Marantz's BD8002 Blu-ray Disc Player is way on the other end of the spectrum at $2,099.99 featuring a 10-bit Silicon Optix Realta chipset
with upconversion and scaling to 1080p. The player offers high resolution with decoding of Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby True HD and
DTS-HD Master Audio and is capable of outputting both 7.1-channel analog signals and PCM audio via HDMI.
The Davone Rithm, from a Danish speaker maker new to the U.S., utilizes a 5" coaxial driver in one of the oddest shapes ever for a product category (loudspeakers) known for inspiring odd shapes. $5000/pair.
With networked TVs and media sharing devices we can get online content from partners like YouTube, Netflix, CBS.com, etc. Now Boxee offers a software solution that creates an easy meny to find online content that works on computers including Macs and Linux-based operating systems. What’s really cool is that you can put the software on a flash drive and add it to an AppleTV. This adds the capability of watching many online streaming video partners including video streaming like Netflix, Hulu, CBS.com and MTV to the previously limited partners on AppleTV.
During a press conference, Sharp announced a second generation Blu-Ray player, the BD-HP50U. It ships in spring '08 and will sell for either $699.99 or $799.99 (I received two press releases with different prices). The player provides Full HD 1080p digital output and supports the BD-ROM Profile 1.1, allowing consumers to tap into supplemental interactive material without leaving the movie. Some of the interactive features include movie trailers, special subtitles, and director's commentary.
Of course, its compatible with HDMI 1.3 technology and outputs the most advanced lossless surround-sound formats including Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD via HDMI. The BD-HP50U outputs 1080p video at 24 frames per second [frame rate of the original film], which eliminates the need for any frame-rate conversion.
A welcome addition is Sharp’s proprietary Quick Start feature, which takes viewers from disc loading to viewing in less than 10 seconds. What I want to know is when did a fast starting DVD player become a proprietary feature?
Bryston had this classy-looking new preamp-processor, the SP-3, on static display. It will have all the important bells and whistles, including decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio, when it goes on sale, probably in the second half of 2009. No prices were given.
LG’s new feature, the “Picture Wizard” aids the average viewer in optimizing the TV’s picture by offering onscreen examples of what is the optimal setting. They can then see the effect of the changes they’ve made in the setting as compared to the onscreen examples. Setting adjustments in the Picture Wizard include: black level, white level, color, backlight adjustment, tint, vertical sharpness and horizontal sharpness. Calibration made easy.
UK-based Cambridge Audio announced both the Azur 640R V2 7.1 A/V receiver ($1799, spring 2009), an update of the original Azur 640. It also launched its first Blu-ray player, the Azur 640B ($999 spring 2009).
Cambridge Audio makes good stuff. Though it has lagged behind in certain areas in the past, at CES it showed a strong will to catch up, unveiling the azur 640BD Blu-ray player, shipping in February for $999, and yes, befitting an expensive player it is Profile 2.0. The company also caught up with the HDMI revolution with the azur 640R receiver, shipping in March for $1695, and yes, it has HDMI 1.3 and all the goodies that go with it. All over the world the children sing for joy.
We thought the tiny sat CDT showed at last year's CES sounded great, and after a year of further tweaking, it's shipping as the Sonapod. In a 5.1 set with any of various subwoofers, it might sell for anywhere from $900-2000. CDT also showed a small triangular sat that was like nothing else we've ever seen. Possible review material.
Chario is Italy's largest high-end speaker manufacturer.The setup here shows the Academy Serendipity (far left and right), Academy Sovran, and Academy Solitaire center channelthe Academy series sits at the top of Chario's line, and fall into the "if you have to ask" price category. The Solitaire ($17,000/pr) was recently reviewed in Stereophile.
In the wake of a declining market for traditional box speakers, Boston Acoustics has reinvented themselves with a new style [and logo]. Know as the Personal Options Plan or P.O.P. for short, all their new speakers are made of molded plastic exteriors. However, when you rap on the sides or pick up the speaker you become aware that this is just for aesthetics. Inside is the same Boston engineering with a rigid wooden baffle.
TAD, a division of Pioneer, responsible for the development of high-end audio products showed a prototype of a new Class A mono-amp that will be out later this year. It's made using aluminum plating and a cast iron base. After 5 days of running continuously, the chassis was barely lukewarm.