CEDIA Expo 2016 – Day 2
This blog presents more information from CEDIA Expo 2016. I’ve included information on new Epson projectors from my visit to their booth late on the first day, but too late to include in my Day 1 blog. My two previous blogs (i.e., Day 0 and Day 1) are at the following link:
Epson had two demo rooms with their new Pro Cinema LS10500 in one and the Pro Cinema 6040UB (equivalent to Home Cinema 5040UB) in the other. We have already reviewed the 6040UB/5040UB models – HERE. The LS10500 (photo below) replaces the LS10000 and the price remains $7,999. As with the prior version, the LS10500 uses a laser light engine, Liquid Crystal on Quartz (a variation of LCOS) micro display chips and pixel shifting to provide a 4K-lite image. The new model is rated at 1500 lumens of light output, the same as the earlier model. The main upgrade has been adding support for 4K/UHD content with High Dynamic Range (HDR). Remember the LS10000 was introduced two years ago at CEDIA and that was before the Ultra HD Blu-ray specification was even complete. So the upgrades in this new version appear to be aimed at making the projector more fully compatible with that new disc format as well as some of the 4K streaming video services that are now offering 4K/UHD programming with HDR. Wide Color Gamut (WCG) out to the digital cinema standard (DCI-P3) is also supported by both the original and new versions of these projectors. In viewing the demo of the LS10500 the projected image looked excellent with a 4K/UHD source video. There was little evidence of HDR benefits in the material being displayed however. I felt this demo was more convincing that the Epson demo from CEDIA Expo two years ago at the introduction of the original LS10000.
Epson also introduced a line of new Home Cinema 3000 series projectors (i.e., HC3100, HC3700 and HC3900). These 1080p models fall below Epson’s UB series of home theater line of projectors. The Epson Home Cinema 3900 is the higher end of the 3000 series and is shown in the photo below.
This model is rated at a bright 2700 lumens of light output and a respectable 120,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, but much less in native contrast than Epson’s UB series of home theater projectors. This model does include manual lens shift adjustments and carries a retail price of $1999. Art has already posting a write-up (HERE) on the three new models in the Home Cinema 3000 series, with prices starting at $1299,
JVC (more info)
I visited the JVC booth again today and was able to gain more information on certain of the technical aspects of JVC’s new DLA-RS4500 projector. For my original posting on the RS4500 see my Day 1 blog (link above). Below are answers to a few questions I asked of a JVC technical representative that I spoke to.
The units being displayed are prototypes and certain technical specs will not be known until production units/components become available (November). One specific example is the native contrast ratio. The 4K DILA display chips used in the prototypes are engineering samples while the production DILA chips are expected to perform somewhat different, probably better, than the current units.
On the subject of iris and laser modulation, I was informed that the RS4500 has a dual iris arrangement, similar to that of the current RS500 and RS600 projectors, with one iris between the light source and the DILA display panels and the second being a lens iris. These can be set to fixed positions or operated in an automatic/dynamic mode, again similar to the current RS500 and RS600 projectors. The RS4500 also adds the function to dynamically dim, or modulate, the light output of the laser light source.
The rated 20,000 hour life for the lasers and phosphor targets was confirmed to be for when the projector’s lasers are operated in full (high) power mode and the life of the lasers is expected to be longer when operating the lasers in a lower power mode.
The following photos are of the DLA-RS4500 as displayed at the JVC booth.
Vivitek was another projector manufacturer displaying a prototype (or really an engineering unit) single chip DLP 4K projector. This engineering unit has not been given a model number and production units are not expected to begin shipping until the spring of 2017. This projector uses a laser light engine and interchangeable lenses. This unit being displayed was equipped with a short throw lens and a mirror assembly in a configuration with the projector positioned below the screen. A number of the functions on the projector were not yet implemented. It will use the same lenses that Vivitek already sells for use on some of their exiting projectors and the expected retail price for the projector (less lens) is in the $20,000 range with lenses starting in the $1000 range. Below are some photos of this Vivitek projector.
Digital Projection was the third manufacturer that I found at CEDIA Expo that was demo’ing a single chip DLP 4K projector. This new model is expected to begin shipping in the April 2017 timeframe. It is expected to sell for about $20,000 and offer an 8000 lumen light output output. It uses as laser light engine along with TI’s single display chip. The display model was a prototype and the final production units may have some additional capabilities.
I met up with Manuel Hernanez from Monoprice and discussed the situation with active HDMI cables supporting the full 18 Gbps HDMI 2.0 data rates. A number of home theater owners or installers have issues in getting reliable signal connections between Ultra HD Blu-ray players (and certain other 4K steaming video devices) and their 4K capable projectors. This usually occurs for only the most demanding 4K signal formats, such as 2160p @ 60Hz and using 4:4:4 or RGB chrome format, which operate at data rates very near the 18 Gbps limit of the HDMI 2.0 standard. Manuel informed me that the real issue has been with the chipsets used in the active HDMI cables, which are frequently generating handshake issues between the 4K source device and the 4K display device and the result is a loss of the connection. Specter 7 is working on a new chipset and this new generation of chips will be fully compliant with HDMI 2.0 with HDCP 2.2 connectivity for the most demanding 4K signal formats. The new chipsets are expected to become available within a few months and Monoprice expects to be offering a new series of active cables in lengths of 25 ft. up to 75 ft. starting in early 2017.
Monoprice has their new Premium High Speed series of passive HDMI cables already available that are certified for 18 Gbps at lengths up to 20 ft. For longer lengths the upcoming series of active cables will be Monoprice’s solution.
Not to totally ignore the audio side of home theater, I would like to briefly mention a new AV receiver from Denon that caught my attention. It is the model AVR-X6300H, which replaces last year’s AVR-X6200W. While last year’s model would decode Dolby ATMOS and DTS-X (and Auro 3D as an extra cost upgrade) up to 7.1.4 channel format (basically 7.1 surround layout plus forward and rear pairs of ceiling speakers), it only had 9 amplifier channels. This meant that an outboard 2-channel amplifier was needed to go beyond a 7.1.2 channel setup. The new model includes a full 11 channels of amplification, with 140W per channel, and also adds support for HEOS wireless connective to a range of other products from the D&M group (Denon’s parent company). There of 8 HDMI 2.0a w/HDCP 2.2 inputs compatible with the latest 4K/UHD video sources. The price remains the same as its predecessor at $2199. Below are photos of the front and rear of the AVR-X6300H.
Oppo is a manufacturer of disc players that are very popular with home theater owners. While Oppo did not have a booth at CEDIA there was a private showing of its first Ultra HD Blu-ray player (photo below).
The Oppo model UDP-203 is expected to sell for $499 when it comes to market at the end of this year. The player includes dual HDMI outputs (one for video and one for connection to a legacy AVR for the audio), one HDMI input, 7.1 channel analog output, three USB 3.0 ports (2 rear and one front panel), plus coaxial and optical digital audio output connections. The player will support HDR-10.
Among the new screens and screen materials introduced at CEDIA Expo, I was impressed with a new ambient light rejecting screen material from Stewart. The new Phantom HALR(TM) material has gain (on axis) of 1.0 and a half gain viewing angle of +/- 30 degrees. It is a standout among ambient light rejecting screens because colors are displayed accurately rather than introducing a visible color shift as happens with many competing screens.