CES 2004 : Theta Digital

9 janvier 2004

Ou l'art d'aimer les belles électroniques

Le constructeur americain Theta, présent comme tous les ans au CES, dévoile cette année encore, une nouvelle série de produits consacrés au marché du Home Cinéma.
Ce manufacturier Haute couture, qui peut se targuer d'évoluer simultanément et allègrement sur la vague de la haute Fidélité et du Cinéma chez soi présente au public de Las Vegas : le Casablanca III un processeur audio video High End équipé des dernières evolutions en matière de décodage et de traitement Multi canal, et le Compli Universal Player, un lecteur de DVD de salon universel bâti autour d'une architecture de haute qualité.

Communiqués de presse

Processeur Casablanca III CES 2004, LAS VEGAS, Jan. 8, 2004 Theta Digital, long acclaimed as America's most advanced manufacturer of high-end digital audio and video products, introduces the Casablanca III Music and Cinema Controller to the consumer market at CES 2004, beginning today in Las Vegas.

Casablanca III is the latest version of Theta's highly innovative, highly flexible series of surround processors. The new model offers significant improvements in versatility, speed and customization. Like earlier Casablanca models, it eliminates the need for owners to choose between audiophile music reproduction and video-based surround sound.

Among the Casablanca III's innovations is an all-new operating system that enhances operating functions with lightning-fast response times, and DVD-Audio and SACD options not possible on the earlier Casablanca models. The new operating system, redesigned from the ground up, is rock stable and easier than ever to upgrade and reconfigure. It provides a foundation for many new features introduced in the Casablanca III and under development for future release. 

Casablanca III offers exceptional configuration flexibility, in part through Theta's 12-Channel Surround Processing, which provides speaker and amplifier configurations for up to 8.4 channels, and through the controller's ability to allow any of its 18 audio inputs and up to 10 video inputs to be routed to any or all of 12 input selectors, each of which can have up to six audio and six video sources routed to it.

Central to Casablanca III is Theta's classic Open Architecture. As in earlier Casablanca models, the processor's motherboard provides for all signal routing, while various daughter boards carry function-specific circuitry. This design philosophy, which Theta pioneered in the original Casablanca, allows installers to configure and upgrade the Casablanca to meet the personal needs of each owner.

In Casablanca III, the open-architecture component takes customization to a new level, providing literally hundreds of crossover choices (including phase-perfect and Linkwitz-Riley) that facilitate the Casablanca?s exquisite ability to tailor sound for specific environments and speaker set-ups.

While the controller's standard and optional features are too numerous to fully detail in this space, several offer particular value. For example, Casablanca III features Theta's Center Spread which corrects for theater sound mixes when played back in the home; as well as expanded compatibility with popular surround sound processes.

Casablanca III also features Theta?s new Dolby Digital/DTS/Circle Surround II Combination Card (see accompanying release), which incorporates all current Dolby® and DTS processes, including Dolby Digital EX®, Dolby Pro Logic IIx®, DTS/96/24 and the new DTS Extended Surround® (DTS-ES), in both Matrix and Discrete 6.1. versions as well as Circle Surround II Multichannel Audio Decoding.

Circle Surround II can decode up to 6.1 channels of audio from two-channel sources for a Home Theater experience from many formats, including mono, stereo, Dolby Surround®, down-mixed Dolby Digital® and DTS. It accurately decodes surround material with true center-channel dialog isolation and outstanding separation among the rear channels. Casablanca III uses Circle Surround II-based code to derive Theta's Center Surround channel, enhancing this standard feature.

Included in the Casablanca III is Theta's proprietary Jitter Jail circuitry, which virtually eliminates jitter. The circuitry stores digital audio samples in a buffer and reclocks them to the DACs using a high-quality crystal oscillator. The resulting ultra-precise digital audio suffers none of the problems associated with lesser systems.

Casablanca III is also equipped to receive six-channel analog signals from DVD-A and SACD sources via Theta's new Six Shooter, a robot multi-channel audiophile analog preamplifier (see accompanying release) controlled by the surround processor. With volume controls made from individual high-quality metal-film resisters, and both differential balanced and single-ended connections, the Six Shooter provides seamless volume control from either the Casablanca III, and will shortly be equipped to provide the same for Theta's Casa Nova Music and Cinema Controller.

CRYSTAL set-up software makes setting up Casablanca III a very user-friendly process for professional installers, leading to faster installations. CRYSTAL is a PC-based program that offers all set-up features in convenient pull-down menus, and allows users to type in names for jacks and input buttons. The standard RS-232 serial port on the Casablanca III can be connected to the PC running the program.

Clad in ebony or, optionally, in Theta's classic platinum chassis, either as a rack-mount or standalone component, the Casablanca III is available now from authorized Theta dealers at suggested pricing from $8,000 to $20,000, depending on configuration.

Compli Universal Player
CES 2004, LAS VEGAS, Jan. 8, 2004 Theta Digital, acclaimed as America's most advanced manufacturer of high-end digital audio and video products, introduces the remarkably versatile Compli Universal Player to the consumer market at CES 2004, beginning today in Las Vegas.

Combining a high-quality DVD and CD transport with state-of-the-art processing, the Theta Compli comes as close to serving as a universal format source component as A/V technology allows. The Compli's combination of sophistication and exceptional versatility provides listeners with a high-level solution to many of the challenges posed by technology's multiplying listening and viewing formats.

With Compli, the long wait for a high-quality universal format player has finally ended, said Theta President Neil Sinclair. ?Its unique blend of uncompromised performance, flexibility and advanced technology make it ideal for any high-end home theater or home entertainment application.

The Compli plays material formatted for more than 15 popular audio, video, image and content formats. These include DVD-Audio, DVD-Video, DVD-R, DVD-RW, SACD, Audio CD, Video CD, CD-R, CD-RW, Photo CD, DVD-RAM, DVD-ROM and CD-ROM. The Compli is also compatible with CD-R/RW, DVD-R/RW and MP3 formatted material, with some restrictions.

The Compli features six-channel analog audio outputs, and digital outputs for PCM, DTS and Dolby Digital. It comes supplied with RS232 control, and with Composite, S-Video, Component and 480p video outputs.

It also comes equipped Theta's proprietary, High-Speed Digital Interface. Designed for Theta's two-channel Generation VIII Digital-to-Analog Converter, the interface will enable DVD-A and SACD playback. In keeping with Theta's approach to product development, Compli's High-Speed Digital Interface will connect with high-speed input options coming out later this year for Theta's Casablanca and Casa Nova Music and Cinema Controllers.

Options for Compli include a Serial Digital Interface (SDI) and Theta's Ultra Sync II 480p-output board using Faroudja Labs Directional Correlational Deinterlacing® (DCDi®) technology. The SDI keeps the signal in the digital domain, rather than subject it to further conversions to analog and back again. This avoids major sources of degradation, which can be noticeable in high-definition video systems.

SDI's purer digital signal is especially effective in enhancing picture quality on flat-panel plasma screens and from digital video projectors. SDI is not distance limiting like other digital video transmission methods.

The Ultra Sync II option uniquely eliminates the staircasing or jagged-edge artifacts often visible along the diagonal edges in video generated by conventional upconverters. It does so by adjusting each pixel in each moving edge in a scene to align with the movement, instead of crossing it. The result is a smoother, more film-like, more engaging image.

Encased in a handsome black chassis with a silver or black front panel, the Theta Compli Universal Player is available now from authorized Theta dealers for a suggested price of $4,500.


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