Home Cinema Takes The Stage At CEDIA 2016
As you would expect this category was front and centre of the show as companies compete in a sector which has shown real growth and innovation of late. It’s always been one of the most impressive for the uninitiated customer, but with new tech, increased awareness and some killer kit around, there has never been better time to sell cinema.
StormAudio unveiled its line of high-end immersive audio home theatre processors and amplifiers, consisting of 16- and 32-channel immersive sound processors and amplifiers, which feature a shared and intuitive user-interface, a scalable modular platform design approach and remote-monitoring capabilities.
The manufacturer also announced that its full suite of Immersive Sound Processors (ISP) now support the DTS:X 3D audio codec as a standard feature, making the line compatible with Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Auro-3D.
“We have launched a full range of immersive sound products, as well as launching our distribution company in the US,” said Yves Trelohan, senior vice president, home entertainment and luxury audio product division, Storm Audio.
“Shipping in Q4 is the plan,” added Mark Cichowski, director of business development, Americas, Canada, Pacific region. “The relationship with Auro has enabled this to all come together. The processor is leading the charge – it’s not just about the amplifiers. We want to raise the bar, not just be another processor and amplifier manufacturer; we’re looking to push the envelope with the best of the best components. The market has come back after the crash and it’s cautiously optimistic – people are spending money again. The ‘good enough’ is going away a little bit.
“People have now heard better experiences in theatres and they want that at home. I think the company is going to be leading the way in the not so distant future. That high end processing category that we’re in is narrow and the high end dealers are attracted to the three different formats due to the flexibility.”
“High end home theatres want to be able to play any format, so not supporting the three as a top player in the higher end range of the category is – for me – not an option. We’re format agnostic,” Yves made clear. “We aim to distribute to 40 countries by the end of this year; the UK is the biggest market for Europe for us. We offer dealers 24/7 support and we are the only one in this market to do that. To me, support is as important as the quality of the product.”
Interestingly, on day two of CEDIA, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment announced that it is to integrate the Auro-3D sound format within select SPHE titles slated for distribution across physical and digital home entertainment. Each of the slated releases will come with either a 13.1 or 11.1 Auro-3D native mix.
The highlight of the Barco Residential stand could be found within its booked-out Cinema-At-Home demo room, featuring Barco Residential’s Thor projector – the world’s first 4K ‘mega projector’ featuring true 6P 3D direct laser technology. The cinema also offered attendees a sneak preview of the new Alchemy server, with HDMI2.0 / HDCP 2.2 connectivity on board and HDR compatibility.
Steinway Lyngdorf provided an 11.1 Auro3D system, a completely concealed immersive audio solution featuring IW-26 and S-16IW main speakers and six 2×12 LS Boundary woofers for the room. Driven by a full digital chain consisting of a P200 processor and a combination of A1/A2 amplifiers, it was calibrated with the Steinway Lyngdorf RoomPerfect 3D room mapping and correction system and used with a Stewart Filmscreen 17’ Director’s Choice DC-100 screen.
Speaking about the recent partnership announcement with Meridian Audio which enables the AV manufacturer to offer installers in the UK the ability to access and specify Barco Residential’s Loki 4K DLP laser home cinema projector, Barco Residential’s Tim Sinnaeve said: “It was a very natural process, as we are really focused on the user experience. We saw a huge opportunity to partner with complimentary manufacturers to create an amazing experience. The specification and design service that Meridian offers is quite unique – we also saw that they have a really loyal dealer base and wanted to offer Barco Residential as part of their design. This is only in the context of their design service – this partnership does not affect our other distribution channels. We are loyal to our partners.”
Stewart Filmscreen debuted its new line-up of screens, never before seen and now shipping. The Phantom HALR black screen is available in seamless sizes up to 40- feet by 90-feet to accommodate the largest, most demanding applications, Phantom is designed for use with most of Stewart’s fixed frame or ElectriScreen models, although it is also available in Cinemaperf or Microperf X2 THX Ultra configurations for acoustic transparency.
“It’s huge – 40ft by 90ft and is rollable,” said Vijita U.G, marketing manager, Stewart Filmscreen. “One benefit that our competitors can’t do is that it’s acoustically transparent, so we are able to microperf it or cinemaperf it. Our screen is multi-directional in the ambient light that it’s able to do, whereas our competitors are unidirectional. Here at the show, harsh lighting is coming from every angle but it is still producing nice images.
“It’s also future-proofed as it has 16K + resolution,” she added. “This is because our screen material is able to handle six lines of information per mm, so if you had a 10ft wide screen that would be about 3,048mm – that times six is about 18,000, but we chose 16 as it’s a nice, round number. The old dealers of ours have said ‘finally!’ when they have seen it on the booth. This will be shipping Q1 everywhere and is available from CAVD in the UK.”
Also from the manufacturer was the new Torrent ElectriScreen, a large-venue ElectriScreen system designed for luxury home cinemas, family rooms and outdoor applications where a large screen is desired. The recessed roller screen has an image width up to 17 feet wide. Boasting 16K + compatibility, the screen ensures a reinforced roller system to handle traditional aspect ratios, but can also be customised with plenty of extra black drop above the image area for rooms with high ceilings.
Screen Innovation’s booth was energised as always, helped along by a giant Transformer and regular demonstrations of its Zero-G motorised projection screen. The screen size is up to a maximum of 160in diagonally in 16:9 aspect ratio. The material can be rolled from the bottom up, nesting within an upper wing; the entire assembly then moves into an external or flush case; the TV completely disappears when not in use.
