With over 150 companies backing out of CEDIA we were left without a show. However some companies were nice enough to hold a virtual event to show off product. Sony and SVS were also going to host a AVS Forum Members Only Event for everyone. So it was especially depressing to miss out on the real deal, but the virtual event was extremely educational. We ended up seeing multiple product that peaked our interest and were worthy of a BEST OF CEDIA 2021 AWARD.

These products really stood out to us and thus won Best of 2021 CEDIA Awards from us even for a virtual event (we invested in the physical awards which the manufacturers will receive, well before companies started backing out of the event). Thanks to all of the companies of the events and their hosts who were full of information.

While this review will focus on these products the entire line ups were shown off to us at the virtual events. There were many products from a lot of companies that looked exceptional but have already received press and sadly unlike a real CEDIA EVENT we were unable to accidentally fall upon some neat new product or company that you find from walking the convention.


So while it was a depressing week and we were unable to visit Indianapolis and enjoy CEDIA we were able to be shown some neat stuff that was worthy of being mentioned on here and give them some awards to try and make up for another year without a show!

Sony delivered an exceptional Virtual CI Live! Event broadcast from their West Coast showroom.

Two TV Lines really popped with their specs and looked good enough to request immediate review samples of. These two sets were the XR-100X92A and the XR-Z9J lineup. The first is of course a $19,999 MSRP 100 inch 4K HDR flat panel. That finally brings 100 inch sets into the "should I have this or a 100 inch projector setup" conversation as a legitimate option. These are two of our award winners and I will break down those TVs soon as we requested review samples (can you tell I want to get my hands on them?)

The third award winner was for the Sony HT-A9 Home Theater System which we also requested a review of. This consists of 4 speakers and the ability to add one of two wireless subwoofers and a "receiver" that processes the surround sound and converts it to Sony's 360 Spatial Sound Mapping. Sony has been working for years on this technology and I can't wait to get my hands on this unique setup and hear what it sounds like.


Besides Sony, Ascendo Immersive Audio held a little event for us. They recently had a video get popular on the internet packing up our next AWARD WINNER. It's their 50 inch subwoofer the SMSG50. The video consisted of just a few seconds of a forklift packing up the subwoofer into its crate to be shipped to the States and the show. That video had over 4 million views the last I looked.

So what is the point of this 50 inch sub? It provides infrasonic "sound" to a Home Theater. This is stuff in the 6HZ to 20HZ range that we FEEL more than we hear. While I have yet to hear the 50, I have heard its smaller sibling the 32 inch subwoofer. That subwoofer shocked me with how much subtlety it adds to a viewing experience. It adds DEPTH to a soundtrack and that is no lie, and this larger 50 inch version should be even more revealing. I've been invited to an event during CEDIA's Tech Summit in Houston in November to witness this beast in action and I can't wait. Sadly, the wife wouldn't allow me to have it reviewed at our home (plus the logistics!).


The folks at Kaleidescape were one of the companies that DID NOT back out of CEDIA. However, they were nice enough to give us an hour of their time and give us a Google Meet look at their Booth. Kaleidescape came out with two new products at the show, including another one of our Award winners their new Terra 12TB server. This is their smallest server and it comes in a nice compact form. It offers increased download speed (4 times faster than the Strato S), among other features. We are psyched to review this new server.

The guys over at JVC also earned a Best of Show Award. They are releasing a whole new line of laser based D-ILA native 4K HDR units that also have 8K e-shift. E-shift has taken a leap forward in tech, and is now capable of true 8K performance. It can display 8K signals in actual full 8K pixels unlike past e-shift models which had half the pixels. That technology starts on their middle of the line projector the NZ8, which is our award winner with a $14,999 MSRP price point (the entry level using old e-shift is $9,999 and the new flagship of the NZ lineup is $24,999). We can't wait to get our hands on these projectors!

Meanwhile over at Seymour Screen Excellence, Chris Seymour has released an AT version of their amazing Ambient Visionaire and that is truly worthy of a Best of Show Award. The Ambient Visionaire (review upcoming) has been the best tested (by third party) ambient light rejecting screen that I am aware of and now it comes in a micro perf format. For anyone who knows Seymour they know this is a big deal. Their bread and butter is the AT screen and they've been known for their amazing weave solution. So for them to use a micro perf is a big deal, and it must meet Seymour's strict PQ requirements.

Samsung meanwhile also has some neat new product coming out that was more than worthy of a Best of Show Award (three in fact). The first to mention is that their extremely popular Frame lineup will now have an 85 inch variant. Yes, you read that right. Samsung will now be offering the Frame TV at 85 inches! This new generation of the Frame sees performance increases in the PQ category and that only makes this unit look even more enticing!

Samsung also announced a 65 inch version of their Terrace outdoor TVs including this unit built to handle the sun! Outdoor TVs have long been a niche product, but with this unit Samsung is hoping more people will be willing to watch outside especially due to the PQ on this amazing set. We have requested one for review (before we move to the ski slopes of New Mexico) and plan on seeing how it performs in the Texas heat.

Finally Samsung wins for The Wall. The Wall has always been impressive. I have spent a lot of time with the 165 inch version in the Dallas, TX showroom Samsung has at the World Trade Center in Dallas. That set up amazed me with its deep blacks and overall PQ in a huge setup. The new version is even better! It's also now available in 8K. I can't wait to see that version and get time with the wonderful team at Samsung. I hope to visit one of their labs before the end of the year to get a hands on.


Finally the guys over at Aragon finally came out with their Titanium amp which is a Dual Monoblock amp capable of Class A/B 200 watts per channel. I would say more, but its an amp. It looks beautiful just like the other Aragon amplifiers. I have of course requested a review sample. If it's just an amp then why the award? Well, Aragon doesn't release amps annually. So when they come out with something it's a big deal. The flagship Iridium which the Titanium is based on is a true audiophile beast. Indy Labs extending the Aragon Elements amplifier lineup is big news with likely big sound and I can't wait to demo!

This article will be updated because a lot of new things came out and we haven't been able to visit with everyone like we would have if CEDIA had happened like normal. As an example Sound United has a lot of new stuff out like the B&W 800 series getting a whole new shakeup in their new D4 versions. I am getting a dive into Sound United's offerings next week. So with them and others reaching out look for this article to get updated.

It is also sad that we will not be handing out any Awards for best Demo. That is always one of the most fun things at CEDIA is experiencing product. In 2019 Trinnov wowed the show floor and their demo had a 45 minute wait at best (normally 2 hours) during the entire show! This year Seymour Screen Excellence had combined with Ascendo, Storm Audio, Barco, and Row One to demo. That was a room I really was looking forward to hearing (Trinnov and others weren't going to demo).

So to finish this up a final congrats to our Award Winners: Aragon, Ascendo Immersive Audio, JVC Kaleidescape, Samsung, Seymour Screen Excellence and Sony.