The annual CEDIA trade show always happens in September, and it just wrapped up yesterday in Atlanta, GA. Many of the new home theater projectors for the fall season are shown at CEDIA for the first time.
This year attendance was down due to the slow economy. CEDIA says it was down 12%, but it felt like more than that. Lines waiting to see demos were short or non-existent, there were no excessive crowds to elbow through, and the level of noise on the exhibit hall floor seemed muted compared to previous shows. All of that was good news for those of us who were there to walk the halls and see the new releases.
The two most striking developments in the world of home theater projectors were further increases in contrast and a proliferation of frame interpolation technology. Epson again wins the contrast spec war with official contrast ratings up to 200,000:1 on their new Home Cinema 8500 UB and Pro Cinema 9500 UB. Meanwhile, Sony’s new VPL-VW85 is rated at 120,000:1, the Vivitek H9080HD announced a few months ago is 100,000:1, the JVC RS35 is 70,000:1, and Sony’s VPL-VW15 is 60,000:1. Of course, selecting a projector based on contrast rating is no way to buy. Actual contrast can look much different on screen than the contrast rating would lead you to believe, and projectors with lower ratings can sometimes appear higher in contrast than those with higher ratings. But overall, contrast performance has been improved across the board by almost every vendor.
Last year Panasonic, Sanyo, and Epson introduced the first projector products to incorporate frame interpolation systems. Frame interpolation is designed to smooth out panning motion and reduce image blur. The technology involves the creation and insertion of interim frames between real frames of video. As such it is controversial, but when done right it can look outstanding. So we were curious to see how many other vendors would incorporate frame interpolation capability on their new 1080p models this year.
The answer … many more vendors have embraced it. Various implementations of frame interpolation have appeared under different marketing names. It is called FrameCreation by Panasonic, SmoothMotion by Sanyo, FineFrame by Epson, Clear Motion by JVC, and Motionflow by Sony, but it is all similar in concept. The new Epson models have a much more advanced system than that which appeared on their first units earlier this year. In addition, new projectors being released this month with frame interpolation include the Infocus SP8602, the JVC RS15, RS25, and RS35, the Sony VPL-VW85, and the Vivitek H5080.
We are busy posting press releases and all of the new models into the database. We should have most of them posted by tomorrow night.