CEDIA Expo 2004, wrap up

September 12, 2004

CediaThere were many more displaying vendors at CEDIA Expo, than I remember from last time. I didn’t even get a chance to see everything on display. I was however particularly anxious to see TI’s new 720p Darkchip 3 in action, as well as the new Marantz receivers.

Well to start off the Sim2 HT300 E, with the new darkchip3 from Texas Instruments was impressive, not the kind of mouth dropping to the floor impressive, as say first generation DLP’s compared to today’s, but a noticeable improvement. The darkchip3 has a reported 25% contrast improvement over HD2+ chips. And less screen door effect.

A couple of products and trends worth mentioning, as CEDIA is a reflection of last year as well as the year to come, DVI, HDMI and HDCP were obviously one of the bigger trends. 3 wire component video connections are on the outs. DVI and HDMI are the preferred means of video transmission.

New receivers from Marantz, you know it’s funny, brand loyalty that is. You can come to love a brand, it can be bought and sold, and if nothing really harmful is done to the brand you’ll feel the same way. I’ve never really been a big fan of Denon, but I’m nostalgic for Marantz. Never mind their built in the same factory, its all about the consumer experience. I don’t know what it is about them but I’m a sucker for a new Marantz receiver.

Starting with the Marantz SR-4500, with Dolby Pro Logic IIx, DTS-ES Matrix, DTS-ES Discrete, and DTS 96/24 and component video switching, rated at 80 watts per channel. This receiver at a suggested retail price of $449.99 is likely a real bargain.

Moving on to the SR-5500 rated at 90 watts per channel and adds component and s-video up conversion. And retails at $649.99

The SR-7500 builds on the 5500’s features with the addition of RS-232, a THX Select certification and Marantz’s acoustic room measurement. The SR-7500 is rated at 105 watts per channel. Retail price $1,099

Last and certainly not least the SR-8500 with all the features of the 7500 and the addition of 2 in 1 out DVI switching, gold plated connections and a power rating of 110 watts per channel. The SR-8500 is slated to retail at $1,599.

The most over the top Vegas’esque booth had to be Runco’s, with their Olympic themed “we’re number one” display. Kinda cheesy but hey CEDIA can be that way sometimes.

Samsung’s 65” DLP, was nice, somewhat of an improvement over last years models in resolution, as the new ones use the HD3 chips.

Actually announced before CEDIA but shown nonetheless were Denon’s new line of DVD players. Which Audioholics has posted an excellent feature comparison. These new Denon’s are looking really nice, I was extremely impressed with the DVD-1910, I reviewed last week.

NEC announced a new DLP, Native 16:9, 854 X 480 at an MSRP of $1495. Infocus 4805 anyone? Actually not, the NEC HT410 doesn’t have a DVI input, kind of disappointing. Also from NEC the HT510, a Native 16:9, 1024 X 576 DLP, with a suggested retail of $1995

Remote central, has a nice write-up on new remote controls announced at CEDIA, most notably the RC9800i from Philips, interestingly not branded under the Pronto name.

Obviously There was more on display than mentioned here, I’ll go through my notes and try to incorporate some of the products in up coming posts. It seems as if the good ‘ol days of really being “wowed” at a CEDIA are over. either the technology has matured enough that big changes are less frequent, or that we hear so much about them beforehand that its diminished by the time its actually seem/heard.

Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under Trade Shows