Oh, What a Beautiful Show
Can You Carry a Tune?
ZVOX let the cat out of the bag revealing what they're calling "the world's smallest home theater sound system". The ZVOX Mini is a single-cabinet audio system designed by speaker engineer Winslow Burhoe (founder of EPI) that measures 13" wide x 9.5" deep x 3.3" tall. Inside are three full-range speakers, a 4" x 6" powered subwoofer, plus a built-in amplifier with ZVOX's PhaseCue circuitry that ZVOX says is used to create a wide sound stage. The system can be used with 120V AC power or will run on 12V DC power from an optional car adapter or ZVOX's optional rechargeable battery. A optional travel bag, the PortaParty CarryBag, was also introduced. The PortaParty is a padded bag designed to hold the ZVOX Mini, a rechargeable battery, and all the connecting cords, as well as portable electronic gadgets such as MP3 players, CD players, DVD players, or hand-held game devices. Wire routing within the bag allows the user to carry the bag and listen to music at the same time without fear of tangling himself up with dangling cords. The MSRP of the ZVOX Mini is $199.99. The PortaParty CarryBag and rechargeable battery system are $49.99 each. The system is available in silver, charcoal, or white finishes.
Polk Audio showed off the insides of three impressive, built-in subwoofers and a matching amplifier. The $700 CSW88 features dual 8-inch long-throw, shallow basket woofers mounted behind a metal pressure plate in a sealed enclosure made of MDF wood and 1/8" aluminum panels. Designed to fit in standard stud walls without protruding into the room, although its 60" length pretty much limits it to new construction or extensive remodels. Bass is vented into the room through a standard 10" x 14" opening. Using Polk's Power Port venting and High Velocity Compression Drive bandpass alignment, the $460 CSW100 is designed for in-ceiling or in-floor installation; it can also be used in entertainment furniture containing with enough space for its 24.5" x 13.75" x 9" unfinished cabinet. When installed, all that's visible is a 9" x 16" rectangular vent. The larger (33" x 13.75" x 9.25") CSW200 ($600) requires a 12" x 12" vent and is designed for stealth installation in systems where ultimate performance is desired and grille size and/or installation depth is not an issue. All three subs are powered by the SWA500 external Class D amplifier ($800) with continuous wattage ratings of 250 into 8 ohms and 500 in 4 ohms. A Digital Signal Processor and plug-in, pre-programmed data card adjusts the amplifier's equalization, infrasonic filter characteristics, and power output to best match the particular woofer being used. The subs and amplifiers are expected to be available in August of 2005.
The (Affordable) Price of Digital TV
The RCA room included a convincing live demonstration of how much people on a budget will benefit from RCA's five-model line of 27" - 32" Standard Definition Digital Televisions (SDTVs) with integrated ATSC tuners. Using a pair of 27" TVs sitting side by side, the demonstration compared the analog reception of one to the off-air SDTV reception of the same broadcast on the other. While I normally think HDTV when it comes to Digital TV broadcasting, RCA's demonstration makes me think that their pioneering and quite affordable steps into the SDTV market will be very successful. The prices of the new models range from $599 for the 32" flat-screen 32F654T down to $279 for the 27" 27V514T.