The Zeppelin now has a little sister, the Mini Zeppelin, and it offers a new feature: PC streaming via USB. The iPod dock swivels so your touch or iPhone can be used vertically or horizontally. Unlike the original Zep, which could dominate a large room, the Mini Zep is designed for more intimate spaces. Price $399.
Every day, I wake up and think I've seen it all when it comes to iPod accessories; and then something comes along to renew my faith in the amazing power of human ingenuity to create ever-more-useless stuff. On my way through the international section of the convention center, a series of wooden iPod covers caught my eye. That's wooden as in real wood - not a vinyl or plastic lookalike. I don't know if any store sells these in the U.S., but if they did you'd probably pay $24.95 or more for one. (I'm sure the name on the package has some significance overseas, but it's just aching for bad puns and innuendo here in good old America.)
B&W's MM1 multimedia speakers are two-way babies with three-inch woofer and one-inch tweeter, 18 watts, and the company's DSP, which is said to eliminate the need for a sub. Look for them in February, price n/a.
How do we know that? Because these prototypes were labeled Premium Speakers. Looks like they'll include a three-way, four-driver tower, a three-way center, smaller surrounds, and a pretty substantial and handsome sub with rounded hardwood side panels. The orchestral music trying to be heard above the hubbub of the show floor was as pleasing as anything could be under such circumstances.
You think being a member of the press is a swanky existence? Banish all such thoughts from your mind. When I attended my first CES in 1985, a few people who knew each other had convivial hot lunches in the press room and everyone was guaranteed a seat. The proliferation of bloggers now has people sitting on the floor eating box lunches and most of them are strangers to one another.
Surround sound reaches a new and more affordable price point with the Sherwood RD-5405 a/v receiver, just $149 list. You get five channels of 70 watts each and HDMI connectivity. The step-up model, the RS-7405, may be available with or without HD Radio. Our poster boy is a prototype of the iNet 2.0 which offers iPod, USB, ethernet, and wi-fi connectivity plus internet and FM radio -- and it's a photo frame.
DTS, one of the home theater world's guardians of surround standards, was showing these dongles which are designed to adapt stereo signals to surround headphone use. The resemblance to vacuum tubes was neither here nor there. The company was also talking up its DTS Premium Suite of licensed DSP technologies. They include DTS Connect, for upconverting two channels to 5.1; DTS Surround Sensation, for headphones; DTS Symmetry, which balances levels among input sources; and DTS Boost, which makes laptop sound louder, clearer, and more immersive. Also new to us was the 7.1-channel version of Neural, the stereo-to-surround technology purchased from original developer THX a year ago.
Sennheiser's RS170 headphones are full-sized, wireless, and surround-savvy -- the latter coming in the form of a proprietary, not licensed, technology. The company's previous surround products had used adaptation technology licensed from SRS. Price $150.
Edifier wasn't actually playing the two table radios we found on the show floor, model-named Braque and Brera. But we bet the vacuum tubes, visible at top, will give their 72 watt output a golden sound. Price and availability unknown but isn't this a great looking product?
Pure Acoustics, hitherto a pure speaker manufacturer, is moving into compact systems both surround and stereo. In the former category are the RZ-3200 5.1-channel system and the UX-99 5.0-channel system, both with DVD drives plus USB and iPod connectivity. Pure also showed a bevy of colorful satellites, pictured.
These massage chairs from Weightec use lighted, moving symbols to let you know what kind of massage you're going to get. We like the one with the little footprints at far right. It will free up children, pygmies, and monkeys for other kinds of work.
If I tried to list all the new Samsung HDTVs launched at the show I'd go blind, so with deference to those who say I already am, and in the interests of my being still able to review a few of them later this year, I'll hit the highlights. With a full, new lineup of HDTVs (LED sidelit LCDs, conventional CCFLfluorescentbacklit LCDs, and plasmas), new BD players with faster claimed booting and loading times, and three complete BD audio systems, Samsung is ready for the 2010 retail wars.