The Denon S-5BD is a combination Blu-ray player and a/v receiver. The player is BD-Live capable and the receiver is no slouch either. It includes Audyssey MultEQ auto setup and room correction plus Audyssey's Dynamic Volume and Dynamic EQ for the ultimate scalable flexibility in low-volume listening -- a boon to action movie lovers who burn the midnight oil. The height-enhanced Dolby Pro Logic IIz surround listening mode is also included. Front panel connectivity includes HDMI, SD card, and direct iPod-capable USB (unless you'd prefer to add Denon's dock). The S-5BD won a CES Innovations 2010 Design and Engineering award and will ship in March for $1799.
New to Dish Network's lineup of HD DVRs is the ViP 922 with Slingbox built in, which lets you watch any recorded program from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection. To store all the HD programs you can't live without, it houses a 1-terabyte hard disk. Also new is the remote, which sports half the number of buttons as the previous design and a little touchpad that moves an onscreen cursor around a much more graphical menu system. As if that weren't enough, the 922 also offers RSS widgets, and it even recommends shows you might like based on what you select to watch.
Don't laugh, you'd look like this too if you walked as many miles and talked to as many exhibitors as I have looking for the latest and greatest home theater and AV components and trends. It's time for a break, but more reporting to follow...
Dolby has been working on an LED local-dimming system for LCD TVs for a couple of years, but now it's finally finished and ready for manufacturers to use in their products. It comes in two flavorsDolby Vision is intended for prosumer, commercial, medical, and industrial applications, while Dolby Contrast is intended for consumer TVs. Pictured here is a 47-inch prototype implementation of Dolby Vision from SIM2. I also saw a demo of Dolby Contrast next to a Samsung 950 LCD with local dimming, and the difference was clearthe set with Dolby Contrast had better contrast and lower blacks, and the colors popped more.
French projector maker DreamVision is known for very high-endand high-costfront projectors, but its new Dream'E bucks this trend with a retail price of only $5300. Sporting a curvaceous shell, the projector uses Sony SXRD imaging chips with a custom light engine. It can also accommodate a fixed Panamorph anamorphic lens for a package price of only $9600 or a Schneider lens with sled for a price yet to be determined. There are three user memories per input and no dynamic iris, examples of a philosophy I share.
DTS, one of the home theater world's guardians of surround standards, was showing these dongles which are designed to adapt stereo signals to surround headphone use. The resemblance to vacuum tubes was neither here nor there. The company was also talking up its DTS Premium Suite of licensed DSP technologies. They include DTS Connect, for upconverting two channels to 5.1; DTS Surround Sensation, for headphones; DTS Symmetry, which balances levels among input sources; and DTS Boost, which makes laptop sound louder, clearer, and more immersive. Also new to us was the 7.1-channel version of Neural, the stereo-to-surround technology purchased from original developer THX a year ago.
It may not look like much, -- and our limited photographic skills don't help -- but we'll bet a lot of penurious audiophiles will go nuts for Dynaudio's new DM-6, a two-way monitor with 5.5-inch woofer and 1.5-inch fabric tweeter, in black or rosewood vinyl. Other models are now available in attractive black or white gloss finishes.
While at least one other major manufacturer besides Sony (Samsung), this entry from enTourage Systems, the Edge, takes a...ah...page from another book. One size of this device is a relatively large screen e-Reader, the other offers an LCD display with some of the functionality of a tablet netbook. You can write on the screen in longhand, or type on either an electronic keyboard or an external keyboard attachable via USB. You can surf the web in full color. The only downside is the 3 lb weight (which felt unusually heavy when I lifted it. About $500, next month (February).
The popular new e-readers aren't exactly our beat at the show, but they could be significant to the publishing business if their promoters have their way. They might even be the way you'll read your favorite magazines (like Home Theater. Sony has three models, including the new Sony Reader Daily Edition. At $400, it's not only the largest of the three (7"), but the only one of Sony's offerings that let you download on-the-go via 3G.
Eco-friendly TVs that consume less power seem to be in everyone's line up now. Though by and large, I noticed they tend to be smaller sets with fewer features. Hopefully, in the years to come it won't be necessary to denote specific models as eco-friendly because we know they all are.
Edifier wasn't actually playing the two table radios we found on the show floor, model-named Braque and Brera. But we bet the vacuum tubes, visible at top, will give their 72 watt output a golden sound. Price and availability unknown but isn't this a great looking product?
We maintain that a well-voiced sat/sub system can be a thing of joy and Epos is one good place to look for one. The 8VS 5.1 system includes a satellite that looks smaller than its 9.25-inch height with matching center and sub. Tweeter is aluminum, woofer is kevlar, and price is $1750. Nice black gloss finishes too.
Epsilon is a French company founded in 1938. While these globular objects can serve as passive speakers, the active version is more interesting. It's got 100 watts of ICEpower amplification and connects wirelessly. Look for it in the third quarter for whatever the U.S. equivalent of 1200 euros will be then (currently a bit north of $1700).
Summit Wireless is coming closer to bringing their super-easy, super-robust, super-sounding wireless technology to the market. In addition to being able to deliver uncompressed 24-bit 48 kHz audio wirelessly without interference or dropouts, the system can handle up to 7.1 channels of audio. Ease of setup is also part of Summit Wireless's technology. Pressing one button on the remote control allows the equipment to automatically determine the position of all the speakers in relation to the holder of the remote. The system uses that info to set delays and output levels. The demos I heard at CEDIA were extremely impressive, and the latest round of demonstrations Summit Wireless did for me here at CES were even more engaging. The chip that contains all the horsepower and the wireless antennae can built into AVRs, TVs, speakers, and subwoofers. Summit Wireless doesn't intend on bringing out branded products, but they will be announcing partners in the very near future. We could even begin seeing product by Christmas of this year. That's the most exciting part of all, because if the systems perform in the real world as well as they have in the demo suites this is going to make the dream of a high performing wireless home theater system a reality.
While Atacama makes conventional speaker stands like the ones at far left and right, the star attraction is obviously the Aurora 6 at $449/pair. That price includes the glass columns but not what fills them. So how would you fill your Auroras? This could be a creative opportunity for folks who collect stones, marbles, or beach glass. How it would affect the resonant character of the stand we cannot say.