Late last week, CustomFlix Labs, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Amazon.com, announced that CBS News had selected CustomFlix and Amazon.com to distribute thousands of hours of prime-time and classic news content. The treasure trove of past CBS News content includes broadcasts from "60 Minutes", "CBS Evening News", and a variety of long-form documentaries produced by CBS News Productions over the past 10 years.
For one of my last demos of CES2008, I stopped by the Definitive Technology room in the Venetian. There, in addition to showing off the newest Mythos ST speakers, they were putting on demos of the company’s new Solo Surround Array speakers. The SSAs join the growing number of single speaker simul-surround thingees that reduce the multiple speakers of the traditional surround system to one slim one. Of all the slender systems I’ve heard, the Definitive SSA-50 is by far the most impressive, the most surrounding, and the most amazing. Regardless of whether I was standing in the back of the room or in the middle of the room’s “sweet spot”, the effect was stunningly immersive. It certainly won’t replace a full-blown 5.1-channel system, but for the rear-speaker challenged, wire-averse, or stubbornly dcor-driven, this is a single-speaker solution that will make you sit up and listen.
Summit Wireless keeps charging forward in their quest to conquer the wireless home theater audio world. While the company was cagey about upcoming announcements regarding products coming to market, the people in-the-know hinted that exciting things are about to happen. Summit Wireless technology enables wireless 5.1- and 7.1-channel home theater systems. But it’s more than just a set of wireless speakers. The technology allows the user to tailor the sweet spot of the system to any location in the room with the press of a single button. The system automatically figures out where all the speakers are in relation to each other and can process the audio signal to compensate for less than optimum speaker or listener positioning – and it does it with a single button press. It’s quite possible that we’ll soon start seeing the Summit Wireless processing technology showing up in flat panel TVs, in which case adding a simple dongle to the USB port on the TV will enable the TV to send audio to a set of powered, wireless speakers in your home theater.
Aperion Audio is the first company to have actual, real products available for sale. The 5.1-channel amplified wireless Aperion Audio home theater system will be shipping soon for $2,499. The 7.1 version will sell for $2,999. The controller box (which takes the place of an AVR, which is no longer needed since the amps are built into the speakers) has one optical input, once coax digital input, three HDMI inputs, two stereo analog inputs and has decoding for DTS Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD.
Snell Acoustics is tightening the grilles and polishing the dust caps on three new upgraded speakers which they'll introduce to the world during the CEDIA Expo in Indianapolis on September 7th. But you don't have to wait to hear about these new THX Ultra 2 Certified models, because we're going to spill the beans here before anyone else does. (Besides, unless you're a dealer or custom installer - or unemployable writer-type like most of us here - you wouldn't be able to crash the heavily armed security at the CEDIA Expo anyway. Just be thankful you've got us working for you. We sure are.)
Denon calls it their "flagship" receiver; but if you want to fully carry out the nautical metaphor, you'd have to refer to the new Denon AVR-5805 as the biggest, baddest, boldest combination battleship/aircraft carrier/submarine/destroyer/frigate/(throw in some secret stealth technology reference here) ever to have floated on the home theater seven seas. Denon claims it's "the world's first A/V receiver with 10 built-in amplifiers and 16-channel output...[and] unprecedented multi-source and zone capabilities with perhaps the most comprehensive analog and digital audio/video switching configurations ever offered."
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.
The war of the words over who will reap the lucrative licensing fees from the next-generation high-resolution disc format (i.e., HD DVD vs. Blu-ray) continues to inflict heavy collateral damage on consumer interest and confidence in the potential of a high-definition spinning disc format.
Soundcast Systems’ awesome wireless, portable, weather-proof speakers are amazing in terms of both sound quality and wireless range. But the Outcast and Outcast Jr suffer from the same problem. They’re both basically white cylindrical towers with no visual personality other than “blah”. Now Soundcast is partnering with Skinit, Inc to provide skin adhesive wraps for the two speaker towers. Soundcast says the skins are easy to put on and feature a “residual-free removal”, so you can remove old and apply new skins whenever your heart desires a new look. Skinit offers a large online library of colors, patterns, photography, art, professional sports leagues, colleges, and universities from which to choose – or you can even customize your own design. Pricing is $49.99 per wrap for either the Outcast or the Outcast Jr, and they’re available from Soundcast Systems’ or Skinit’s websites.
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.
Amidst all the hullabaloo about HD DVD and Blu-ray and HDMI and DRM and, well, all the other high-def disc stuff the world is buzzing about, Sony thought they'd squeeze a few more bucks out of the "old" DVD format by releasing a couple of portable DVD players that "offer cutting edge versatility and are designed to fit into any hectic, on-the-move lifestyle."