232, keypad port and IR eye for programming, and front panel aux A/V input with IR flasher port. The UNO-S2 user interface is a high performance double-gang keypad that is backlit and highly intuitive, with unique status feedback of vital operating parameters which provides the user near foolproof operation. The panel also offers IR control.

Pioneer’s Home Entertainment Division (www.pioneerelectronics.com) seems to be the first to announce a product using 1 Unlimited’s unique design for a single source 5.1 channel surround speaker, called the PDAP-1 Digital Sound Projector. This device utilizes 256 tweeters that are individually powered and phase controlled via an extensively researched software algorithm that "steers" the response of these mutually coupled tweeters to produce left, center, right and surround channels from the forward position in a space about as large as an average plasma display. The product will be available early next year, and having been lucky enough to be the only editor allowed tohear this product in action way back at CES I can testify that it must be heard to be believed.

Vantage (www.vantagecontrols.com) introduced the Radiolink RS-232 station which allows wireless control of any RS-232 device via 900 MHz frequency agile signal transmission between the radiolink dimmer, enabler, and accentpoint relay and the C-Box controller. The station can be located up to 100 feet from a radiolink enable vantage controller, providing a communication area of over 4,000,000 cubic feet. This unique product is great for the retrofit market or any installation where using conventional wires are not possible.

Channel Vision (www.channelvision.com) announced two new additions to their ARIA Soprano Series of whole house audio distribution products. The IW601 in-wall and the IC602 in-ceiling speaker both feature adjustable tweeters, 6.5" woofers, 20w RMS and 150w peak power handling at 8 ohms, and they include a mounting template and paint shield.

Oxmoor (www.zonaudio.com) is known for excellent broadcast quality products for the professional audio market, but at CEDIA they launched their first consumer line of whole-house digital audio products with the ZON (pronounced "zone") product line. Disarmingly simple, the ZON audio controller/amplifier ZAC-60 features a super efficient, full bandwidth 60w all digital amplifier and onboard DSP to provide tone control, balance, loudness, and EQ settings. Elegant and simple in appearance, the ZAC-60 is reminiscent of the old style Honeywell thermostat with a big pushbutton rotary knob in the center of the wall mount panel that is detent lighted to indicate dial position. Above it is a viewing screen that displays programmable information about what is being controlled. Speakers are directly connected to this in-wall control panel in each zone that needs sound and signals are carried to the ZAC-60 via CAT 5e or CAT 6 wire connection from the ZON Router ZR-98. Decoding occurs in the wall mount controller. The ZR-98 is a nine source, four zone, four sub zone control system that controls and organizes the head-end functions of the distributed audio system and provides power, audio, control, and communications for the entire system. It features a 24 bit digital audio path for unsurpassed audio quality and performance. There is an optional on-board web server for fast and easy set-up and firmware updates, and multiple units can be linked together for expansion. An event interface can be used to add diverse features such as doorbells, telephone systems, and driveway sensors. There is a paging input, and built in RS-232c port to interface other home control systems.

Furman Sound, Inc. (www.furmansound.com) debuted their new IT-Reference Discrete Symmetrical line of power regulators and conditioners designed for the home theater market. The RA-1210 (10 amp) and 1220 (20 amp) are stable power AC line voltage regulators and the RI-1210 and 1220 and isolated symmetrical AC power conditioners. These units provide a 24 dB or greater noise reduction of AC line-induced noise. Symmetrical balancing of AC power virtually eliminates common-mode line noise, in addition to digital noise, power supply "backwash" from neighboring components, while still maintaining a low magnetic field leakage due to a highly refined toroidal transformer which allows placement of the unit next to other sensitive equipment without any interference.

CorAcess (www.coraccess.com) introduced the AudioMate, a new plug and play music management component for the CorAcess Companion 6 and 10 home management interfaces at CEDIA. AudioMate is fully integrated with ReQuest Multimedia Audio ReQuest (ARQ) with no programming required. ARQ lets users create, store, and experience digital media content through their home management system and the Internet. With AudioMate users can play over 700 continuous hours of their favorite music automatically organized by artist, album, and customized play lists for instant access in a convenient central location.

