If you've been thinking about taking the big step to high-definition front projection entertainment (it's well worth the cost and effort, that's for sure), then Optoma has a thousand dollar offer you just about can't refuse. (Well, you could, but then you'd be forced to continue watching that tiny 42-inch plasma you paid more than $1,000 for last year...)
Butt-Kicker and all you other rump-rumbling transducer guys take note: portable media players just might be an untapped (and unshaken) market opportunity. Especially now that they - like the new portable from Creative - are getting so video oriented.
New home buyers with $20,000 to $40,000 to spare for home entertainment can turn to Sony's expandable, installation-ready NHS-3020 system. Sony says the system provides discrete control and support of audio and video content for a 7.1-channel home theater, with the resources to control up to 12 additional rooms of audio and video.
Yeah, right, you say you brought your laptop on the plane so you could get some work done - but you and I know you really tucked it in your carry-on bag so you could watch Breakfast on Pluto without having to explain to your kids what a transvestite is. But, in addition to being a horrible place to type or do other computerized work, an airplane seat is not conducive to comfortable movie viewing, either. Thanks to the dude who has to recline all the way in the seat in front of me, I can never get the screen at the right angle to eliminate all the glare on the screen. As a result, most of the time I'm actually happy when the battery runs out before the movie ends.
Control4 continues its dominance in affordable home theater and whole-house automation with a huge presence at CEDIA. While the main central components - the $599 Home Theater Controller and the $1499 Media Controller - remained basically unchanged, the company announced a new in-wall touch panel (approximately 10") and ugrades to its 4Sight subscription service that allows a homeowner to both monitor and change the status of lights, garage doors, and other household gadgets via the Internet using any browser.
Limited viewing angles have always been the Achilles' heel of LCD flat panels when used as a TV or other video-viewing device. Gradually move off-center while looking at an LCD TV and, at some point, you'll begin to notice changes in the brightness and color of the image on the screen. Although there have been significant improvements over the years, Sanyo Epson Imaging Devices Corporation ("Sanyo Epson") thinks they've figured out a way to say "sayonara" to the problem once and for all.
Tunebug's Vibe is a small triangular puck that sits on any flat surface and turns it into a speaker. No, it's not audiophile stuff, but it can sure beat the pants off that teeny speakier in your portable media player or laptop. The Shake does the same thing for bike and skate/snowboard helmets - or any other three-dimensional surface from which you might want to produce sound. Using the Shake on a helmet lets you hear music and the ambient noises around you (potentially keeping you from getting flattened by an oncoming truck).
I really like the look and simplicity of ELAN's new ole' Film Interactive Touchpad (F.I.T.), and at $390 it's priced more like a keypad than a touchpad. The new in-wall controller uses predesigned thin film overlays on top of the touchpad surface. Since the button layouts are preset, it's extremely easy to program the pad to control the gear in your system. When installed in a full-blown ELAN multizone system, the pad displays system status info on an OLED window near the top of the pad - but it can also be used as a standalone touch pad controller in any system. (You won't get system status info, though.)
Multiroom audio is not a new idea. Nor are the concepts of digital amplification, touchscreen controllers, and audio distribution over CAT5 wiring. But not everyone has thought to bring all of those ideas together in one particular audio distribution product - and when a relative newcomer to the audio-in-any-room party shows up with an amplified (that's "amplified" as in "watts per channel") touchpanel in his hand, it's time to cock an eyebrow, act like you're not interested, and then try like heck to figure out exactly what's going on and how much it's going to cost.
Following the likes of Bang & Olufsen and Sony, Pioneer will open a retail store in the United States this August. The 32,000-square-foot company store, to be located at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, California, will offer Pioneer and Pioneer Elite components traditionally sold in the U.S. in addition to products currently available only in Japan. Pioneer intends for the store to be a testing ground for these and other new products. The company expects the retail outlet to provide it with consumer feedback that will "impact and enhance future product development."