Sharp showed two new LCD sets – 32 (LC-32GP1U, $1,700) and 37-inch (LC-37GP1U, $2,000) – specifically designed towards gamers. Called the Game Players Series, they employ Sharp’s Vyper Drive that reduces visual lag time from console to screen to “imperceptible levels.” A Game Mode button enables the new expanded side terminals (including HDMI and component) for quick change between regular television duties and games. As with all the new Sharp LCD’s, these have a 120 hertz refresh that clears up a lot of the motion blur issues inherent to LCD’s. Oh yeah, it’s also 1080p.
Sometime in the next six months, InFocus will release its Play Big In1 – a $500 entry priced projector. The projector can connect to one of two base units. The first has a built in DVD player and two speakers. The second is their gaming dock that has two speakers as well, plus all the connections you’d need to connect a game system like Nintendo’s Wii. There’s also a mirrored attachment that lets you project the image on the ceiling (they got the idea from kids saying they wanted to play their games while lying down in bed). Manufacturer specs list 500 lumens and 1,500:1 contrast ratio. How is this only $500? It only handles 480p.
Ever want to show someone the barrel of the wave you just caught? GoPro’s Digital Hero 3 allows you to do just that. The 4.5 ounce, waterproof camera straps to your wrist and takes 3-megapixel photos as well as up to 54 minutes of 30 frame per second video. You just need to get used to having a camera strapped to your wrist. It’s available beginning of February for $140.
Get ready for wireless everything, a major theme at the show. Apple TV is grabbing the headlines, with MacWorld happening in SF at the same time as CES, but those wanting a cable-free life got a bunch of new options in Vegas this week. Going wireless is Neosonik's whole raison d'etre. Plug in your video source via HDMI 1.3 and watch (if such were possible) your video signals fly as an H.264 video transmission with audio in a separate stream. Depending on the size of supplied speakers, cost ranges from $6000 for Series 4 to $10,000 for Series 6.
"KEF Wireless" is the laconic name of the British loudspeaker's icon entry into cable-free audio. Proprietary algorithms (I've heard this so often, it's almost like a pickup line in a bar) resist noise from nearby appliances and ensure audiophile-ish bandwidth. The "after market" version (lower right) has a 50-watt Class D amp backed up with, I'm told, a great power supply. But you can also buy KEF Wireless built as a "doughnut" into one of KEF's slender, world-beating Reference towers (top left). Also in the works: The new Austin series, with redesigned Uni-Q coaxial driver array (KEF likes putting tweeters amid other drivers) with strengthened tweeter and bigger magnets--"not overly analytical" and "easier to place."
The JBL Control On Air 2.4G is so eager to identify itself that it approaches incoherence. It's based on the way-cool rubber-clad indoor/outdoor Control1Extreme speaker (whose 1980s grandpapa is the Pro III) with a 2.4GHz wireless thing. Now the name makes sense, doesn't it?
I'm beginning to lose track of the number of "goes wireless" headlines I'm writing. In a move reminiscent of Microsoft's Zune, Sandisk--which last year humiliated Steve Jobs by introducing an 8GB flash memory player before Apple did--has introduced the Sansa Connect, which uses wi-fi hotspots to tap into Internet radio and yet-to-be-announced download services (in the recent past SanDisk has done business with Rhapsody, hint hint). Zune killer? The price is $249 and it ships in a few months.
"Among the introductions at the first CES," says the little red placard, "was a line of 23-inch RCA console televisions like this 'Chatworth' model. It was delivered to the Bucklin family of suburban Minneapolis in February 1968 and used continuously since then. Almost 40 years old and in perfect working condition, this set features 'styling that calls to mind the stateliness of English manor house furniture tradition.' Connected to the RCA DTA800 Digital Wireless Adapter, even a 40 year old TV can enter the digital age!" And some idiot can enter the picture as I'm trying to take it.
Taiwan-based AOSRA's HD FVD format has driven both Blu-ray and HD DVD from the market, ending an ugly format war that threatened to go on for years. This poster explains why: The price is "low," compared to the "high" prices of other formats. Said Blu-ray and HD DVD spokespeople in unison: "We surrender to HD FVD. We cannot go on living a lie. What are we going to tell our parents?" Then they burst into tears. (Enlargement, spec sheet.)
Shipping in April the TX-42F430S (42-inch $2,000) and the TX-47F430S (47-inch $2500) have a subtle but classy black and gray metal aesthetic. They also sport 4 HDMI inputs (capable of 1080p), integrated tuners, and a claimed 5000:1 contrast ratio.
While the idea of data storage may not seem that exciting, this product actually is. At its simplest, the HP MediaSmart Server is storage and data backup. But from there it gets more interesting. It can backup all the computers in your home (to a max storage space of 8 terabytes). Still not interested? You can give the Sever it’s own IP address so you can access any of your content from anywhere in the world. You, your kids, grandma, anyone you want to give access to can log onto the server and see what content you want them too. Share full rez pics of your vacation with your friends, have your friends share their pictures with you. It is very cool.
Although they are more famous for their massive copper heatsinks, Zalman showed off a 19-inch LCD that is capable of a real 3D mode. All you need is a fairly current Nvidia graphics card and special polarized glasses (not the red and blue ones of yore). The effect is incredible. Because most games are rendered in 3D already, letting us see it isn’t as difficult as you think. We will definitely be getting one of these in for test.