Sencore (www.sencore.com) announced their new CP5000 All-Display ColorPro Color Analyzer and the SA1501 Spectrum Analyzer. The CP5000 allows users to align all video displays (LCD, DLP, Plasma, CRT) to match industry specifications for peak performance. Unique to this affordable unit is the ability to align color tracking and luminance with continuously updated readings, a feature not found on field spectroradiometers. Custom software allows storage of calibration information and allows printing of reports for easy interpretation. The SA1501 portable spectrum analyzer has a range of 100 kHz to 1 GHz and is perfect for troubleshooting and field installations, analyzing TV antenna, reception, CATV or MATV signals, cellular, two-way radio, pager, FM broadcast, telemetry, RF Generators, RF transmitters, RF spectrum for spurious signals, harmonics and noise that are interfering with desired signal, in short virtually any signals in the RF spectrum to 1GHz.

QSC Audio Products Inc. (www.qscaudio.com) introduced their entry into the residential install market with their new ACE-500 series composite loudspeakers. The enclosures are composed of carbon fiber and are lightweight and highly water resistant. The QSC ACE-500 and ACE-540 are two-way systems with 5.25" woofers and one-inch dome tweeters, in an infinite baffle enclosure (500) and ported enclosure (540) respectively. The 570 has a 7" woofer with the same 1" tweeter in a ported enclosure. The trap shaped enclosures are available in a range of different colors and have a nice line of mounting accessories designed for them. Another QSC introduction at CEDIA was the Studio Reference Series (SRA) amplifier line with three models, the 1222 at 200w/ch. @ 8 ohms, the 2422 at 425w/ch. @ 8 ohms, and the 3622 at 725w/ch. @ 8 ohms. These amplifiers are not just a rehash of older QSC models, they are unique in that they are designed for the recording studio environment which also makes them perfect for home theater and home music applications. The line has some great features such as HF switching power supplies allowing for quiet operation with no fan noise, active inrush limiting to avoid turn-on transcients that can blow circuit breakers, optional DSP modules, tamper proof gain control security cover, detachable rack ears, selectable subsonic filters at 20Hz and 50Hz, and a three year warranty plus optional 3-year extension.

Tannoy’s (www.tannoy.com) new FX5.1 self-powered subwoofer is their newest residential entry with a 200mm driver and 100w RMS amplifier and is designed to match up with their FX5.1 satellite speakers, but can of course be used without them.

Sonance (www.sonance.com) introduced their newest entry in the in-ceiling speaker format, a unique elliptical speaker system with an angled baffle design that is recessed into the ceiling. The Ellipse 1.0 LCR uses what Sonance calls "Sonic Eye Technology", their unique enclosed driver array with controlled dispersion allowing the tweeter/midrange array to pivot up to 20 degrees. This design can help compensate for less than desireable speaker locations, and also allows a the left, center, and right speakers in a home theater system to be mounted in the ceiling and still be positioned correctly for accurate imaging. The system contains a _" cloth dome tweeter, 4" polypro midrange, and 6 _" glass fiber cone woofer with rubber surround. Frequency response is 50 Hz — 20 kHz +/- 3dB with SPL of 89 dB @ 1w, 1m. Peak power is 125w @ 8 ohms with a minimum power handling spec of 5w @ 8 ohms.

CSI/SPECO (www.csi-speco.com) introduces their new SP series line of in-wall speaker systems that include a back box enclosure with every model. For in-wall models they have the SP-525BB with a 5 _" woofer, the SP-626BB with a 6 _" woofer, and the SP-828BB with an 8" woofer, and for in-ceiling they have the SP-6ECS and SP-8ECS with a 6 _" and 8" woofer respectively. All models have a titanium moveable dome tweeter.

Fujitsu (www.fujitsu.com) announced their latest Plasmavision slim screen monitor, the 50" PDS-5004 is a high definition 16:9 monitor with on-board stereo amplifier is now their most advanced model. With a 3000:1 contrast ratio, 1366 x 768 resolution and high brightness (500 cd/m(squared) this device can display output from nearly any source including true 1080i and 720p HDTV and 480p signals from a DTV set-top box as well as component, composite, S-video, analog RGB, and DVI-D. Add RS-232C controllability and the ability to accept video output from a computer up to UXGA resolution and you have one of the most versatile plasmas available.

AudioControl Industrial (www.audiocontrol.com) newest products are the BVD-10 source-end and the BVR-10 destination-end balanced video drivers, are small easily mountable devices that are designed to send video and audio over CAT-5 wiring. These devices can send high quality composite, S-Video, or component video along with stereo audio signals up to 1000 feet over CAT-5 twisted pair. The devices accept two RCA composite/component video or one S-video mini-DIN input along with stereo audio RCA input, sending them to a standard CAT-5 RJ-45 output jack.

