NHT says it's shipping the company's new speakers that are designed to hang on the wall, or sit on a table/shelf, next to a high-definition flat-panel display. NHT makes note that the speakers are "visually elegant, simple to use and affordable." (Wow! Speakers designed to go with plasma TVs? What a concept...)
Last month I risked all and took my Canon Rebel XTi camera on a wild sled ride down the winding gravel road in front of my house. It was the same sort of stupid thinking that got Sonny Bono where he is today, but fortunately the sled, my body, and – most importantly – my Canon camera made it through the slippery downhill adventure unscathed and dry.
The TV Hat people say it's "the next revolution in video viewing". That's quite a statement for a modified baseball hat that includes a pouch for most sizes of portable video players and a built-in magnifying glass to make the picture seem larger. Some important warnings:
Say your Great-Aunt Edna died and left you $10,000 or so in her will with the stipulation that you had to spend it on a home theater system (that's why she always was your favorite great-aunt). You and I could while away the better part of an evening arguing the particulars of what gear to buy—and especially how the money should be divided between the audio and video parts of the system.
Of all the cool stuff at CEDIA 2012, by far – for me, at least – the most impressive and most cool thing I saw/heard/experienced was the voice-controlled home automation add-in for a Control4 system from Houselogix, called voicepod, that will be available later this year. Any number of voicepod “pods” can be used to allow you to control a virtually unlimited number of functions that may be available in your particular Control4 system. A voicepod is a small, flat device that looks somewhat like an electric hot plate for a coffee cup. Built into each voicepod is a microphone and speaker that allows the system to talk back to you in order to confirm commands or ask for additional commands. In order to keep the voicepod from responding to random conversation in the room, communication with the system has to be woken up by saying, “Hello, voicepod,” after which a female voice asks you what you would like to do.
During the demonstration, Theodore Rosenberger, the President and Founder of Houselogix, turned lights on/off, raised/lowered Lutron wireless shades, selected preset angles and panned a security camera, and even programmed the system on-the-fly to respond with specific phrases. I’ve seen quite a number of voice-controlled devices and systems over the years, and this one from Houselogix is by far the most exciting I’ve come across. Even though it’s only in beta testing now, I’ve already begun begging Houselogix to let me get my hands on a voicepod or two to integrate into my Control4 system.
Cablevision's recent announcement of the pending sale of the VOOM satellite (along with other assets related to VOOM) to Echostar Communications Corp. (DISH Network) should cause a twinge of sadness in the hearts of all HDTV lovers. Whether you admired VOOM's pluck in attempting to go against the two established satellite services (DISH Network and DIRECTV) or thought that Cablevison Chairman Charles Dolan must have been smoking something beyond cigars when he came up with the idea for an HD-centric satellite service, the virtually certain discontinuation of VOOM (Echostar will most likely use the satellite to expand its own channel offerings) is no happy event. During its brief existence, VOOM brought more high-definition content into the homes of its approximately 26,000 subscribers than all other providers put together (cable, satellite, and over-the-air terrestrial broadcast). As many a pair of eyeballs with HDTVs sitting in front of them know, HD content is an addiction that continually demands to be satisfied. Where, oh where, will we now go to get our daily HD fix?
Those of us still mourning the imminent and unstoppable demise of VOOM, the ill-fated HD-centric satellite service, are being offered a reduced price on a second chance at HD nirvana from DIRECTV. Although it's small consolation to the thirty-some thousand VOOM devotees who are at this moment longingly stroking their VOOM remote controls and asking, "Why? Why me?", at least it's something.
Anthem’s new Statement M1 mono block Class D amplifier puts out a paltry 1,000 watts into 8 ohms and doubles that (2,000 watts) into 4 ohm loads. The Class D design allowed the Anthem engineers to jam all the amplifier circuitry into a chassis that’s only one rack unit high. To keep things cool, there’s a special heat pipe cooling system – no fans! – and multiple M1s can be rack mounted directly on top of one another. Ideally, you’ll have a dedicated 240V circuit for the M1s in your system; however, Anthem designed the amp to still be able to generate temporary outputs of up to 2400 watts even when connected to a 120V/15A line. Get one, or seven, for $3,500 each.
Yeah, it's one of those kinds of things. We're sworn to secrecy (hopefully not too much longer), but we were one of the few who were given a glimpse at a new speaker line from a brand new company called GoldenEar Technology. New companies come into existence all the time, of course, but what makes this one so special is the fact that it's being started by Sandy Gross and Don Givogue, two of the founders of one of our (and many, many other' people's - if all of the stellar reviews and impressive sales numbers are anything to go by) favorite speaker brands, Definitive Technology. Gross was also one of the founders of another speaker brand you might have heard of: Polk. So when we heard Sandy Gross was working on a new speaker, our ears started to tingle (and not just from being at CES for several days). We can't tell you many of the details, but what we saw was elegant, affordable, and has all the makings of another blockbuster line of gear. To use a Vegas analogy, it's the kind of thing you might get if Frank Sinatra and Elvis had a love child. (Yeah, I know it's not biologically possible, but this is Vegas, after all...)