AWE Expo autumn 2015 review and Photo Gallery

posted on Thursday, 29th October 2015 by Steve May

4K  AWE Europe  Showrooms  Dolby Atmos 


AWE opened the doors to its Epsom HQ this week, offering integrators an early hands-on with some of the most eagerly anticipated new home entertainment hardware. The popular open day format was augmented with an end of play Hog Roast, which certainly hit the spot.

Loewe used the event to introduce 75- and 85-inch interations of its spectacular Reference 4K LED screen. Joining the Reference 55, the new screens have immaculate built quality and a host of high-end features, from a 120w soundbar audio system to a built-in 1TB hard drive for recording and sharing content. They also boast a variety of connectivity options, with wireless networking, Bluetooth, RS232 with a growing selection of drivers and a range of interfaces to suit every installation.

Also attracting plenty of attention was the new Panasonic 4K OLED, the TX-65CZ950. The set had actually arrived the morning of the Expo’s first day, and went from box to display without any significant tuning – yet the picture looked stunning. It’s this kind of out of the box high-end performance that will guarantee it trade approval. “I think it’s safe to say this is the best TV picture you can get,” declared MD Stuart Tickle. “It puts Panasonic back at the top when it comes to image quality.”




Perhaps the biggest coup for AWE was the first UK demonstration of DTS:X, the latest object based sound system to rival Dolby Atmos. The distributor had acquired an early Beta of the firmware, installed here on a Denon AVR-X7200W AVR, with additional amplification coming from a Marantz MM8077 power amp.

The AWE cinema itself is spectacular. Essentially a £30K equipment spend, it easily outperforms any mid-range expectations. The speaker deployment is 7.5.4 with KEF architectural speakers throughout – the L/C/R is KEF Ci5160RL-THX, with four Ci3160RL-THX performing surround duties, and four Ci200RR-THX models in the ceiling for the height component. There are no less than five KEF Ci3160RLb in-wall subs. “There are no standing waves in this room at all,” says designer James Drummie proudly. Cosmetically, the room features acoustic paneling built by the AWE team, Philips Dynalite LED lighting and Front Row seating.

Images are courtesy of the Epson EH-LS10000 laser projector and a 133-inch Draper Ultimate Access Series V electric screen – Draper is a new signing for AWE (“A great brand that doesn’t have the profile it deserves in the UK,” says Tickle). Behind the screen is a Samsung 88-inch JS9500 9 Series curved 4K screen.

AWE played a selection of DTS:X material, both movies and music. All benefitted from coherent 360 degree imaging and a terrific sense of immersion. The codec also does a decent job of dimensionalising standard DTS HD MA mixes. The arrival of DTS to the 3D audio scene can only help raise awareness for immersive audiences, and will make the building of Atmos-style cinemas the industry standard in 2016.

Looking forward, Stuart Tickle predicts that the nascent Smart Home market and the Internet of Things is where the greatest opportunities lie. The potential for the sector is huge he believes.  “There’s a lack of awareness as to what makes a good connected home, so training is key,” he says. “Electricians are best placed to do smart lighting systems – in the future lighting is likely to move to low voltage over cat cable. Retailers moving into the market with low cost Smart Home systems is also going to expand the trade massively. I think there’s around 10,000 electricians, satellite guys out there to drive the Smart Home business…the traditional CI market is just 1250.” However, Tickle adds that "the core CI market is central to our strategy and remains a core focus."

For more stories about the products and services offered by AWE, visit our partner page here. For more, fire up our Photo Gallery below.

Steve May

Inside CI Editor Steve May is a freelance technology specialist who also writes for T3TechRadarHome Cinema Choice, Trusted Reviews and The Luxe Review.

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