Our pal Melissa Andresko from Lutron appeared on Fox Tech Take this week to show off the company’s C•L dimmers, which are notable for their ability to smoothly, reliably, and consistently control dimmable compact fluorescent and LED bulbs as well as old-school incandescents and halogen bulbs. Also on display is Lutron’s new Maestro occupancy/vacancy sensor, as well as those cellular shades you might remember me geeking out about at last year’s CEDIA Expo.
Epson this week announced the launch of its latest 3LCD home theater projector, the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 710HD. The projector offers entertainment in 720p HD resolution.
“Whether it’s a blockbuster movie, live sporting event or videogame, the Home Cinema 710HD offers a great home entertainment experience at an affordable price,” Kristi Lanzit , product manager for Epson America, said as part of the announcement.
Last year Bang & Olufsen launched B&O Play, a sub-brand that features high quality gadgets priced a whole lot lower than what the company is traditionally known for. So far only headphones and wireless speaker systems have been released under the new name, but soon we can expect something much bigger — a TV. Speaking to FlatpanelsHD, B&O Play VP Henrik Lorensen revealed that the company will be launching a new television sometime this year. No actual details have been announced just yet, so we’re not quite sure how the new release will compare to B&O’s existing BeoVision line of high-end TVs. But at the very least you should be able to finally pick up a new Bang & Olufsen without having to spend upwards of $11,000.
Honeywell said this week that it has debuted the latest version of the Lynx Touch self-contained security system. The system includes a pair of industry firsts: Wi-Fi capability and a 4G alarm radio.
“The new Lynx Touch truly represents what today’s homeowners expect from a security system – it’s easy to use, it’s fast to install, it has the broadest breadth of communication options and it can do a lot more than just security,” Rob Puric , director of product management, Honeywell Security & Communications, said as part of the announcement.
Denon Electronics this week unveiled its new core A/V receiver line for 2012, which is available now. The line includes the 7.1-channel Model AVR -1913 (SRP: $579.99) as well as the 5.1-channel Models AVR-1713 (SRP: $449.99), AVR-1613 (SRP: $399.99) and AVR-1513 (SRP: $249.99).
“With the launch of our new core AV receiver line for 2012, we are giving more people total simplicity of setup and operation, access to online music content as well as outstanding audio and video capabilities,” Yoshinori Yamada, the company’s product manager for core products, said as part of the announcement.
For me, and countless other music lovers, I’m sure, it’s useless to resist the Dark Side known as streaming. I really want to hold a disc (and its packaging) in my hand while listening to an album, but those days are quickly coming to a close. The death knell of physical media is likely to be hastened by products such as the new integrated amplifiers from NAD. The C 375DAC and C 356DAC (really NAD’s C 375BEE and C 356BEE with MDC DACs factory installed) have been designed with streaming in mind.
Hook a Squeezebox or Sonos system up to one of these bad boys (or heck, just a plain old PC or Mac) and get ready to stream 24/96 HD music. Users will benefit from the lower levels of distortion and NAD’s PowerDrive Amplifier Technology, designed for high dynamic power and low impedance drive capability.
You’re probably thinking what I was thinking when I saw the subject line of that press release: “What the heck is an atomic preamp?” No, it doesn’t replace vacuum tubes with little nuclear reactors. (Although, seriously, how long before someone does?) The “atomic” designation comes from the fact that the Rubicon integrates Antelope Audio’s renowned 10M Rubidium atomic clock, which promises to be “100,000 times more stable than a traditional crystal oscillator.” Combine that with the company’s 64-bit Acoustically Focused Clocking technology, and the preamp boasts unprecedented levels of jitter management.
What does it actually do, though? As the rest of its name implies, Rubicon isn’t merely a Digital-to-Analog converter; it’s actually an Analog-to-Digital/Digital-to-Analog converter. Plug your turntable into the JFET phono preamp, and it samples your vinyl digitally, applying all of the same of the same digitally clockery that was used in the recording of the score for Avatar. Incoming audio from a PC or Network Attached Storage (yep, it’s a streamer, too, complete with DLNA capabilities) skips the Analog-to-Digital stage and heads straight for the 384 kHz DAC (the same technology used in the company’s flagship Zodiac Gold DAC).
Panasonic likes to truck their immense plasma screens around the country in semi trucks, but in this case, they may just need a bigger boat. The monster 145 inch self-illuminating flat-panel delivers IMAX levels of resolution to your local…. side of your house.
A new drive system eliminates the flicker plasma generates at high resolutions, and is definitely not designed for home use. At 16X the resolution of 1080p, you simply cannot comfortably sit close enough to the thing to see the advantage over 4K (and 4K requires you to have at least an 85″ set to see any gains over 1080p at average sitting distances), and the primary applications are going to be large public displays, and not private use.
Sennheiser, whose roots lie in the professional audio world, has announced the HDVD 800 digital headphone amplifier. Despite the puzzling model number, which evokes thoughts of red laser vs. blue laser, this looks like a pretty sweet piece of gear. The Germans like their products to be well-built and look good, and it looks like this offering fits both bills. It’s encased in aluminum, with a slick glass panel embedded on top so you can admire the inner workings. There’s a big knob for volume and a small rotary switch to select your input (both made of anodized aluminum). The rotary source knob is a nice throwback to amps and preamps of days gone by.
Digital sources connect to the HDVD 800 via optical or coaxial S/PDIF or USB, as well as AES/EBU. The latter piece is huge for the professional market, as any digital mixing console worth its faders has AES/EBU outputs. For the home crowd, the USB 2.0 audio standard allows 24-bit/192KHz audio. (USB support is driver-free on Mac OS X 10.5 or later; drivers are supplied for Windows XP and up.) Analog sources can connect via balanced XLR or standard RCA cables. Digital-to-analog conversion is handled by a high-quality Burr-Brown DAC. The headphone output jack is exactly as it should be on a professional device: 1/4″/6.3mm — not the 1/8″/3.5mm found on seemingly everything else in the world. A rotary gain switch on the rear allows you to adapt the amplifier output to the audio input voltage, ensuring that the full dynamic range can be utilized.