This summer, look for Belkin’s FlyWire system to wirelessly connect HDMI source components to your HDMI-enabled TV. (Other, lesser connectivity standards are supported as well.) The two-box bundle is prematched, so installation and configuration of the sending and receiving units shouldn’t cause unbearable grief, and the results that they showed at their booth were flawless, even amid God-knows-how-many competing wireless demos in the South Hall. No firm price has been set yet, but expect to fork over between five and six hundred clams.
Hitachi is very excited about their new statement product, the Ultra Thin LCD. "1.5" is both the brand and the depth (in inches) of these new LCDs, available in screen sizes of 32, 37, and 42 inches. The 37- and 42-inch models have a 1920 x 1080 resolution, while the 32-inch model has a 1366 x 768 resolution. In traditional Hitachi form, the line is divided into three series: The Director's Series and V Series are HD monitors only, with HDMI 1.3 and RGB inputs but no internal tuners. The S Series comes with an outboard Audio Video Center that includes ATSC/NTSC tuners, three HDMI 1.3 inputs, and two component video inputs. The Audio Video Center can be purchased separately, as well. All of the models use Hitachi's In-Plane Switching (IPS) panel to improve viewing angle and Reel120 120-Hz technology to reduce judder.
The Polk SurroundBAR360 is an all-in-one flat-panel-friendly audio solution with DVD receiver and horizontal speaker. Inside the speaker are 5.1 channels, and yes, that does include an onboard sub. Look for it in April for $1199. Polk also showed a new budget speaker series, the TSi, with prices ranging from $250/pair for the stand-mount TSi 200 to $900/pair for the TSi 500.
The big news for Squeezebox fans is that the Squeezebox Duet moves functionality from the box to the remote. Isn't it pretty? Look for it in late January or early February. Hand model: Pamela McCracken.
Formerly known under the informal project name of Blackbird, the THX Media Director has emerged from R&D and we got a sneak peak. Metadata are authored into Blu-ray (or whatever) discs. The player might handle the metadata with a firmware upgrade or you might need a new player. Your surround processor, possibly the Lyndorf pre-pro certified for this purpose, then uses the metadata to adjust aspect ratio, color temp, picture mode, surround processing, and all those other settings that are either a bear to deal with or you (well, other people) might not be knowledgable to fool with. If this thing flies, it'll bring high-end home theater performance out of the tweaker ghetto. (Pictured, two early THX Media Director certified products, top: Anchor Bay DVDO VP50 video processor. Bottom: Lyngdorf D-1 surround pre-pro.)
Sharp is showing off their second-generation Blu-ray player, the $700 BD-HP50U. This player supports BD-ROM Profile 1.1, which means that it has secondary audio and video decoders to exploit interactive BD features like the ability to watch a picture-in-picture commentary track while the film plays in the background. The player can output 1080p/24 or 1080p/60 through its HDMI 1.3 connection, but it lacks an Ethernet port. The booth rep said it does have onboard Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, and DTS HD decoding, and it will include 2- and 5.1-channel analog audio outputs; however, the press release was vague on this, and the booth samples didn't have real back panels. You definitely get AQUOS Link (HDMI-CEC) for intuitive control through an AQUOS LCD, plus RS-232 for integration into an advanced control system. The BD-HP50U will be available in May.
It’s not the most portable of camcorders, but it’s guaranteed to make quite an impression the next time you take it to your kid’s soccer game. In fact, the other team might quit before the game even starts when you whip this baby out of the back of your minivan.
Last month I risked all and took my Canon Rebel XTi camera on a wild sled ride down the winding gravel road in front of my house. It was the same sort of stupid thinking that got Sonny Bono where he is today, but fortunately the sled, my body, and – most importantly – my Canon camera made it through the slippery downhill adventure unscathed and dry.
Now, I like to watch a little TV every now and then, but this is just too much. I may have lost count, but I think there were at least a dozen TV screens in this car. To make matters worse, there were at least two sources playing.
Sennheiser’s new MX W1 wireless earphones are said to be the industry’s first “true wireless” stereo earphones based on Kleer’s wireless audio technology. The Kleer people seem to be very clear about their beliefs that their wireless technology blows the ears off of Bluetooth technology. They say it has something to do with spectral footprints, bandwidth, power consumption, audio quality, and wires.
I'm tempted to leave this Blog with only that one word: wow. Words are hard to come by. I've been doing this for some time now, and I can't recall the last time I was entranced in a demo, sitting forward in my seat, jaw agape. Pioneer's Extreme Contrast "Concept" plasma display demo was this and more. This might be the biggest potential sea change I've seen in any product category in my years in this industry.
One of the most compelling demos of next-gen interactivity I've seen is a technology being dubbed Blu-ray Magic. Using Blu-ray's network-connected BD live platform, connects BD users to pertinent content and materials, even when there's no disc in the machine. For instance, the screen above is generated with no player in the drive, showing what's available and upcoming on Blu-ray and allows users to not only download and view trailers, but purchase or rent the featured titles through partners like Amazon and NetFlix.