Wisdom Audio’s S90i Sage Series in-wall/on-wall subwoofer stands out from the crowd of traditional subwoofers in its versatility alone. The in-wall/in-ceiling sub can be installed in-wall, in-ceiling, in a closet, or in the floors. However, Wisdom Audio says this sub deserves more than just praise for its ability to be concealed.
It’s no surprise that Rotel is highlighting its RSX-1560 A/V receiver at this year’s CES. The flagship 7.1-channel model has 7 X 100 watts of power for an immersive home theater experience. Rotel’s RSX-1560 ($2,599) also boasts four HDMI v1.3 inputs, Faroudja video processing, and Class D power that sets out to impress even the toughest audiophile.
Tivoli Audio’s new global audio device will literally put the world at your fingertips. The NetWorks global audio device ($600) uses Wi-Fi technology to deliver thousands of radio stations directly to your home theater. Unlike satellite radio, NetWorks uses Wi-Fi technology to access free radio stations from around the world, including HD Multi-cast and DAB stations. Whether you prefer to search by genre or country, the NetWorks device will provide exactly what suits your mood.
Last, wireless HDMI is also coming from LG in a big way. At the press event the company didn’t elaborate on too many details, but did suggest it can pass signals as high in resolution as 1080p/60 “uncompressed.” I’m guessing in this context that means the wireless system itself doesn’t apply on the fly video compression to restrict bandwidth requirements while moving the HD signals around. No mention was made of the other side of this equation, which in the case of Blu-ray is bandwidth intensive lossless audio. I’ll visit LG on the showroom floor once the show opens and find out more. While single wires are great, no wires is even better- as long as it’s really the free lunch LG is claiming it to be!
On the TV side, LG is pushing its LCD flat panel HDTV offerings with LED backlighting and local dimming with 240 zones. While we weren’t aware that LG had local dimming LCDs in 2008, the 2009 “Mega Conrast” models are at least twice as good- 240 dimming zones compared to last year’s paltry 128. In the numbers game, 2,000,000:1 contrast ratios are claimed. In reality local dimming is very real, and has driven the LCDs we’ve seen that employ it to blacks and contrastlevels that are astounding. They’re on our list for 2009 for sure.
LG was in its customary and brutal 8am time slot (11am on the east coast LG’s John Taylor reminded us- thanks for that John!) and got the 2009 show off with a big bang. Rather than buy into forcing consumers to choose Blu-ray vs. streaming/downloads, its answer is to offer both. Its 2008 Internet connected BD300 Blu-ray player connects to Netflix and Netflix HD. Expanding on that, LG’s 2009 BD players and select HDTVs will offer Netcast, which is LG’s proprietary name for a feature set that delivers Internet derived content. Partners will include Netflix (and Netflix HD), YouTube, and CinemaNow with more content partners coming online later. Pictured here is one of LG's Blu-ray powered HTiBs.
When you've come to CES as many times as I have, of course you've got baggage - serious mental baggage. At least, as a wonderful byproduct of my job, I can look like a happy idiot taking pictures of the baggage concourse sign in front of hundreds of other people who simply want to get their luggage and get away from me.
Although I haven’t put my hands on one yet (which is a good thing, too, since they’re too greasy from the overpriced turkey club sandwich from room service that I just ate), Logitech’s new Harmony 1100 universal remote control looks like just the kind of remote I’d want in my home theater. It’s classy looking, simple-to-operate, easy-on-the-brain when it comes to programming, and – at $499.99 – it’s a lot less pricey than most of the other touchscreen universal remotes.
I know what you’re thinking. Is that glass half empty or half full? Is it water or whiskey? Ok, that’s a trick question- the answer is obviously dependent on the answer to the first question. And what has the proverbial glass on my mind is CES 2009. I’m here in Vegas and the mood is indeed as subdued as many expected. So far it’s like low season at the hotels here. So, is our perspective on this glass half full? Or is it now a question empty or emptier? Where’s the news?
If 2008 was the year of the iPhone, it only makes sense that 2009 is bringing in its own share of small consumer electronics products. Although you won’t be able to fit this in the palm of your hand, Energy’s 8-inch ESW-M6 mini subwoofer ($600) is still a worthy contender in its own category.
Definitive Technology is capitalizing on its already successful Mythos series with the Mythos Nine, an on-wall loudspeaker designed to bring out the best in your flat panel. Priced at $800, the company says that the new Mythos Nine has power well beyond its size. It incorporates two high-definition Balanced Double Surround System (BDSS) 4.5-inch drivers and two 4.5-inch by 8-inch planar medite low-bass radiators. This combination claims to pack a serious punch.
Logic Wireless has unveiled a monster of a cell phone at CES with its new Logic Bolt. Unlike any of its predecessors, this phone can take your home theater experience nearly anywhere. The Logic Bolt incorporates a built-in projector that Logic claims will display razor-sharp images from 36 to 64 inches on a wall or screen. It has the unique capability to increase its screen size to 3,000 percent or more, letting you show off your favorite images and media without squinting at a tiny screen.
Grade-A nice guy Graemme Brown of Zen Mastering is explaining the setup in the Soundlabs / Isomike room before newphew Nate starts the proceedings. Those of you not familiar with Kimber Kable's IsoMike™ technique of recording, suffice to say it produces some uncanny result if you like image specificity and "you are there" realism. With Pass amplifiers, the Sound Lab Prostat speakers stand 8' 8" tall and project along a slight horizontal arc. It's really just two of their Majestic 945 speakers standing side by side in order to get enough horizontal coverage of the large room in which they were positioned. There were also a pair (or is that a quad, hehe) in the rear, but these weren't on for the demo when I was there.
When I saw the Escalante Design Fremont speaker at HE 2007, I was mightily impressed with their neutrality and precise bass. Fast forward to CES 2008, and things were different. While the midrange and upper frequencies were still sublime, the switch to KR Audio tube monoblocks, from the VTL Reference S-400 stereo amplifier were a mistake as for all of KR's other virtues, bass control was not one of them. Still, one of the better sounds at the show.