CES 2010 is now just a memory, but hopefully not a fading one. On my last day or two I saw a few things that I couldn't get posted while still in Vegas. IDT, the company that now owns the HQV Reon video processing technology, showed a number of interesting new technologies. The most intriguing was a small, nondescript box (no wasted funds on here on cosmetics!) that can perform all the Reon video processing functions, including deinterlacing, upconverting, and noise reduction, plus flesh tone correction&$151;the latter said to be more sophisticated than the flesh tone correction offered in some televisions. No decision yet as to whether it will be marketed under IDT's own brand name or by a third party. The price could be as low as under $100, which would be a huge plus for those whose HDTVs have mediocre built-in video processing.
Attendance at the show was up this year from the previous year, at 120,000-plus versus 113,000. While this did not approach the record 141,000 of two years ago, it was a healthy increase for those who look to CES as an indicator for the overall well-being of the CE industry. As our video editor and fellow blogger Tom Norton pointed out, "they were hanging off the rafters" at the Central Hall. See press release.
The Denon S-5BD is a combination Blu-ray player and a/v receiver. The player is BD-Live capable and the receiver is no slouch either. It includes Audyssey MultEQ auto setup and room correction plus Audyssey's Dynamic Volume and Dynamic EQ for the ultimate scalable flexibility in low-volume listening -- a boon to action movie lovers who burn the midnight oil. The height-enhanced Dolby Pro Logic IIz surround listening mode is also included. Front panel connectivity includes HDMI, SD card, and direct iPod-capable USB (unless you'd prefer to add Denon's dock). The S-5BD won a CES Innovations 2010 Design and Engineering award and will ship in March for $1799.
McIntosh introduced its first Blu-ray player, the MVP881 BR ($8000, shipping this month). Its custom fabricated steel and aluminum enclosure conceals an all-metal drive that handles SACD and DVD-Audio as well as BD, DVD, and CD. Video processing is Silicon Optics HQV Realta. McIntosh also took the wraps off a new pre-pro, the MX 150 ($12,000, also shipping this month), and the MEN220 two-channel room correction system featuring Lyngdorf Audio's RoomPerfect technology ($4500).
If I'd had $299 for the Show special price, I'd be flying home with one of these RCX4 Stryker RC flying X-wing craft from EZ2Fly, Inc. (The regular price is $399.) They say it's a full-function 4-channel hovercraft with an integrated 3D gyro system. It's not quite as cool as Parrot's AR Drone quadricopter that uses Wi-Fi, has two on-board cameras, and can be controlled by an iPhone or iPod touch - but the AR Drone isn't available for purchase yet.
Purosol, arguably one of the best screen cleaners around, has a new look for the packaging. Fortunately, it's the same old formula inside. $10 for the little bottle. $26 for the big bottle/little bottle combo. Cleaning cloths are included.
We can't say too much about it, but PrimeSense is working on a 3D motion-control camera system that's extremely inexpensive, amazingly sensitive, and promises to be incredibly fun and useful. (How often does that happen?) Of course, many companies are developing systems that will let you control your computer or home entertainment system using gestures, but seems to have them beat hands down (and up) when it comes to a device that's affordable (and by that I mean really affordable) and yet very accurate. PrimeSense's technology can be used in place of a mouse or other input device for games and picture/movie viewing. You won't be seeing any PrimeSense branded equipment, but the technology will be coming to store shelves as part of at least one well-known company's products. Next year we may see the technology built into TVs, computers, and anything else that needs input from a remote control or mouse.
Summit Wireless is coming closer to bringing their super-easy, super-robust, super-sounding wireless technology to the market. In addition to being able to deliver uncompressed 24-bit 48 kHz audio wirelessly without interference or dropouts, the system can handle up to 7.1 channels of audio. Ease of setup is also part of Summit Wireless's technology. Pressing one button on the remote control allows the equipment to automatically determine the position of all the speakers in relation to the holder of the remote. The system uses that info to set delays and output levels. The demos I heard at CEDIA were extremely impressive, and the latest round of demonstrations Summit Wireless did for me here at CES were even more engaging. The chip that contains all the horsepower and the wireless antennae can built into AVRs, TVs, speakers, and subwoofers. Summit Wireless doesn't intend on bringing out branded products, but they will be announcing partners in the very near future. We could even begin seeing product by Christmas of this year. That's the most exciting part of all, because if the systems perform in the real world as well as they have in the demo suites this is going to make the dream of a high performing wireless home theater system a reality.
Build a new mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door. Build a new mouse (the computer-type, that is), and the world will put their hands all over it. That's just what Jelfin wants to have happen with the company's new ball-shaped mouse that comes with a gel cover. In addition to being washable (keep your stinking H1N1 germs to yourself, thank you), the gel covering - and the ball-shape - make the mouse very comfortable to hold in your hand.
No, it's the new Liquid Image Wide Angle Scuba Series HD322 Camera Mask. It shoots video in 720P and has a 135 degree wide angle lens. It's rated for use down to 130 ft, has a micro SD/SDHC card slot, comes with a 2GB micro SD card, and can shoot two hours of video on 4 AAA batteries. It almost makes me want to take up scuba diving.
Billy Mays, were he still with us, along with Andy Sullivan, the Slap Chop guy, and the rest of the TV pitchmen won't like this new outboard device from SRS Labs. Hook it up between your satellite or cable box and your TV or AVR, and it will use its processing magic called SRS TruVolume, to reduce the volume of those annoying commercial interruptions down to a more listenable level. The MyVolume Volume Leveling Adaptor is available now for $99.95. The analog audio version is $49.95. CHECK ONE OUT...I mean, check one out.
XStreamHD is a high definition media via satellite delivery service provider that's been gearing up for the last year. We've followed their progress, and now it looks like XStreamHD will be launching at the end of April. The XStreamHD hardware will let you rent HD movies (with Blu-ray bit-for-bit HD quality) with many other media-centric service to come, including game downloads. There's a $10/month subscription fee - after that, you simply pay for the movies/games/etc. that you want to rent or buy. Everything gets stored on the XStreamHD HD Media Server that comes standard with a 1TB drive (but is upgradeable to 2TB and 4TB). Movies can be streamed to HDTVs throughout your house using the basic HD Media Receiver or the more advanced PRO Media Receiver, which includes high-end DACs and 8-channel analog audio out for use with pre/pros that lack HDMI inputs. The basic package (1 Media Server + 1 HD Media Receiver) is scheduled to sell for $399. A Server and PRO Receiver package will be $499.
Some of the best sound at CES was from speakers that don't officially exist. KEF gave the press a look at their skunkworks with a “concept” speaker called the Blade. In a cabinet carved from carbon fiber, the Blade uses the latest version of KEF’s Uni-Q coincident midrange and tweeter with four woofers mounted in close proximity around the sides of the cabinet to better emulate a point source. The woofers on either side of the cabinet cancel cabinet vibrations. The sound that came from these speakers was simply magic. Driven by Audio Research electronics, I heard spooky, lifelike imaging, high-resolution of detail, and tremendous dynamic swing and punch. Bass and drum kits in particular were simply right there in the room with us. Sticking to its story that this was a technology demonstration, KEF wouldn’t say that this speaker would ever come to market. But the sound here is just too good to keep it in the hangar at Area 51.
According to the CEA, over 110,000 bodies came to swarm the Las Vegas Convention Center and environs for the 2010 CES. Even though there were still two days to go when I took this picture, CES had already taken its toll on these two gentlemen.