The 9L Active speaker from Quad couples 50 watts of digital amplification with a wireless link, the exact nature of which is to be determined. There's a volume knob on the front, as opposed to the inconvenient rear-mounted control on similar products, and really, don't those little things matter when you use something on a daily basis? Shipping in May for $750/pair.
As much sculptures as speakers, the new Strada Series from Gallo Acoustics comes in a cast aluminum enclosure with innards similar to those in the Reference 3.1 towers. Price $899/each. The TR-3 sub, which will replace the TR-2, features a long-throw aluminum cone woofer and will sell for $895. Both available in the second quarter of 2008.
Snell speakers have always had a good reputation, but I had no idea that they were good enough to find their way into the White House. Now, the question is, was it a Republican or a Democrat who put them there?
Sure, he looks cute, but beneath that plushy exterior lies a soul-eating pusher of 24/7 communication. You think methamphetamine is bad? Take a Blackberry away from someone and you’ll see the kind of behavior that’ll make Britney’s antics seem as benign as a day on the set of High School Musical II.
Spit happens. So do spills, sloshes, fizzes, and squirts. Sometimes you simply feel a little dirty after opening that umpteenth spam e-mail about male enhancement meds. Belkin’s new washable optical mouse takes a licking and keeps on clicking. All the important parts are sealed for your protection, so you can wash off any foreign substances that might find their way onto your mouse. Belkin was promoting this a great mouse for kids’ computers, but I think there are plenty of adults who could use one of these, too.
Universal Electronics has added another model to their successful Nevo line of universal remotes. As the flagship controller in the line, the $1199 NevoS70 combines popular features from the company's previous two models (the NevoSL and NevoQ50) and then further sweetens the deal. Like the SL, the S70 can tap into your 802.11g network and provide navigation and control of movies, music, and photos stored on your PC. Like the Q50, it offers both IR and two-way Z-wave control options, with the addition of the $299 NevoConnect NC-50 base station. Best of all, it adds an IP browser, so you can pull up a TV program guide or get sports scores and weather info without ever having to turn on the TV. It can also talk to and control any device that has a compatible web server, such as a web-based camera or media server. And, like all Nevo models, it comes with a fully customizable color touchscreen and lots of convenient programming features for the custom installer.
Marantz has been the industry's #4 hitter in delivering high-end, single-box AVRs that sound great for some time. In Q2 of 2008 Marantz gets outside that single-box with the AV8003 preamp/processor (pictured above) and MM8003 multichannel amplifier.
This is going to be the year of 3D. I know it’s been said before, but this time it’s really going to happen. More studios are producing more 3D films, and there is more 3D hardware than ever. Most importantly, the quality of the 3D experience is the best that it’s ever been. Look for lots of HDTVs with built-in 3D capabilities. 3D leader Sensio announced that they are now part of the HDMI spec, which means that – in the future – when you put a Sensio-encoded disc in your hi-def player, your HDTV and associated hardware will know that it’s a 3D movie and automatically switch into 3D mode. Simple is always better. In this case, it’s 3X simpler.
Radiient Technologies’s first products were HDMI switchers and distribution boxes, but they’re going all out to develop high-performance wireless audio transmitters and receivers that can be built-in to speakers or added on externally. Based on the quality and performance of their current HDMI gear, the wireless components should be excellent, too. Not surprisingly, they mentioned that a lot of the video companies they’ve been dealing with have requested wireless video devices, as well. Expect to see product for sale before the end of this year.
Life|ware combines home entertainment and automation using Microsoft’s Media Center as a backbone. All sorts of other companies, such as Lutron, Russound, Niles, SpeakerCraft, HP, Samsung, Honeywell, and etc, make devices that interface with the system so custom installers can tailor a complete automation/entertainment package that puts control of the entire home within a touchpanel or remote control.
It’s hard to get the whole concept across sometimes, so the Life|ware people partnered with Disney who supplied the actors pictured here who acted out a corny “life” within a complete Life|ware-equipped home.
My personal favorite of the entire setup was the demonstration of a prototype of the Starry Night Sleep Technology bed by a company called Leggett and Platt. The bed monitors your sleep cycle, respiration, heartbeat – it can even tell if you’re snoring – and adjusts the bed accordingly to make your sleepy night perfect. Move over, Big Brother, this is Big Mother. Pricing hasn’t been set yet, but you can bet it’s going to be expensive (with a capital $).
When Academy Award winner Michael Douglas was announced to be part of XStreamHD's CES press conference, a number of us in the press corps thought, wow now that's a heavy hitter for a spokesperson! Well, in introducing XStreamHD to the assembled press Douglas revealed that his involvement is far deeper- he's one of the company's group of private investors. So, what is XStreamHD?
On Monday night (yes, I'm late), I went to a rave and a product introduction broke out. Mitsubishi's intro of LaserTV was all glitz and glam, complete with white chocolate martinis and dancing girls and swirling lights. And TVs. Mits indeed made one of the loudest, bravest and most fascinating product intros of CES in unveiling its LaserTV category. What's brave is that this is a large RPTV technology, with lasers as a light source, in a world that's not only going flat, but flatter and flatter by the minute.
A small building just outside the LVCC evoked memories of Ralph Kramden in his chef hat, as were were treated to a glimpse of The House of the Future. The man of the house is the Life|media LMS-754, a home media server running Microsoft Windows Vista, available in different configurations that include DVD, Blu-ray, CableCARD, and various processors, either in a rack-mountable form factor or as a set-top box. The Life|ware 2.0 software enables elaborate control of the home entertainment experience, while taking it a step further with a new level of home automation, executing user-defined commands called Life|scenes, in collaboration with everything from Lutron lighting to next-generation smart beds. A 16:9 touch screen displays data and allows access from any room in the house.