Viewsonic showed off several displays (some of which were prototypes) that had a built in iPod dock so you can watch your iPod video on a big screen. There were a lot of these types of things at the show.
JVC showed off a new LCD panel that uses LEDs as it’s backlight source. With no model number, price, or potential availability, it isn’t much of a story. What is, is the prototype 2.35:1 aspect ratio RPTV they were showing in the back. They wouldn’t let us take pictures, though, so you’ll just have to imagine it. Hate those black bars on the top and bottom when you’re watching movies? This is your answer, a rear-projection TV with a really widescreen aspect ratio. I hope they make it as I imagine a lot of people would love to get one despite the fact that if you watch anything with less than 2.35:1 aspect ratio, you’ll have bars on the sides. Oh well.
The former design guru of Platinum Audio now heads up American Acoustic Development, or AAC, and while the 7001i Reference monitor's ribbon tweeter caught my ear, I was soon sucked into the vortex of Phil's M Series, his first value-priced home theater package ($1350/5.1-channel system). He is a bass player and let me assure you the system had jaw-droppingly tight and focused bass response as well as the designer's signature clarity.
The G95 is this high-end digital icon's first product to combine preamp, surround processing, and amplifier functions. Power is rated at 100 watts times five. Also included is a DVD/CD drawer (with DVD-Audio compatibility). The price is a mere $8400 and surround-savvy, spaced-starved audiophiles are salivating. Meridian also showed off a new variant of its Faroudja video processing with motion compensation, not to mention a trendy iPod dock.
If this rosewood piano-gloss finish looks good to you, Onix will sell it to you in a two-way stand-mount speaker for $269/pair. The company also makes electronics. In fact, a previous incarnation of Onix made the stereo integrated amp that powers my desktop system.
Speakers of the future will go green. Among the several environment-friendly materials Infinity is considering is recycled-denim insulation (not to mention bamboo plywood). It will soon arrive in product. Just think, what was warming someone's booty yesterday may be in your speakers tomorrow.
Audio Physic's Sky on-wall suits a variety of decor situations with four choices of side panel for a mere $2000/pair (the company has a high-end rep on the block). Without panels, it also functions as an in-wall. The Spark mini-tower, Celsius center, and Step stand-mount speakers may find their way into my listening room.
The newer and smaller of Bang & Olufsen's two powered floorstanding speakers powers its woofer with 500 watts of Class D ICE power (the smart green kind) and saves sweeter-sounding Class AB for the midrange and tweeter. At $9900/pair, you might find it sinfully expensive, but when you see some of B&O's slick moves for integration with swiveling video displays and its brand-new multimedia interface, you just might change your mind.
Only the latest version of the HDMI interface, 1.3, will carry DTS-HD Master Audio, though 1.2 and 1.1 will do for DTS-HD High Resolution Audio, not to mention Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus. Sherwood receiver model R-872 ($999) is the lowest-priced one with the full monty. Also fully qualified to be your man is the R-972 ($1499).
You don't see the parts inside a speaker enclosure. So when you lay eyes on the latest generation of Wharfedales to live in the now-familiar curved enclosure, you won't see the fat, sexy, new magnets and capacitors that will provide "better dynamic range" and "much better high-frequency response." Is the familiar dark-hued tone of recent Wharfedale product about to change? I'd like to find out in my own environs.
What's the best way to arrest rapidly moving showgoers and convince them that your noise-cancelling headphone technology is the best? Sennheiser plopped a couple of plane seats (first class, of course) on the show floor with a speaker between them spewing recorded jet turbine noise. I then sat down next to the speaker, put on the cans, and got the point. The PXC 450 is comfortable, despite its ear-enveloping size, and sounds full, rich, and spacious, with profound bass.
Vogue Tech. Co. of Taiwan showed a peak-eared feline-like multimedia speaker system using flat-panel diaphragms licensed from U.K.-based NXT. Safe to say this is a Home Theater Magazine blog exclusive.