Unlike WirelessHD, which I wrote about yesterday, Amimon's WHDI (Wireless HD Interface) is now included in several TVs, but they are only available in Japan. Sony's Bravia Wireless Link module and Belkin's FlyWire also use WHDI and are available in the US. WHDI uses the 5GHz band to transmit up to 1080p/60 with second-generation chips over a distance of up to 30 meters through walls with a latency of less than 1ms. Amimon's hotel suite has 10 streams going at once across three rooms in addition to WiFi in the same 5GHz band with impressive results. Pictured are two WHDI receiver modulesa major reduction is size from the suitcase-sized box I saw a couple of years ago. Members of the WHDI Consortium include LG, Sharp, Sony, Hitachi, and Samsung.
You may not have heard of Analog Devices, Inc. because the company makes integrated circuits and other components, not consumer products. But ADI is big into video. I saw a demo of a video-transmission system based on JPEG2000, the same compression technology used in digital cinema. Dubbed HDAnywhere, the system can be used to send video over any wired or wireless medium very efficiently. The demo included two TVs displaying the same contentone was receiving conventional HDMI over fiber-optic cable while the other got its signal wirelessly using UWB (ultra wideband) over a distance of 50 feet. There was a slight delay in the wireless image, but they were nearly identical otherwise. Hitachi is shipping a TV with an outboard input/processor box that uses HDAnywhere via UWB, which I'll take a close look at when I get over the Hitachi booth.
CES is over and by this time the huge exhibits have been dismantled and put in storage until next year. This year marks my 20th CES, and that doesn't include the summer CE Show that used to be held every June in Chicago, Ill.
The BLX 200 is not only Anthem's first Blu-ray player but its first source component. Price $799. Also new were two LCOS projectors, the LTX 500V ($8499) and LTX 300V ($5799). The difference between them is that the step-up model has 120Hz refresh and ISF certification. Sister brand Paradigm is now shipping the products we saw four months ago at CEDIA.
Anthem Electronics demonstrated its upgraded version of the Statement D2 pre-amp/processor/tuner. The upgraded D2 includes 8 HDMI v1.3c inputs with 2 outputs, a new Sigma Designs video scaler and new audio decoders for DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD.
The Arcam AVR600 is one of the best receivers we've ever reviewed. Making its debut at CES was the slightly slimmed down AVR500, with 100 watts times seven, versus the older model's 120. Arcam's Class G amp topology has to be heard to be believed. A preamp-processor and multi-channel power amp were also on display.
One of the highlights of CEDIA 2009 was Atlantic Technology's announcement of H-PAS technology, which gets subwoofer-worthy bass out of a tower speaker. The prototypes shown then have developed into production models that are about to ship. First to ship will be the 5.25-inch tower; the 4.5-inch version may follow later in the year. With the inevitable pipe organ source material, the demo proved the ability of H-PAS to produce deep true bass sans sub. Phil Clements of Solus/Clements, father of H-PAS technology, weathers the media spotlight with good grace.
Atlantic Technology was showing a near finished prototype of its H-PAS speaker, first seen in early form at CEDIA. H-PAS stands for Hybrid Pressure Acceleration System, a fancy name for what is claimed to be a breakthrough in bass loading. It combines several speaker technologies, including bass reflex, inverse horn, and transmission line. The system is purely passive;there is no subwoofer hidden in the box and the only drivers in the design are the two 5.25" woofers and soft dome tweeter seen in the photo (which does not do the gloss black design justice).
The Zeppelin now has a little sister, the Mini Zeppelin, and it offers a new feature: PC streaming via USB. The iPod dock swivels so your touch or iPhone can be used vertically or horizontally. Unlike the original Zep, which could dominate a large room, the Mini Zep is designed for more intimate spaces. Price $399.
B&W's MM1 multimedia speakers are two-way babies with three-inch woofer and one-inch tweeter, 18 watts, and the company's DSP, which is said to eliminate the need for a sub. Look for them in February, price n/a.
We hope Bowers & Wilkins will forgive us for using the once ubiquitous acronym B&W – we are old fashioned that way. Any changes in the company's world-beating 800 line, lately known as the Diamond Series, qualifies as major news. The original 13 models have been reduced to 7 ranging in price from $2500 to $24,000. Lineup is what you see here plus two centers not pictured. New stuff includes new crossovers, magnets, gloss black finish, and every model has the cool Diamond tweeter.
Driving to Vegas, I always stop in Baker, California, gateway to Death Valley and home of the world's tallest thermometer—134 feet, representing the highest recorded temperature in the US of 134 degrees in 1913. In this night shot, the thermometer is reflected in the 2009 Lincoln MKS that THX loaned me for the trip to check out the THX-certified sound system therein. Unlike past systems, this one can play multichannel DVD-Audio and even DVD video on the in-dash screen (as long as the car parked). Just like past systems, however, this one is quite boomy in the bass, and the only EQ controls are bass and treble. I got it sounding pretty good, especially on Donald Fagen's Nightfly DVD-A, though road noise—even in a car as quiet as this—can wreak havoc on something with a wide dynamic range like Stravinsky's Firebird.
Massive flat panel displays are usually the center piece of most major manufacturer's and there were some very impressive one's this year. However, Sharp's Aquos display was incredible, with their 108" LCD anchored at the bottom.
For years it was all about Home Theater, however, its clear the home entertainment experience is going way beyond that. D-Box uses transducers and motion sensing algorithms to bring a new dimension to watching movies and playing video games. The chairs are not only comfortable for playing your favorite driving games, they pull you into the action as you feel every curve and bump in the road. The chairs range from $3K to $15K. They also make home theater chairs with motion sensing. Also, get ready for the D-Box experience in your local theater, with the upcoming release of the Fast and Furious.