“Our main focus at the show is how we are interacting with our dealers and partners,” Screen Innovations’ Blake Vackar said. “We even created 4K content for our dealers. Our screens literally grow and contract, so it’s a completely different way of doing masking that no one else has done. We see ‘wow’ a lot on our stand! I challenge you to go to other booths and see as many people with their cameras filming products. We just want to keep innovating, and these two products are knocking it out of the park.”
Also helping pack out the booth was the Transformer screen, a motorised screen that unfurled horizontally to create the perfect-sized area for the image – whether that be 2.35:1 ultra-wide, 6:9 or any aspect ratio in between. It doesn’t use a black frame that moves across a fixed screen: the screen itself does the moving, and is due to ship late November worldwide.
Over on the Digital Projection booth, the company was showcasing its 3-chip DLP HIGHlite Laser (12,000 lumens) and 1-chip DLP E-Vision 4K Laser (8,000 lumen) projectors paired with Stewart Filmscreen screens displaying content via a Kaleidescape Strato 4K player.
The HIGHlite Laser 4K UHD projector is shipping January 2017 and the company is already taking pre-orders. It produces 8 million pixels on screen and retails for approximately $45,000 USD. Meanwhile, the E-Vision Laser 4K UHD projector – also available for pre-order – is shipping April 2017 and will retail for approximately $20,000 USD.
The highlight of the projection theatre was two native 4K Insight projectors, the 12,000 lumens, 3-chip Insight 4K Laser which retails for $89,995, and the 3,000+ lumens, 4K, 3-chip DLP Insight 4K Dual LED priced at $149,995. Both are currently shipping.
The manufacturer also showcased a media room application at the front of the exhibit, fully exposed to show lighting, which featured an E-Vision 8,500 Laser, 1-chip DLP projector (paired with a 8’ DNP Supernova screen).
The Datasat booth was another must-see for home theatre integrators, featuring a Grand DTS:X 9.4.4 Theatre which boasted a Sony 4K projector, a Seymour Screen Excellence acoustically transparent screen, Induction Dynamics speakers and subwoofers powered by Datasat RA7300 multi-channel amplifiers and a Datasat RS20i digital audio processor.
“The response has been phenomenal,” said Richard Fairbrother, director of sales for North America. “People love immersive audio; they love DTS:X. Our custom installers and integrators have told us at the show that they love how reliable our products are, how supportive we are as a company and how responsive we are. We and our partners, such as Pulse Cinemas in the UK, are just a phone call away. It’s not about products, it’s not about electronics – it’s about emotion: human beings crave emotion from day one – we need it to connect to people around us; so when you go to the movies, you want to laugh, you want to cry, you want to feel scared or happy. Our products aim to deliver that experience better than anyone else in the world.”
Also garnering a lot of attention on the booth were the RA2400 stereo power amplifier and the RA7300 multi-channel power amplifiers. The fully balanced differential design of the RA2400 doubles amplifier speed (slew rate) while reducing noise by a reported 50%. It uses current feedback to increase amplifier speed while dual mono design ensures each channel is independent with separate power supplies to minimize crosstalk, noise and distortion. The Datasat RA2400 produces 400W of power rated at 8-ohm loads. For high power performance at low impedance, it is capable of continuous operation at 600W rated at 4 ohms.
The RA7300 also doubles amplifier speed while reducing noise by 50%. Dual thermal sensors in the RA7300 control very low speed fans with substantial heat sinks. The fan only operates when program material requires additional cooling to ensure fan noise is always masked by the content. In addition, dual DC servos ensure DC offset is minimized and thermal track transistors maintain the amplifier at its optimum bias point independent of its temperature. The RA7300 is designed to be versatile and is rated for 4 and 8 ohm loads.
Based on its success in the post-production studio and commercial cinema sector, Alcons also stepped up its game at the expo, bringing its audio content to the residential market by showcasing its high-end, C-series home cinema systems in the Alcons Pro-Ribbon Immersive Experience – a joint collaboration with Barco Residential, DreamScreen and Trinnov.
The installation featured an 11.1.8, Dolby Atmos-based system featuring 23 Alcons loudspeakers, driven by seven Sentinel four-channel amplified loudspeaker controllers and a Trinnov Altitude32 processor running 16 channels of AES3 digital audio and eight of analogue.
“Although this was our second year at CEDIA, it was the first time with our own demonstration facility and it’s always difficult to anticipate what people expect,” said Alcons co-founder, Tom Back. “Will they want a full-specification, immersive surround system or a more budget-oriented set-up? We decided that we would demonstrate the ‘ultimate’ sound that is possible with Alcons, so we showcased a 11.1.8 ‘cost-no-issue’ system with 24 channels of processing.
“With the excellent feedback and high level of interest we received, our next steps are developing a dedicated sales channel, a marketing strategy and a review of our product portfolio to focus on producing dedicated residential systems as well as our cinema products,” he added.
Draper was just as focused on the great outdoors, showcasing products that included its Nocturne/Series E motorized projection screen, for use on a patio, by a pool, or just about anywhere a customer desires.
Fortress Seating was showcasing its fully Loaded, three-seat unit alongside some of its most popular chair models during the show. The product combines some of the most popular accessories available into a single unit, making it suitable for demo rooms, showrooms and design and experience centres.
This set up includes a motorised tray table, reading light, retractable touch screen, concealed cup holder, sliding arm, front access cup holder, storage compartment, pillow back and taller seat back, but can be customised to meet the buyer’s specifications.