As you can see from 15 pages of CES coverage here on HomeTheater.com, there were tons of fascinating announcements and introductions at the annual geekfest in Las Vegas. Now, it's your turnwhat are you most excited about from the show? After you make your selection below, I encourage you to be more specific in the commentsis there a particular product or company you're especially interested in?
Vote to see the results and leave a comment about your choice.
An ambitious Chinese manufacturer of LCD sets, that's who. The small booth had demos 3D sets and an innovative 21:9 flat panel set optimized for 2.35: 1 movies—with black windowbox" bars at the sides for 16:9 material. Reportedly, TCL makes sets for VIZIO, which makes sense seeing that VIZIO is nearly set to release 21:9 sets. The only puzzle here remains why my camera rendered the TCL logo on top a red-fringed yellow, when the sign was clearly solid red.
While home theater enthusiasts may not have given much thought to routers and other home network devices in the past, it’s time we started to pay attention. Whether we are streaming a high definition movie from Vudu, or everyone in the house wants to stream to their own TVs, the router must be able to handle the demand. Netgear, Linksys, D-Link, and Belkin all showed new routers that are capable of streaming several high definition mov
The Sony press conference was very short on details regarding home-theater productswe'll have to get that info in the booth over the next few days. But the company is still clearly bullish on 3D, showing a 3D trailer for Men In Black 3, after which star Will Smith and director Barry Sonnenfeld (right) took the stage with Sony CEO Sir Howard Stringer (left) for some lighthearted banter.
There are specialty manufacturers that make various parts for loudspeaker drivers, and when ordering specialty drivers it is possible for a manufacturer of finished speakers to select the cone, surround, frame, voice-coil, etc. from various sources and have these parts assembled by a finished driver specialist. That's way it's possible to experiment with different configurations without the expense of fabricating the individual (very expensive) parts only to discard them if the results prove unsatisfactory.
That may or may not be how Wilson or any other specific manufacturer orders its custom drivers, only that it's possible. Note how the midrange driver used in the Sasha from Wilson Audio (and in variations in most of that company's newer speakers) at first glance resembles the driver from SEAS shown below. However, if you look closely the resemblance is mainly in the cone material, with significant differences in the dust cap, frame, surround, and presumably the internal structure as well.
New at CES from Wolf Cinema is the SDC-10 3D D-ILA projector ($10,000), affectionately known as the Pup. The spec'd contrast ratio is 70,000:1, and that's without a dynamic iris! It offers three lens memories that let you preset the zoom and focus for different aspect ratios, and it can accommodate an anamorphic lens as well. The demo was BBC's Life in 2D and Legend of the Guardians in 3D shown on a 120-inch-wide Stewart Reflection 170 screen, and it looked spectacular.
Even the most dialed-in, industry-savvy tech writer misses a thing or two along the way, and Sonic Emotion is a company that’s been totally off my radar. (In my defense, they’re only now trying to break into the U.S. consumer market.) The company’s technology, Sonic Emotion Absolute 3D, is supposed provide “all listeners an immersive 3D sound experience from a single device - regardless of their positioning in the room, device location and room dimensions - using any input format...” Despite the fact that that is indeed quite a claim, during a demo this afternoon the folks at Sonic Emotion quickly proved they’re more than just talk. Using an AudioSource S3D60 and a variety of demo material, the presenter quickly convinced the group of us jaded press people that the technology actually does provide a very impressive 3D sonic expansion of two-channel sources from a single box. According to Sonic Emotion, the technology is not room-dependent (as some other simulated surround devices are). The effect was quite good, and it was stable regardless of where I stood in the demo area. Look for more products incorporating Sonic Emotion technology coming later this year.
I’m convinced that Soundmatters is doing something they shouldn’t be doing. It’s got to be illegal, or at least against the laws of acoustics. The company’s new foxLO is subwoofer that’s not much bigger than an external hard drive. Soundmatters says the $149 foxLO is “the world’s first palm-sized hi-fi subwoofer”. While the industrial design is very cool, that alone wouldn’t warrant giving it a listen. The claim of being “a true hi-fi subwoofer”, however, made me give it a highly skeptical listen - after which I became a true believer. This little 2.5” high x 4.5” wide x 6.3” deep unit incorporates an active woofer with passive radiator and a built-in 25-watt amplifier. And it absolutely rocks in a way that something that small shouldn’t be able to do. The foxLO is expected to be available this Spring.