When you’re ready to build that home theater you’ve always dreamed about, I have the perfect television centerpiece. Panasonic’s high-definition HD plasma TV checks in with a 103-inch diagonal image.
The TV was the big attraction in Panasonic’s booth last week at CEDIA, the annual trade show in Indianapolis for home-theater designers and installers. The TV will display 3D video from Blu-ray discs or other sources. It weighs about 400 pounds and comes with a $65,000 price tag.
Too steep for your budget? Sony showed a new video projector coming in December that will cost a mere $25,000. It can display a picture that’s about twice the size of the Panasonic TV.
The Sony box is the first projector or TV to display images at 4096 x 2160 pixels. That’s about four times the pixel count of the image from a Blu-ray disc and 20 times the resolution of a standard DVD. It’s in essence the same resolution used by Sony’s professional digital movie cameras and in commercial movie theaters that have digital projectors.
But here’s the rub: There’s no 4K source material available for consumers. Unless you have the same equipment Sony uses to shoot feature films like “Straw Dogs,” you won’t get the benefit of that super-sharp video.
Sony says it wants to explore extending the resolution standard for Blu-ray discs. And, as one Sony rep put it, “You have to start somewhere.”
Some of the other new products that were generating buzz at CEDIA:
A new soundbar from Atlantic Technology that produces deep and rich-sounding audio from a pair of 4-inch drivers and no subwoofer. Atlantic’s developers said the magic is in the 42-inch-long cabinet and digital surround processing. The H-PAS Powerbar 235 will be available this fall for $599.
The Premier Elite set top box from TiVo mixes broadcast and Internet content into a single interface. Netflix and YouTube are merged seamlessly with NBC and ESPN in TiVo’s on-screen grid. The box holds up to 300 hours of recordings; with four tuners, you can watch one show while recording four others. It’s $499.
Musiclites will turn any standard light socket into a loudspeaker. The device combines a Sylvania LED lightbulb with a small wireless speaker that picks up sound from a transmitter plugged into a computer, smart phone or TV. A remote control will dim the lights and adjust the volume. A starter kit with a transmitter and one bulb costs $350; adding a second bulb for stereo costs another $250.