By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
More than 560 companies exhibited at this week's CEDIA Expo to unveil new products for home theater, stereo and distributed audio applications.
Here are just a few of the product announcements made at the Expo:
AudioControl launched its latest preamp/processor, the $2,399-suggested Maestro M2, a value version of the existing Maestro.
The step-up Maestro is positioned as a no-holds-barred device using better internal components for superior audio and video processing. The M2 is laden with features such as HDMI switching, up-conversion of composite and S video to component, and an RDS-equipped AM/FM tuner.
The M2 incorporates multiple surround decoders including Dolby Pro Logic IIx, which creates a 6.1- and 7.1-channel sound field from stereo, Dolby Surround and 5.1-channel sources.
Neither unit up-scales DVD-Video to HD.
Boston Acoustics said it postponed plans to offer a distributed audio system based on the automotive MOST-network standard while it works with D&M, its new owner, to coordinate distributed audio activities among all of D&M's brands, Boston Acoustics said.
Carver Digital unveiled a home theater processor, a home theater amp, three two-channel amps and two powered subs. The $3,495-suggested HTP 9.1 processor features music surround modes that convert stereo to five- to nine-channel surround. The $2,995 home theater amp accommodates up to seven mono block amp modules, each capable of delivering 200 watts into 8 ohms or 400 watts into 2 ohms. The three M series two-channel amps drive 4-ohm loads; can bridge to mono; and are priced at a suggested $1,699, $1,899 and $2,199. Power outputs start at 2x95 watts into 8 ohms and 2x150 watts into 4 ohms. The top model delivers 2x300 watts into 8 ohms and 2x600 watts into 4 ohms.
EchoStar unveiled a thin client that uses HomePlug powerline networking to connect to a home's main EchoStar satellite set-top box, control its music channels, display the channels' metadata and stream the music through a home's powerlines to a connected stereo systems or tabletop radio.
Harman Kardon launched multiple DVD players, including its first two universal models and its first with HD/up-scaling HDMI output.
The $399-suggested DVD 47 and $349 DVD 37 are universal models, the former adding the up-scaling HDMI output. They also play MP3- and WMA-encoded CDs, Kodak Picture CDs and JPEG-encoded CDs.
The DVD-receiver in the new HS 100 HTiB at a suggested $899 plays DVD-Audio discs and CDs encoded with MP3, WMA and JPEG files. The 5x35-watt receiver comes with four two-way wall-mountable satellite speakers, a two-way center channel, and a subwoofer.
Lagotek of Bellevue, Wash., demonstrated a home-control platform based on the Z-Wave low-power, 9.6kbps mesh-network protocol, which delivers two-way wireless-remote control over lighting, appliances, garage-door openers, thermostats and other home systems from LCD touch pads wired into a home's existing light switches.
Lamps and appliances are controlled via Z-Wave power outlets that replace a home's standard power outlets. Other home systems are controlled wirelessly when connected to a wireless interface hub. The system would allow A/V system control through the touch pads, which would also display music metadata. Zykronix, an OEM, offers a finished hardware design to suppliers.
NAD's first universal DVD player, the M55 at a suggested $1,799, features HDMI and component-video outputs with Faroudja DCDi chip that up-scale DVD to 720p and 1,080i HD formats.
NHT replaced its Super Audio line of value-priced, high-performance speakers with the NHT Classis series of acoustic suspension models. The eight-SKU series isn't a "rehash of old designs" and sports improved cosmetics, accuracy and performance, the company said. More three-way designs, for example, are included in the new series than in the Super Audio series. Suggested retails are $200 and $250 each for the series's two two-way bookshelf models, $400 each for a three-way bookshelf, $1,800 for a pair of four-way towers, three-way center channels at $450 and $600 each, and powered subs at $600 and $850 each.
Paradigm showed its UltraCube 10 powered subwoofer, which packs a 10-inch driver and 650-watt constinuoiys Class D amp into an enclosure that's 12.3 inches by 11.5 inches by 11.5 inches. The suggested retail is $799 in black ash.
Parasound unveiled its first two universal DVD players, including a $1,500-suggested model in its Classic series and a more expensive Halo-series model with such upgrades as aluminum front panels and balanced-audio outputs.
PSB targeted flat-screen owners with the VisionSound series of enclosed speakers due in November. The $749-each VS400 is a floorstander, and the $999-each VS300 is designed for wall-mounting next to 42-inch and larger flat-panel displays. The VS300's included wall-mount bracket becomes a center-channel stand when two feet are added. Another option turns the speaker into a tabletop minitower. Both speakers feature extruded-aluminum enclosure and 4-inch woofers to maintain a svelte look.
Triad downsized with the introduction of its first Mini LCR speaker, available in the fall in in-ceiling, in-wall and component-style versions at $450, $500 and $550 each, respectively. They're the company's smallest speaker to date. The two-way speakers feature 4.5-inch woofer and silk-dome tweeter. They're intended for tight-fitting applications, including installation between 12-inch on-center ceiling joists. The in-wall and in–ceiling versions, like other Triad architectural speakers, feature sealed-enclosure cabinets to prevent bleed-through to other rooms; tune response; and protect the drivers and crossovers from moisture, dust, and construction debris.
Watt Stopper, the lighting supplier and sister company of OnQ, announced an in-wall/tabletop touch screen to control its lighting systems and a contact-closure interface that enables systems such as alarms to activate its lighting systems.
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