While nearly every major consumer electronics brand has a new LCD or Plasma to show off at CES, most models look similar to one another. That isn’t the case with VIZIO’s newest batch of LCD HDTVs. The VL and VT Series all feature a distinct JAVA color treatment with a sophisticated, coffee-colored frame. It’s a nice addition to an LCD that introduces several new features from VIZIO.
You know, with several hundred of Sony's closest friends. This is a good snap shot of what CES press day is like. Lots of lines, lots of people, and lots of madness. It was hard to tell what was being said from back there. I think he said something like, "blessed are the cheese makers." (Hint- Monty Python reference.)
We’re hearing it again and again from many TV manufacturers. TVs are becoming the center of our home entertainment beyond broadcast TV, cable or satellite. Networked TVs that can download content from the internet and can show photos, play videos and music from the computers on your home network. All of the TV manufacturers from LG, to Toshiba, Sharp, Panasonic, Sony and Samsung were announcing their partnerships with different content providers. Yahoo widgets were omnipresent. These mini applications—widgets—let you get local weather, news, sports, stock tickers and more. As widgets you can choose the type of stocks you want to follow or put in other customizable information. Yahoo widgets are open source which means that software developers can let their imaginations run wild and we’ll all benefit from what they dream up.
I went to six press conferences today, and every one of them made a big deal about "How green is my company." Whether it was the energy efficiency of the product itself, the manufacturing of same, or how you can dispose of it in ways that are friendly to birds, fish, and other living things (though perhaps not to Chinese villagers*), they were stumbling all over each other to impress the conservation- and ecologically-minded members of the press. Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course, but I couldn't help thinking that the industry has discovered that there may be green in being green.
Panasonic has announced a major initiative to bring true, full 1080p resolution on Blu-ray to the home theater. At their press conference they announced that they will be conducting demonstrations of 3D at their booth at the show. This demo will use active shutter glasses. No polarized lenses or glasses using funky colored filters. The company will work toward the adoption of an industry standard for the future of home 3D, and hopes to have such a standard in 2009 with consumer 3D products meeting that standard available by 2010. By February 1 of this year they plan to install a 3D disc authoring authority center at the Panasonic Hollywood Labs.
Sony's exhibit at the CEDIA EXPO in September leans heavily on flat panel displays and projectors. But at CES they back off on that emphasis and go for a wider range of audio, video, and other electronic thingys. We're not covering computers here, but I was drawn to the new VAIO P Series Lifestyle PC ($900, February). Especially attractive to long-suffering A/V bloggers suffering under the weight of oversized laptops at trade shows, this tiny compact computer tips the scales at 1.4 lbs. Its 8-inch screen is not for the weak or eye, or the smallish keyboard for the thick of thumb. I found typing on it reasonably easy, though wouldn't want to use it to write the Great American Epic. Wireless everything, of course. Why didn't Steve Jobs and Apple think of this first?
Logic Wireless has unveiled a monster of a cell phone at CES with its new Logic Bolt. Unlike any of its predecessors, this phone can take your home theater experience nearly anywhere. The Logic Bolt incorporates a built-in projector that Logic claims will display razor-sharp images from 36 to 64 inches on a wall or screen. It has the unique capability to increase its screen size to 3,000 percent or more, letting you show off your favorite images and media without squinting at a tiny screen.
Definitive Technology is capitalizing on its already successful Mythos series with the Mythos Nine, an on-wall loudspeaker designed to bring out the best in your flat panel. Priced at $800, the company says that the new Mythos Nine has power well beyond its size. It incorporates two high-definition Balanced Double Surround System (BDSS) 4.5-inch drivers and two 4.5-inch by 8-inch planar medite low-bass radiators. This combination claims to pack a serious punch.
If 2008 was the year of the iPhone, it only makes sense that 2009 is bringing in its own share of small consumer electronics products. Although you won’t be able to fit this in the palm of your hand, Energy’s 8-inch ESW-M6 mini subwoofer ($600) is still a worthy contender in its own category.
Although I haven’t put my hands on one yet (which is a good thing, too, since they’re too greasy from the overpriced turkey club sandwich from room service that I just ate), Logitech’s new Harmony 1100 universal remote control looks like just the kind of remote I’d want in my home theater. It’s classy looking, simple-to-operate, easy-on-the-brain when it comes to programming, and – at $499.99 – it’s a lot less pricey than most of the other touchscreen universal remotes.
I know what you’re thinking. Is that glass half empty or half full? Is it water or whiskey? Ok, that’s a trick question- the answer is obviously dependent on the answer to the first question. And what has the proverbial glass on my mind is CES 2009. I’m here in Vegas and the mood is indeed as subdued as many expected. So far it’s like low season at the hotels here. So, is our perspective on this glass half full? Or is it now a question empty or emptier? Where’s the news?
When I saw the Escalante Design Fremont speaker at HE 2007, I was mightily impressed with their neutrality and precise bass. Fast forward to CES 2008, and things were different. While the midrange and upper frequencies were still sublime, the switch to KR Audio tube monoblocks, from the VTL Reference S-400 stereo amplifier were a mistake as for all of KR's other virtues, bass control was not one of them. Still, one of the better sounds at the show.
Grade-A nice guy Graemme Brown of Zen Mastering is explaining the setup in the Soundlabs / Isomike room before newphew Nate starts the proceedings. Those of you not familiar with Kimber Kable's IsoMike™ technique of recording, suffice to say it produces some uncanny result if you like image specificity and "you are there" realism. With Pass amplifiers, the Sound Lab Prostat speakers stand 8' 8" tall and project along a slight horizontal arc. It's really just two of their Majestic 945 speakers standing side by side in order to get enough horizontal coverage of the large room in which they were positioned. There were also a pair (or is that a quad, hehe) in the rear, but these weren't on for the demo when I was there.