LG demonstrated what may be the most exciting at the show. Mobile-Pedestrian-Handheld (MPH) technology piggy backs TV broadcasting to handheld mobile phones over fringe portions of existing DTV broadcasts. Working with Harris Corporation, a leader in communication infrastructure technology, you'll be able to watch Seinfield reruns on your phone for free or watch a premium service. While there's no anticipation that this is going to be high-def (hell, I'd settle for the right aspect ratio), it's going to be really, really hot.
These Academy Sovran speakers should certainly get the award for the most-travelled consumer electronics equipment. Koetsu USA, a distribution company connected to the well-known Japanese cartridge manufacturer turned to the Italian company Chario for this particular speaker, which makes it one of the most transcontinental speakers out there.
KEF's flagship speaker, the Muon, looks to be over 6 feet tall, is fashioned from 6mm thick, super formed aluminum. Only 100 pairs will be built for worldwide sales, and a pair will run you $140,000. Surround sound? No problem, just buy six. Add five Mark Levinson No.53 amps and you're good to go.
Mark Fleischmann raved about the input jack panel to his hotel TV in an earlier post. Here at the Hyatt Place we have even more flexibility, including component, HDMI, and a myriad of other connections. And the TVs in the rooms are 42" LG plasmas! If I had only had brought along something to plug into them, like a Blu-ray player!! And this hotel is cheaper than the Mirage, with parking right outside the door and no noisy casino to traipse through from car to room. In exchange, all we have to put up with is being under the takeoff leg at McCarran airport 18 hours a day. Actually, we're under it 24 hours a day. The hotel doesn't move for those other six hours; there are no flights from midnight to 6AM.
Strictly speaking, we should be telling you more about NAD's first Blu-ray player, and you've already heard about its a/v receivers, but the Viso Two HTiB got our attention with stylish looks. It's a DVD (and DVD-Audio) player with built-in 50-watt stereo amp and Dolby Virtual Speaker (and Dolby Headphone). Price is $1299 if you want something really cool looking to play your old DVD library in the bedroom. But what's that underneath?
Why, it's NAD's first speaker line, the Viso Thirty bookshelf and center channel models. They've got titanium tweeters, four-inch polypropylene woofers, and a $699 pricetag (we need to clarify if that's per speaker).
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.
Denon showed off their new line of AVRs, many of which feature advanced whole house networking solutions that can access music from iTunes, Windows Media 11 and music servers. Increased whole house networking capabilities will continue to be a major emphasis in Denon products.
Definitive Technology had some neat new speakers. Above, the new Mythos STS, a slightly smaller and less expensive version of the ST I just reviewed, but with the same 300 watt powered subwoofer. I like the fact that being shorter, their tweeters are at ear level and imaging seemed excellent.
HDMI Licensing LLC, who won a Technology and Engineering Emmy for their contribution of the HDMI™ single cable audio and video standard, has announced the development of a new HDMI specification beyond the current 1.3 version.
While not final, it is expected that the new standard will include transfer of Ethernet over the new HDMI cable. The other significant addition will be an “audio return channel.” Currently when a source—say, your HD satellite—is connected directly to a TV, an optical audio cable must be connected to an AV receiver to hear your satellite programming in surround sound. This new bi-directional feature brings it back to a single connection that will send the sound back to AV receiver without the need for an additional cable. Woohoo! We’re getting closer to a single cable connection, I’m all for that type of simplicity. Go HDMI!
The new Optoma HD8200 offers Dark Chip3 DLP technology from TI, a specified brightness of 1300 ANSI Lumens, and a peak contrast ratio of 20,000:1 with Dynamic Black iris control. $5000. The new HD808, with the same cosmetics, and only slightly less impressive specs (but no DarkChip3) is $3500. Both projectors are expected to ship this month
This new spectroradiometer was brought to my attention by William Phelps, video expert and currently working with Meridian on its digital projectors. A spectroradiometer is a sophisticated test tool used to measure and calibrate video displays (we use the Photo Research PR0650 in much of our testing). This SP-100 from Orb is not a product for the average consumer, but something for the calibration specialist, or well-healed video perfectionist, to know about. Not cheap at about $8000, it's nevertheless less expensive than much of its direct competition. According to Phelps, it compared favorably to a $30,000 Minolta device.
I'm not much of a gamer but as I walked past these fully-equipped gaming chairs with built-in transducers that let you feel all those explosions and bullet impacts, it occurred to me that sitting in one of these might be pretty intense next time I watch Casino Royal. I hear line extension.