Acoustical Solutions (www.acousticalsolutions.com) announced their SoundSuede fabric wrapped wall panels, available in 45 colors and a wide variety of sizes and shapes. These unique sound absorbing panels are wrapped in the company’s SoundSuede fabric resulting in an elegant appearance making them ideal for home theaters, houses of worship, corporate boardrooms, or any other application that requires a unique aesthetic. They are available in thicknesses ranging from _" to 4" and standard or custom sizes up to 4’ x 10’. SoundSuede panels are Class 1 fire-rated and also have different edge details and installation options.

Xabler’s (www.xabler.com) offering of their new Xabler Digital Music Server (DMS) allows integration of audio from streaming internet radio stations and storage of over 800 hours of music. The server can connect to any audio input including multi-room audio systems, audio matrixes, preamps, and amplifiers. Accessed through a standard web interface to control audio playback features, any browser can control it which makes it truly one of the most versatile devices available; even allowing control from web tablets, PDA’s, any computer, and even from web-enable appliances such as telephones with internet access.

DeCorp Americas, Inc. (www.decorp.com) introduced an unusual paper-thin flat speaker wire they call "FlatWire Ready" speaker wire. This product disappears behind paint and wallpaper in an install, allowing for retrofit installs without drilling saving walls and ceilings from extensive havoc. The best part is that the per-foot installed cost basis is less expensive than conventional products that require cutting into walls or ceilings and drilling through studs.

Jensen Transformers, Inc. (www.jensentransformers.com) announced their new product line incorporating audio transformers into a modular rack or wall mountable 35mm DIN Rail system that is widely available in Europe, but new to the U.S. market. Perfect for contractors, churches and other high level installs, all of Jensen’s most popular audio interface solutions for line inputs, line outputs, mic splitters, direct boxes, and patch bay applications. Up to 12 different interface modules can be mounted on a 3RU rack panel or individually cut to length sections of 35mm DIN Rail mounted on walls or in wiring closets for custom configurations.

Kramer Electronics US, Inc. (www.kramerelectronics.com) launched their new VP-723DS and VP-720DS combination video/graphics scalers and seamless switchers. These devices are true multi-standard video-to-RGBHV scalers that convert video, S-video, component video, VGA through UXGA and DVI signals to multiple user-selectable output pixel rates. Both models have picture in picture inserters, and can scale, zoom, freeze and locate the inserted image anywhere on the screen.

If you have made it to the end of this list, bravo! We will be covering more CEDIA announced products in the Spotlight section of S&VC and in the new section of the magazine called "The BUZZ" over the next few issues, so keep an eye out for them.

AWARD WINNERS

24 CEDIA memberswere honored for excellence in the custom electronics design and installation industry, at the annual CEDIA expo in September.

Industry Awards

Lifetime Achievement: Scott Struthers, Sonance
Dealer of the Year: Engineered Environment
Installer of the Year: James Atkins, Sensory Solutions
Sales Representative of the Year: Doug Ferguson, Western Marketing Corp.
Volunteer of the Year, Manufacturer: David Nowak, AMX
Volunteer of the Year, Designer/Installer: Todd Adams, Cutting Edge Systems Corp.

Designers’
Choice Awards

Best Home Theater $70,000 to $125,000: CHT Systems
Best Home Theater $125,001 to $150,000: Electronics Design Group
Best Home Theater $150,001 to $250,000: Cutting Edge Systems Corp.
Best Home Theater $250,001 to $400,000: Media Systems
Best Home Theater over $900,000: Genesis Audio and Video
Best Media Room: CHT Systems
Best Integrated Home $130,000 to $300,000: AVL Pro
Best Integrated Home $300,001 to $600,000: Audio Visions
Best Integrated Home over $600,000: American Automation and Communications
Best Special Project: Audio Video Resource
Best Hidden Installation: AVIA
Best Home Theater Architecture: Theo Kalomirakis Theaters, for the theater installed by Audio Advisors
Best Dressed System: Engineered Environments.

Manufacturers’
Excellence Awards:

Best Video Product: InFocus Corp. Screenplay 7200
Best Audio Product: Madrigal Mark Levinson No. 40 media console
Best Custom Insallation Product: Audio Designs Associates Suite-16 system
Best Home Networking Product: AMX Design Xpress (DXP)
Best User Interface: CorAccess Companion 6.



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