Billy Mays, were he still with us, along with Andy Sullivan, the Slap Chop guy, and the rest of the TV pitchmen won't like this new outboard device from SRS Labs. Hook it up between your satellite or cable box and your TV or AVR, and it will use its processing magic called SRS TruVolume, to reduce the volume of those annoying commercial interruptions down to a more listenable level. The MyVolume Volume Leveling Adaptor is available now for $99.95. The analog audio version is $49.95. CHECK ONE OUT...I mean, check one out.
Following the successful introduction of their high-end Zeppelin iPod speaker system, B & W has entered the sound bar market with a higher end model, the Panorama. Few details were available, although it is a powered sound bar with 5 source inputs including 2 optical and 1 coaxial digital input. Price is $2200. B & W also says it does not require a subwoofer and has enough bass to fill most rooms. We'll see.
To borrow a line from UAV reviewer David Vaughn, CES 2009 is now receding in the rear-view mirror. It was a grueling week during which we all put many miles on our shoesand cars, since Gary Altunian, Kim Wilson, and I all drove to the show and around Las Vegas, avoiding what we thought would be long cab lines. (We would have all driven together to be more eco-friendly, except that each of us was heading in a different direction after the show.)
Last year, Wadia Digital introduced the 170 ITransport, a high-resolution audiophile iPod dock for playback on high-end A/V systems. A new companion piece is the 151 Digital Amp, which creates a miniature 2-channel system for listening to not only your iPod but other stereo sources as well. The 151 has 2 coax and one optical input, along with a USB port (for flash drives). The high-end DACs (which is what WADIA is well known for) coupled with the build-in 50 watt amp, creates a compelling high-end system that doesn't cost a lot (by audiophile standards) or take up much space. The iTransport sells for $379. The price for the 151 Digital Amp was not disclosed but would definitely be under $1K.
No, I'm not going into Canon's consumer HD cameras here, But rather give a shout-out to the Canon tech folks whe helped me with a minor problem that locked out the Canon camera I was using at the show. I was in a near panic, pondering the potential waste of two hours of show time to go back to the hotel for my spare camera, when it occurred to me that Canon might just have a booth at a consumer electronics show. Duh! They did, and they got me going again.
German speaker manufacturer Canton Electronics is showing the DM70, a 2.1-channel integrated system that incorporates a built-in amplifier and a powered subwoofer and is designed to be placed beneath a flat-panel television on a shelf or credenza. This innovative system presented a very convincing simulation of a full multichannel speaker system using Virtual Surround Sound and will likely appeal to many who don't want or have room for rear channel speakers. Looking at the photo it is difficult to believe that the DM70 has a 300-watt amp and a 3-way bass reflex speaker system and a subwoofer in such a small footprint. The DM70 is supplied with a remote control. Pricing is not finalized but is expected to be about $1500. For those not familiar with Canton speakers, read my recent review of the very affordable Canton GLE speaker system.
CDT's great-sounding mini-sats can be configured in many ways. Our favorite is the 5.1-channel set featuring six sats (two for the center channel) and sub. Unfortunately there isn't an official price attached to it. Want height effects without height processing? CDT suggests you put two sats above the screen and link them to your system with an outboard crossover and attenuator. Yeah, the idea seems weird, but we heard it and it sounded great. Price $350. Two sats and sub go for $500. The new So-Na-Wall flat speakers cost $800/pair.
Toshiba's big announcement concerned the incoporation of the advanced Cell processor into selected models of its new, 2010 Cell series of HDTVs. The Cell was developed by Toshiba but is best known up to now as the brains in Sony's PlayStation3.
Las Vegas is very visually deceiving. Buildings, signs and objects are so large in Las Vegas they appear much closer than they really are. Case in point: The Las Vegas Hilton is next door to the LV Convention Center, but walking from one to the other can take 20-30 minutes or more . Last night I attended an event at the Wynn, which is next door to the Venetian. A friend suggested we walk rather than drive. After convincing him that was a mistake, we drove from one parking garage to the other and the distance turned out to be more than 1/2 mile. I have nothing against a good walk except when carrying my laptop computer and the tons of literature collected at the show. Gotta go, it's time to walk the convention floor, which is over 1.5 million square feet! Despite the saying that "Everything is bigger in Texas", the Lone Star state has nothing over Las Vegas.
Attendance at the show was up this year from the previous year, at 120,000-plus versus 113,000. While this did not approach the record 141,000 of two years ago, it was a healthy increase for those who look to CES as an indicator for the overall well-being of the CE industry. As our video editor and fellow blogger Tom Norton pointed out, "they were hanging off the rafters" at the Central Hall. See press release.
According to the CEA, over 110,000 bodies came to swarm the Las Vegas Convention Center and environs for the 2010 CES. Even though there were still two days to go when I took this picture, CES had already taken its toll on these two gentlemen.
During CES they commission pretty much every large vehicle they can find to shuttle attendees from one venue to another. Vegas has purchased some very old double decker buses from England and put them into service as tour buses. Here we are outside the Sands/Venetian Convention Center and heading out to the main Las Vegas Convention Center. How many Convention Center's does one city need?
You might be wondering why I am even talking about a hard drive here on Ultimate AV. However, Click Free is not just any portable hard drive and it can really come in handy for those of us that are starting a serious digital media collection. Click Free drives have embedded software that will automatically transfer data from your computer to the drive. As we collect more and more digital media, we need to find more efficient ways to transfer and manage our files.