Cool HDTV Stuff at CEDIA 2007

Okay, I’m finally digging out from under all the backlog that piled up while I attended CEDIA 2007 in Denver last week. Here are few of the highlights that I feel are worth noting.

Epson has made it easy to install a professional-grade front projection system.

The first item is the new Epson Ensemble. It’s a clever combination of either their 720p or 1080p home theater front projector, plus everything you need to easily install it. You get a motorized 100″ screen that includes the left, right, and center speakers. The projector fits in a ceiling-mounted cradle that also contains speakers for the two rear surround channels. The control box includes a DVD player. It even includes wire management tracks so you can run the wires unobtrusively across the ceiling and down the wall, without having to fish for wires behind drywall. Epson estimates that it will take about four hours to for a homeowner to install the system.

Toshiba's new LCD HDTVs have thin bezels.

One of the drawbacks of LCDs and plasmas is that they have wide bezels around the screens, which can be intrusive for a room’s decor. Rear projection models have a distinct advantage in this regard. At least they did until Toshiba showed their latest REGZA models: the 40″ 40RF350U and 46″ 46RF350U. These have bezels less than1″ wide. As a result, you can fit the 40″ model in a space where only a typical 37″ LCD or plasma would fit. Both models have three HDMI inputs, and are scheduled to ship this month.

Olevia's new 65

I’ve often expressed my opinion that LCoS HDTVs have the best overall image quality of any technology, but it has always come at a steep price compared with other technologies. Syntax-Brillian has changed the game, however, with their new 665H model. This 65″ 1080p HDTV lists for $1,999, and comes with a pair of HDMI connectors and a lamp rated at 5,000 hours. It is slated to ship in the fourth quarter of this year, so keep your fingers crossed that it will be ready in time for the holiday shopping season.

Is front projection, direct view, or rear projection best for you? Find out in Professor Poor’s Guide to Buying HDTV, now available in paperback from Amazon or other fine booksellers.