CES 2005: Day 4
Keeping You and Your System in Harmony
Those who don't follow the acquisitions and mergers reported on by those stodgy financial publications may not know that Ingtrigue Technologies, the makers of the highly popular and easy-to-use Harmony remote controls, was purchased earlier this year by Logitech. The first remote control to come along since the acquisition is the Logitech Harmony 880, a new universal remote control optimized for people with complicated HDTVs and personal video recorders (PVRs). The Harmony 880 features a large color display and the same comfort-grip design as previous models of Harmony remotes. Color icons accompany text on the LCD screen to to make it easier to control your home entertainment gear. The remote is also rechargeable; when the remote is not in use, it sits on the included charging platform. The Harmony 880 remote is expected to be available beginning in April for $249.95.
SENSIO 3D Gets Star Treatment
3D movie technology company SENSIO announced that the first Hollywood blockbuster to be released in Sensio 3D format, Spy Kids 3-D - Game Over, will be available in February after a special release event hosted by Robert Rodriguez - the writer, director and producer of the three Spy Kids™ movies - at Rodriquez's Troublemaker Studios in Austin, Texas. The special release of Spy Kids 3-D - Game Over was re-mastered and re-edited specifically to take advantage SENSIO 3D's technology. According to director Rodriquez, "This is light years ahead of the red and blue glasses we had to use in the theatrical and the original DVD releases." SENSIO stated that in addition to Dimension Films and Disney, the production company and distributor of Spy Kids 3-D, SENSIO has established relationships with Warner Brothers, Universal, MGM, Dreamworks, Sony Pictures, Pixar, Technicolor, and IMAX. Several IMAX films have already been released by SENSIO. In addition, SENSIO displayed a working prototype of their 3D technology using an HD DVD player. As you might guess, the quality of the high-definition 3D image was spectacular. Discussing the use of the HD DVD format, Richard LaBerge, SENSIO's VP Sales & Marketing, told me that SENSIO is format agnostic and that their technology can be adapted to either of the two proposed high-definition disc formats.
A/V Receivers Don't Get Much Better than This Got $7,000 to spend on a new receiver? It's unlikely you could spend it any better than on one of the coolest A/V receivers at CES - Lexicon's new flagship THX Ultra2-certified A/V receiver, the RV-8. It's an eight-channel A/V control center with three independent audio/video zones, configurable inputs, a built-in tuner, Lexicon's latest version of their fabulous LOGIC7 decoding circuitry, broadcast-quality video switchers, and composite/S-video conversion to component video. It also includes two RS-232 connectors: one for configuration downloads and flash memory software upgrades, and the other for support of possible future component enhancements. The rear panel has a removable access panel to accomodate new connectors if Lexicon sees the need to offer them. It's available now, so get your checkbook out.
Home Theater Gets Dressed Up
Stylish Italian-inspired furniture maker Bell'O walked a little on the wild side (at least as far as home theater furniture goes) by introducing the AVS-2663 with high-quality, two-tone scratch-resistant powder-coated steel structural supports, tempered safety glass shelves, and rich, leather-wrapped side panels. The new entertainment center is designed to hold any flat-panel TV up to 63" wide along with six separate A/V components - and there's room for a center channel speaker. It'll be available in February for a classy $900.
How to Build a Better (Maybe the Best) Bookshelf Everyone has their own experience when it comes to the best speaker they heard at CES. In addition to the fact that the listening environments are rarely ideal, the demo material is often only vaguely familiar; and often the warm demo room and lack of sleep conspire to make one slightly drowsy. But sometimes there's a speaker system that just jumps screaming out at you, bringing you out of the deepest CES-induced lethargy. The one that did it for me was the NHT Xd DEQX Calibrated DSP speaker corrected system. Created using the combined resources of NHT, DEQX (Digtital Equalization and Crossover) and PowerPhysics, the new system is designed to remove virtually all possible distortion from the audio signal path and provide a much wider, more accurate soundfield for even off-axis listeners. The system includes a pair of small two-way, bi-amplified acoustic suspension speakers; a powered bass module with two active, opposed 10" drivers and a PowerPhysics 500-watt amp; and a hybrid outboard component that houses the DEQX-calibrated DSP and PowerPhysics One-Cycle Sound amplifiers. We were treated to a full 6.1-channel system that was both sonically and visually captivating. Find an NHT dealer and visit them in late January when this system starts shipping - this is one setup you've got to hear.
The End (of CES) is Nigh
Although the excitement of CES is now officially over, the great thing about the consumer electronics industry is that there's always something new to look forward to tomorrow. And that's especially good for us at Home Theater Magazine because it not only means that we won't get bored but that we've got a reason to publish another issue. (It's called "job security"...)