Quartet Marketing Group is importing the complete line of T+A products from Germany, including speakers, home theater electronics, and 2-channel products. The rep I spoke to also said they could have sold 2000 of these Ikea
floor lamps, too.
Accell thinks it's little HDMI 2 to 1 Switch is going to be a big hit. The diminutive $99 switcher - 2.1" wide x 2.1" long x 0.6" high - is fully HDCP compliant and supports high definition (HD) video in resolutions of up to 1080p as well as multi-channel digital audio. Switching is done via a built-in push button or the included infrared remote. The small gadget doesn't need an external power supply and comes with an infrared extender that allows the switch to be installed out-of-sight behind your gear.
It’s a big deal whenever one of audio’s legendary speaker designer/manufacturers puts out a new speaker. More significant still is when a company like Thiel drops a speaker on us that will cost something less than $1K/ea.
CoolIT Systems is now offering a liquid cooling system for Home Theater PCs that will keep the CPU cool, improve performance and reliability, and significantly reduce fan noise. The Home Theater PC (HTPC) Cooler system will fit any media center PC case that has dual 8cm fans. It comes with all the necessary installation hardware and is pre-plumbed, factory-sealed, and maintenance free.
See the cow. Is it half here or half gone? Just like true high definition home theater, depends on how you look at it. 2006 CEDIA opened the flood gates on 1080P display devices, be they projectors, plasmas, or LCD flat panel displays, but the format war between Blue Ray and DVD/HD drags on with not clear winners, only losers – the consumer. Will the situation be better by Winter CES? Most likely, not. Perhaps by 2007 CEDIA the format debacle will be past and we will all be happily watching 1080P source material on 1080P displays, but I fear we will still be stuck with only half a cow.
On the show floor Saturday I spotted industry veteran rep and all around good guy Phil Callahan, who was nursing a bruised ego due to the pounding Notre Dame was receiving from Michigan on the football field. Being the professional he is Phil sucked it up and introduced me to new-ish client Leon speakers and its main man Jeff Gordon (not that Jeff Gordon).
On Saturday UAV Editor Tom Norton and I crossed the street from the Convention Center, braving vicious, howling winds to get to HD DVD’s version of the Madden cruiser to get some of that old time religion with the HD DVD camp and video industry icon and iconoclast Joe Kane.
The most exciting product at the show with a nautical theme was debatably the "talking Pirate Skull" from Themeaddicts Inc. This patented product was developed for those poor souls who always wanted their own animatronic character (or any other character for that matter.) the skull "wakes up" and verbally provides real-time information about people walking up your driveway, entering your yard, standing at your front door, urinating on your daisies, or anything else your home automation/security system can monitor.
In a world where manufacturers all too often behave with a depraved indifference toward the muscles of the lower abdomen, Thiel has introduced a speaker that poses no hazard to the delicate. True, Jim Thiel dodged the all-important weight question, but judging from the way he picked it up and casually hefted it, the SCS4 should be just my kind of speaker. It has the same coaxial driver array as the SCS3, uses a challenging (Jim said) first-order crossover, and will ship before year-end for less than $1000. I will try this at home. The Thiel exhibit is using it as the center and surround speakers in a demo system with the floorstanding CS3.7--unveiled nine months ago at CES and previously unheard--serving as front left/right.
Sonus Faber speakers are really pretty special and every time I've heard them, fantastic sounding. They developed some special speaker cable that they used internally in their Stradavari flagship speaker and their method, quite unique I'd have to say, lead them to introduce the Yter series of speaker cables. These forged cables are terminated in special banana shapes only because they're made in the same pouring and forging process. The silver alloy used in these cables is literally melted and poured into the final shape. By audiophile standards, the price of $1,500 for an 8' pair is actually quite reasonable.
Dual ATSC tuners, dual cable card inputs, a 250 GB SATA drive that will give you 32 hours of high definition programming, HDMI output and that THX logo, a first for any DVR. What did THX do? They gave Tivo notes, and Tivo redesigned their circuit boards to reduce interference and noise as the good folks at THX found it. The thing next to the remote that looks like the world's smallest cell phone is really a wireless transmitter that hooks via a USB cable to the back of the Tivo unit and "joins" your wireless network allowing you to get program guides wirelessly. Really cool. $799. Can't wait!
Toshiba also debuted their Cinema Series Pro line of LCDs, in 42 and 47-inch varieties. They’re both 1080p, have 12-bit processing, and an 8ms response time. It sports a RJ-45 connector to connect the TV to a PC to view pictures and apparently get your email. The 42LZ196 will be $3,399 and the 47LZ196 will be $4,599. Both are available this month.