Today was press day at CEDIA, which is being held in Denver this year. We heard about new front 1080p projectors, new LCD HDTVs, high-end audio products, and the 'Connected Home.' The first event today was a complete home designed by Life|Ware, HP, and Russound. It was pretty neat as there was an A/V solution for each room of the house, which was tied to blinds, lights and a security system. Everything interacts and "speaks" to everything the house. It was pretty neat. HP showed off several of their new plasma TVs, and AV media centers, and Russound handled the distributed audio throughout the home. In the coming weeks, I expect to see a technical paper from Life|Ware outlining their scenario for the 'Connected Home,' which will be posted in Digital TV DesignLine.
Next up was Stewart Filmscreen, who talked about how they design and create screen. It was noted that they are the recipient of two Academy Awards. Besides home theater use, they are used by all of the major studios. Stewart highlighted many of the technologically advanced screens. A trend in front projectors today " besides 1080p " is screens with an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 (CinemaScope), and Stewart has several offerings. Some models are even curved. To expand the home theater market, they are even offering their new StarGlas screen, which is a glass rear projection screen.
However, the highlight of press day was announcements from Panasonic, Sony, and Sharp. Panasonic introduced new 1080p projectors, and reminded everyone that they are the market leader in plasma. They will be on campaign this year educating the viewing public on 1080p resolution. They also noted that they are on schedule to introduce their Blu-ray Disc player in October. Sony, on the other hand, expanded their Bravia line of LCD HDTVs by introducing two 52-inch models starting at $6,499. Sony also introduced a new Sony ES 7.1 AV Receiver featuring HDMI 1.2a (passes DVD-Audio and SACD) at $1,400. Sony further introduced a new SXRD front projector for under $5,000. In regards to Blu-ray Disc players, Sony re-iterated that they are on track for a late October delivery of their first BD player. They did not comment about the recent announcements from PS3 except to say that it doesn't affect the stand-alone player.
We finished the day at Sharp, who held their press conference in an art gallery. Sharp equates their Aquos LCD HDTVs with art. Sharp talked about their new K-2 factory that is producing 8th generation glass. 8th generation glass panels can produce six 52-inch models or eight 46-inch models. Previously, Sharp had introduced new 46-inch and 52-inch 1080p LCD HDTVs (or LC-TVs as Sharp likes to call them). Today, they introduced a new 1080p 42-inch screen size at an unheard of price of $2,499. This made one journalist ask the question, "Is 1080p LCD displays now cheaper than 1080p plasma?" The response from Sharp was that 'inch for inch' 1080p LCD is cheaper than 1080p plasma."
And, that's the highlights of press day from CEDIA. Stay tuned for more updates and observations.