THX is sure not sitting around and living off their existing licenses. Like everyone else they are looking for the next Big Thing. Here at CES, they are touting a new THX technology called Media Director that is meant to simplify home theater set-up and operation. MD turns movies, music and video games into, what THX calls “smart content” that can communicate information about AV settings directly to your home entertainment products. The technology lets consumers tap into and maximize the features and modes of their electronics. More than ever consumers are faced with an overwhelming amount of playback and set up options on their gear and its no wonder they are confused, tending to use the out of the box settings. THX hopes to take a lot of that confusion and frustration out of the process.
TI demonstrated a prototype technology that operates a DLP set at 240Hz and virtually eliminates motion lag. It was very convincing side-by-side with a 120Hz LCD, as you can clearly see from this state of the art photo.
LCD panel manufacturers are touting the effectiveness of 120 Hz refresh rates for dragging their little darlings out of the drug-induced haze that is LCD smear. I've seen JVC, SyntaxBrillian's Olivia and Sharp LCDs with the technology and it clearly works and works well.
We were all wondering how Toshiba would deal at its press conference with the recent news about Warner going Blu-ray exclusive. The answer: to their great credit they made clear their disappointment with the news, admitted that it had been a difficult week for them, but still expressed their belief that HD DVD offered the consumer the best combination of value and performance. However this all pans out, they handled it as well as could possibly be expected.
LED backlighting, Internet-content connectivity, and 240Hz seem to be the watchwords in this year's new HD flat panel sets, if what we've seen so far today, from LG and Toshiba, are representative. Toshiba introduced a whole range of new sets, some non-Regza, some Regza. (Regza, for newbees, is Toshiba's moniker for its premier designs). Some of the upper end models also use a new 14-bit "5G" Resolution + processor said to be capable of making SD sources "feel like" HD. We'll let you know when we see it.
Jodu Sally was as upbeat as could be expected. She admitted she had planned to discuss the great strides HD DVD had made in 2007, and continued to highlight HD DVDs many successes from Ethernet connectivity and dual video processing. But beyond that, what can you say. Warner has played its cards.
Regza has been a huge seller for Toshiba, growing their panel business by 350%. Over the last few years. Toshiba will be concentrating on providing solutions between $500 and $2,500 where they think the biggest market exists. Like LG, Toshiba realizes that cosmetic design is key for consumers these days. And to think, we used to put walnut encased CRT tubes in our living rooms. Yeech!
This is the system that decouples the Totem Wind from the floor. It consists of a back piece plus a front "claw" filled with different sizes of ball bearings. That enables a form of tuning that helps the speaker mate with the room and the amp, we were told. The claw somehow escaped our camera -- see full-size photo in the first item above. Still, two pretty blue pictures in a row. That's class.
Totem Acoustic has updated the 10-year-old Wind, which continues in the line in its original form, with a new variation called the Wind Design Series. It includes a improved crossover plus a high-end automotive-grade polyurethane lacquer finish in four shades: blue, red, white, and black. Pricing ranges from $11,000-12,500 for the new version ("we're still reeling from the cost of the paint") or $9000 for the conventionally veneered old version.
The newest LCDs in Samsung’s Touch of Color series are looking greener than ever. But that’s not such a bad thing. The Series 6 and 7 models adhere to strict energy efficiency guidelines, known as Energy Star v3.0. This means that you can expect less power consumption from your flat-panel display overall, which is a bonus when it comes to pricey consumer electronics equipment. Although this might seem to downgrade your flat-panel, Samsung says that the quality soars higher than ever with its latest models.
Panasonic showed a prototype of a TV remote control that works on technology like that of a mouse touchpad on your laptop. Actually, it is equipped with two touchpads and is motion sensing. A point and click technology, the secret is in the onscreen navigation and onscreen virtual remote. Turning it sideways you can thumb-type—like you would for texting—on the onscreen virtual keyboard. The cartoon thumbs that appear onscreen to show you what you are clicking on definitely add a comic personality to this interface.
Kenwood is working with LG and their MPH (mobile video) project team to develop a mobile digital television receiver, and I don't mean a 13" Sanyo on a hospital cart either. Hook up a Kenwood receiver to an LCD in your car, and you'll be able to zoom around the country picking up digital TV signals optimized for easy reception while traveling. I'll know more soon (like what it looks like), but seeing it work in their booth won't tell me how well it works driving around city streets or cruising down the highway. Vroom Vroom.
For those flat panel owners who want improved sound over the built-in speakers, Boston's Tvee Soundbar provides exceptional 2-channel audio in a slim footprint speaker that mounts on the wall under a TV or rests on top of an entertainment center. A wireless subwoofer comes with the package and all are sold for $399.99. The Soundbar is available in Boston's new P.O.P. colors.
Last night, Mitsubishi took the Moon nightclub on the roof of the Palms Casino and turned it into a discothque to premier their long in development laser TV. Using fanfare fitting the unveiling of a major work of art (which in a way, it was), Mitsubishi lit up three of their rear projector laser engine TVs. They were at least 65" in diagonal, though we weren't told an exact size. Each was also about as thin as the thinnest DLP or LCD rear project TVs.
Westinghouse showed a new 1920x1080 47” set (the TXF450S) with 120Hz operation. A split screen showed the same thing we’ve seen on many such sets; when operated in 120Hz using interpolation (which this set clearly does) a film original looks just like it was shot on video. And that’s not necessarily a plus.