I spent a good part of my day Tuesday at the Venetian which is home to the high-end audio portion of CES, and often has home theater products from cutting edge crossover companies. Companies like Canada's Simaudio. I've experienced Simaudio's home theater components in the past, and they've been superlative. So, it's with high hope that I anticipate the release of the top of the line Evolution series CP-8 surround pre/pro, to be introduced later this year (the front panel says Moon, but I've been assured it will be an Evolution series component on release).
Boston Acoustics' new slogan is "Play Smart." The smart part means choosing good-sounding speakers. The play part means having a little fun while you do it. That's where the Horizon Series speakers come in. First introduced at CEDIA and available now, the series consists of a number of bookshelf and floorstanding models to accommodate many budgets and room types. Midnight (black) and Mist (white) are the two basic color options; however, for an additional cost, the Boston P.O.P (Personal Option Plan) lets you tailor the speaker grilles in a variety of colors to match your dcor. The cabinets’ rounded edges and soft-touch finish add to the fun. Also shipping this month is the matching $400 HPS 8Wi, a wireless subwoofer with an 8-inch woofer and 150-watt amplifier that operates over the 2.4 GHz band.
Boston Acoustics is back in the computer speaker business again with two tabletop systems. The $99.99 version includes a pair of slender speakers with a ” tweeter and two 2” mid-bass drivers. The $179.99 package adds a subwoofer. The sub/sat system kicked some serious butt, and it was sitting out in the open on a little round table in a large demo room. And just like many of the new Boston speakers, these are part of the POP program which allows you to buy different colored grilles.
Another fun Boston Acoustics product is the Horizon Duo-i table radio, a stereo audio system with a built-in iPod dock, AM/FM tuner, alarm clock, and remote control. The Boston P.O.P. is available here too, so you can get this $200 unit in lots of fun colors. Here's a little piece of design genius: The entire front aluminum trim is a touch-sensitive snooze bar, so you don't need good aim to extend your all-important beauty rest.
If $149 was too much for you to pay for being able to record your foolish antics in HD, DXG also offers the new iPod-knockoff-like DXG-567V HD 720p camcorder with a 2” LCD screen and 2X digital zoom available for $129. At this price, I’m thinking of starting a “One HD camcorder per child” project.
One of DXG’s latest HD camcorders records H.264 video in 720p (1280 x 720) at 30 fps, has a 3” LCD screen, uses SD cards with support for higher capacity cards, takes up to 8MP digital still pictures, and uses rechargeable NI-MH AAA batteries (included) or standard alkaline AAAs (you’ll have to buy those yourself). Of course, you might have to take out a loan in order to afford the DXG-569V HD at its estimated street price of...$149.
How weird is this? Just the other day, I was staring at this huge empty wall in my house, thinking, "What this wall really needs is a 150-inch plasma. It would really tie the whole room together." And then I see this at the Panasonic booth. Pricing and availability have yet to be announced, but our PR rep assures us that this is a real product that will actually come to market. So start collecting your loose change.
At a press open house this morning, McIntosh showed off a number of new products, including monoblock and integrated amps, an SACD/CD player, and the $9,000 MT10 turntable. I may never be able to afford McIntosh gear, but I love taking pictures of it. It's purty.
Vizio showed off their 2008 HDTV line today at the Wynn. The company is jumping on the 120 Hz bandwagon with their new SV Series of 1080p LCDs. Dubbed the Black Tie Series, the 42-inch SV42LF and 47-inch SV47LF use 120 Hz processing and MEMC (Motion Estimation, Motion Compensation) to reduce judder and motion blur, and the company showed an effective before/after comparison. The new models also sport a more attractive gloss-black frame and four HDMI inputs. To enjoy 5.1 sound, you can purchase the optional $299 Jive SV5.1 enhancement kit, which includes surrounds and a wireless subwoofer. The LCDs be available in July for $1499 and $1899.
Vizio also showed off two 1080p plasmas: the 50-inch VP504F, priced at $1699, and the 60-inch VP605F, priced at $2899. The 60-incher, shown here, will sport a nice titanium-finished bezel. The press release gives a June release date, but our gracious tour guide said July or August for the 60-inch model. We'll see which one is right.
In addition to spreading their technology message and announcing new software partners (Disney!), the D-BOXers brought along their top-of-the-line products, including a motion-enabled loveseat and this little beauty, a recliner with a third actuator for up-and-down-movement, or "heave," hence my raised thumb to illustrate. The heave literally adds another dimension to the interactivity that the chairs bring to DVDs and Blu-rays. If you ever see the D-BOX roadshow truck in your neighborhood, be sure to take a seat.
Last year here at CES I was more excited than anyone about the Nikko Home Electronics' R2-D2 Projector but then, as if swallowed by some swamp-dwelling scavenger on Dagobah, the little droid disappeared. This year he's back and better than ever (like when the Rebels cleaned him up for the big ceremony after The Battle of Yavin, good times...), upgraded to high-definition from last year's standard-def plans. This R2-DLP now puts out 2,000 lumens with an 1,800:1 contrast ratio and a DVI input for good measure. He should be landing at retail within about a month and a half, at a suggested price of $2,799. And no, he doesn't have little rockets that allow him to fly. That would just be stupid.