CEDIA Expo Preview Posted on September 1, 2011 By Art Feierman This blog provides a preview of new projectors expected to be introduced at the annual “Custom Electronics Design and Installation Association” (CEDIA) Expo that runs from 7 – 10 September in Indianapolis. This is the trade show where most manufacturers of home theater oriented projectors, screens, high-end audio gear and home automation systems introduce/demo their new and upcoming products for the North American market. Several of us associated with Projector Reviews will be attending the CEDIA Expo and my next blog will report on what new projectors were being shown and provide impressions from some of the demos. NOTE: My blogs will get back to providing more discussion on Sreeens for 3D Projection and of 3D Projector Technologies later in September after the next couple of blogs on news from the CEDIA Expo. Much of this CEDIA preview blog is based on information coming out of the IFA trade show that is now just getting underway (2-7 September) in Berlin, Germany. IFA is Europe’s largest consumer electronics and appliance trade show and is where many manufacturers introduce their new home theater oriented projectors for the European market. However, sometimes there are differences in the projector models being sold in Europe vs. the North American market. Even when the same model is sold in both North American and Europe the retail pricing information released at IFA for Europe cannot be directly converted into what the manufacturer will establish as the pricing for same, or equivalent, model to be sold in the USA or Canada. Below is some news as to what new home theater oriented projectors are expected from several of the major manufacturers. Some of the models being showcased at CEDIA (and IFA) have previously been announced, while other models are just now being introduced. Sony – The new Sony VPL-HW30ES is already available from dealers in the US and this new model represents Sony entry-level 3D model (Art plans to have a full review). Sony is now introducing a new mid-level model VPL-VW95ES and a high-end model VPL-VW400. The new VW95ES model appears to replace last year’s only 3D model from Sony (VW90ES) and perhaps the 2D-only model VW85. It is expected to be priced lower than than the VW90ES and will use some of the same 3D technology introduced with the VW30ES to provide improved 3D performance, with a brighter 3D image and with less 3D crosstalk (less ghosting). A new feature for Sony is the addition of lens memory with a one-button switch to widescreen 2.35 : 1 ‘scope’ aspect ratio. Previously, this is a feature that had only been offered by Panasonic. The VW95ES is expected to have a dynamic on/off contrast ratio of 150,000 : 1 with the use of a dynamic iris while other features include 2D-to-3D conversion, frame interpolation options for smooth motion in both 2D and 3D, and a built-in 3D emitter. The VW95ES is expected to be available in the October timeframe. The new VPL-VW400 is expected to be the new flagship model from Sony. It will use a Xenon lamp, as have some very high end models from Sony in the past. We don’t yet know much else about this new model, or even it Sony will be displaying it at CEDIA. I will update this blog if I get more information before the CEDIA show. Epson – Epson is expected to introduce a new series of previously rumored (HERE) 3D projectors using conventional LCD technology (as opposed to LCD reflective (LCoS) technology. Panasonic’s already announced PT-AE7000 (Art’s first look is HERE) uses LCD display chips sourced from Epson, so some of the technical specs for the new Epson projectors are the same as for the AE7000 (e.g., 480 Hz refresh rate for the LCD display chips), but some are also different (e.g., higher lumens output). Epson Pro Cinema 6010 Epson has announced 5 new projector models in three different series of projectors (in what amounts to three difference performance levels). Art has now posted his ‘first look’ on his blog (HERE). These models are in the “Home Cinema” 3010 and 5010 series and the “Pro Cinema” 6010 series. The entry-level Home Cinema 3010 is 3D capable and will retail for $1499 while the other entry level model 3010e is similar but only 2D capable but includes wireless HD support. The top Epson Pro Cinema 6010 model and the similar Home Cinema 5010 model are specified to have 2400 lumens of light output in their brightest mode (but as with prior Epson projectors the light output is expected to be much lower in a calibrated mode for accurate colors and grey scale). Further the top Pro Cinema 6010 models (in Europe called TW9000) is spec’ed to have a dynamic on/off contrast ratio of 200,000 : 1 with use of a dynamic iris. The flagship 3D models will be equipped with a 2.1 : 1 ratio Fujinon zoom lens with a wide range vertical and horizontal lens shift. These top models will feature a ISF certified color management system. A version with wireless HD connection is also available. Epson is also expected to announce the production issues for their first generation of “LCD-Reflective” (essentially Epson’s variation of LCoS technology) have now been resolved and they expect to begin shipping production versions of their line of these 2D only projectors before the end of the year. Mitsubishi – Mitsubishi is introducing their 2nd 3D projector. There first projector, model HC9000, uses Sony sourced SXRD (LCoS technology) display chips while their new model will be based on DLP technology. The new HC7800 should begin shipping in October at a lower price (expected to be about $3500) than the current HC9000. The HC7800 is expected to be rated at 1600 lumens output with a 30,000 : 1 dynamic on/off contrast ratio with use of a dynamic iris. This model offers 2D – to – 3D conversion. It has manual focus and manual zoom. Panasonic – Panasonic has already introduced their new PT-AE7000 3D projector (as reported HERE by Art) and it is expected to arrive at Panasonic dealers late this month. Panasonic is also introducing a new 1080p 2D-only model PT-AR100 (also sold as PT-AH1000 in Europe). This LCD projector features a high power 280 watts lamp (said to be a new red-rich design) and the projector is spec’ed at 2800 lumens output in brightest mode. The projector offers 7 preset picture modes including one said to match the HDTV colorspace standard of Rec. X709 (which has the potential of providing accurate out-of-the-box colorspace). It includes a 2 : 1 zoom lens with both vertical and horizontal lens shift. It has a rated 50,000 : 1 dynamic on/off contrast ratio with use of a dynamic iris. The projector includes a color management system allowing for color calibration and a frame interpolation feature for smooth motion. This new model is expected to begin shipping in October 2011. JVC – JVC will be introducing 5 new projector models under their professional series of projectors. Three of the models are expected to be direct replacements for the current 3D models DLA-RS40, DLA-RS50 and DLA-RS60. The flagship model will be a 4K resolution model (i.e., with approx. 8 Mpixel total resolution). It is not yet clear where the 5th new model will fit into JVC’ s new projector line-up. JVC is not expected to release any specific information on these new projectors until their press event on Thursday morning (Sept. 8th) at CEDIA. There are some unconfirmed reports that one or more of the new JVC models will include lens memory, similar to that being offered on the new Panasonic PT-AE7000 and Sony VPL-VW95ES 3D projectors. Optoma – Optoma is not expected to be showing their new projectors at the CEDIA Expo. Art has already posted a Review of the HD33 and the new flagship model HD83 is expected to be release very soon and a review of that model is planned. Acer – Acer is not expected to be showing their new projectors at the CEDIA Expo, but they did introduce a new 1080p 3D projector at IFA. This new Acer model is the 9500BD (at least that’s the model number in Europe) and unlike some other DLP based 3D projectors, this Acer model includes lens shift (making placement of the projector relative to the screen position a lot more flexible). This Acer model includes 2D – to – 3D conversion and offers frame interpolation for smooth motion. This is expected to be a budget model as far as 1080p 3D projectors is concerned. There is no information if or when this model (or the equivalent) will be sold in North America nor what the pricing would be. However, based on information from IFA it is expected to sell for somewhat more than Optoma’s entry-level 3D model HD33, but for a much lower price than any of the other DLP 3D projectors announced so far that include lens shift (such as the soon-to-be-released Optoma HD83). _______________________________________ My next blog will focus on news from the CEDIA show.