The new Revel Performa 3 speaker line nestles snugly in the middle niche between the higher-end Ultima and more affordable Concerto. Ten models (shown here in prototype form) will include two monitors, three towers, two centers, surround, and two subs. Most will ship this summer except for one tower and one sub, due in fall. Enclosures now have curved sides. The floorstanders have rounded backs while the monitors have straight backs. New driver arrays and waveguides make things even more interesting. By the way, one of the most satisfying demos we've heard at CES so far was the Revel W780 in-wall speaker. For $600/each you get strong bass extension and a midrange that's kind to vocalists.
HiFiMAN invited numerous journalists to a press conference this morning, fed them a standard hotel buffet breakfast, and then explained why the company uses planar drivers in their over-the-ear headphones. EiC Rob Sabin shows why he will never be able to have a second career as a fashion model in the picture above - but the smile on his face does indicate the fact that the HE-400 over-the-ear headphones ($399) sounded pretty darn good. One benefit of the planar driver is that it does not require high voltages as an electrostatic driver would, which means its easier to drive with portable audio devices.
Roku showed a network media player that is simply a large dongle that connects directly to your TV set. Shrinking the already small Roku 2 design even more, the new device doesn’t reduce the content or experience.
The Roku dongle will connect to an HDMI port on your TV. It will not come with its own remote. Instead, once connected, you can use the TV remote to navigate the Roku’s home screen, channels and to control playback.
Having worked with artists such as Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige, Usher, Boyz II Men, Prince, and many others, the legendary producing duo of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis have signed a new group called the RoneyBoys(left to right) Isaac (12), Ian (10), and Israel (16)after Jimmy's son found them on YouTube. The three brothers performed at the DTS party Sunday, singing and playing small ukulele-guitars, and I was very impressed with their musicianship, especially at such a young age. Unfortunately, things got a late start because the venue wouldn't let them into the bar area at first!
Not to be outdone by its cross-town rival LG, Samsung introduced its own 55-inch 3D OLED TV at its press conference today. This gorgeous, ultra-thin masterpiece incorporates a dual-core chipset that allows multiple Samsung apps to run simultaneously. Like the company's other high-end TVs, this one includes Smart Interaction technology that lets you manage your TV experience with motion control, voice control, and face recognition. Welcome to the next generation of television!
When have you last seen a Home Theater in a Box that uses vacuum tubes in its AV receiver section? Samsung has one in its 6730W home theater system&$151;flat panel available separately! It sounded warmer and more pleasant than it had any right to in an open space, though of course tubes alone are no panacea. No price available as yet, but it's the first HTiB I've found at least interesting. The tubes are in the receiver's input stages; the output is solid state. Samsung is also offering some one-piece, two-channel iPod (and Android) docs with vacuum tube inputs.
As one of only three major manufacturers of plasma TVs, Samsung continues its tradition of excellence with the E8000 flagship line, which offers screen sizes of 60 and 64 inches. A dual-core chipset is said to provide enhanced performance, with excellent 2D and 3D picture quality and deep blacks thanks to the company's Real Black filter. Its Smart TV functionality includes Samsung's Smart Content and Smart Interaction technology that lets you control the TV by motion and voice, and Smart Evolution lets you upgrade the hardware as new features become available.
Samsung's new lineup of LED-edgelit LCD TVs is topped by the flagship ES8000 series, available in screen sizes up to 75 inches. Cutting-edge image-enhancing technologies are said to provide a brighter picture and greater contrast, and the dual-core chipset allows multiple apps to run at the same time. Users can control the TV with the company's new Smart Interaction technology, which includes voice control and gesture control using a built-in camera. Also, face recognition automatically logs into each family member's Smart TV account.
I learned more about the flagship of Samsung's 2012 LED-LCD TV lineup since the press conference last Monday. For example, it will be available in screen sizes of 55, 60, and 75 inches. Like all Samsung LED-LCDs, this one is edgelit along the sides, and a new Micro Dimming Ultimate algorithm provides pseudo local dimming with more zones than previous versions. Also, Smart Evolution lets you upgrade the TV's hardware as well as firmware, making it essentially futureproof.
Samsung is keeping most of its announcements under wraps until its press conference on Monday, but it did release some info about a couple of new home-theater-in-a-box (HTIB) systems and a soundbar. The HT-E6730W (seen above) is a 7.1 system with wireless surround speakers, Blu-ray player, and built-in WiFi as well as a full Web browser. Even more interesting, it's the first HTIB to feature Samsung's Crystal Amp Plus hybrid technology that combines vacuum tubes and a digital power amp.
No doubt about it, the 55-inch OLED TVs from Samsung (shown here) and LG stole the show for me. (Yes, there were a lot of 4K flat panels as well, but without 4K content, they are not all that important except for passive-glasses 3D.) This is the first new TV technology to become a real commercial product in many years, and it beats LCD and plasma in every way. Both manufacturers claim to have solved OLED's longevity problem, but only time will tell if they actually have.
No pricing was announcednor was a model number in Samsung's casebut I've heard rumors from $5000 to $10,000. If it's closer to $5000, that will be a home run right out of the gate; if it's more like $10,000, these TVs will be a niche product until the next generation brings the price down.
One of the most important themes from CES this year is the continuing development of Internet-delivered content, which is quickly maturing into a viable alternative to cable and satellite. For example, the ES7500 LED-LCD TV (shown here), ES8000, and other premium Samsung TVs provide Smart Content, which offers over 1400 apps from providers such as CNBC Real Time, ESPN ScoreCenter, Hulu Plus, MTV Music Meter, Netflix, and Time TV. New apps in 2012 include Bravo, Technicolor M-Go, and The Daily as well as Media Hub, which was previously available on Galaxy S smartphones and Galaxy Tabs. This powerful app offers a diverse selection of movies and TV shows the day after they air as well as past seasons of the shows; some movies are available the same day they are released on DVD and Blu-ray.
Another important new app in the Samsung suite brings Verizon FiOS live TV directly to its Smart TVs and Blu-ray players. This app allows FiOS subscribers to watch 26 live TV channels and access more than 10,000 video-on-demand titles through Verizon's Flex View service without the need for a set-top box. Also provided is a full web browser.