CEDIA Expo Attendance Over 17,600 – 25% of the visitors were first-time attendees, visiting the 444 exhibitors in Indianapolis, and 83 of the exhibitors were doing it for the first time. There were more than 100 CEDIA University education courses and the most-attended were those on home networking, content delivery, and emerging technologies/trends.
Multi-Room Wireless Audio – AV installers have been focusing their energies on retrofitting of existing homes, and many new wireless products shown at CEDIA make multi-room setups cleaner, faster and simpler because wires don’t have to be run thru the walls. New systems from Jamo, Proficient, Navvo Systems, SoundCast, and MusicLites were exhibited. Navvo’s Voco wireless sytem uses Wi-Fi-equipped Android tablets or smartphones as system controllers. The Proficient Zero wireless system transmitter supports up to eight tabletop amplifier/receivers and each is capable of sending stereo audio from two different sources while also sending a mono signal wirelessly to a powered subwoofer. Apple’s AirPlay technology has been incorporated into a Sony wireless Wi-Fi Home Share speaker. The portable $400 speaker has 360-degree stereo dispersion and streams music via Wi-Fi from DLNA-certified PCs and NAS drives, from wireless iPod docks, from select networked Blu-ray decks, and from some AV receivers or iPod-docking HTiBs.
Pioneer Shows Three 3D Blu-ray Disc Players – One has the Pioneer label and the other two are in the high-end Elite line, with the flagship BDP-53FD at $500. All have new feature packages, wireless capability, faster loading times and AV streaming from Pandora, YouTube and Netflix. They also have hi-def AV playback from both USB and DLNA sources, and all models feature HDMI 1.4a outputs and fullHD 1080p capability in both 2D and 3D. Standard-def videos are converted to 1080p by all three, and the latest multichannel surround sound formats are supported: DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby TrueHD and SACD. The two Elite models have Sound Retriever Link—which enhances compressed audio files, and Stream Smoother Link—which improves low bit-rate video intended originally for viewing on smartphones and tablets. Pioneer’s free app turns smartphones and tablets into fully-functioning remote controls for the players.
Montreal Musicians Sign Pact – 36 hours after signing a new musicians’ contract, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra opened in its spectacular-looking new concert hall. The musicians got a 10.5% pay increase over four years, a well as pension plan increases and a media profit-sharing arrangement. Kent Nagano is in his fifth season as OSM music director.
Thielemann Plays It Again – Christian Thielemann will soon become music director of the Dresden Staatskapelle, and he has been performing with them lesser-known composers in the German tradition. At a recent concert Busoni’s Nocturne Symphonique got a lukewarm reception, so Thielemann turned around and conducted the eight-minute piece again a second time. This time both its performance and its reception were stronger. He said “This is how one gets to know a piece.”
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