MovieBeam wants a piece of the $10 billion U.S. movie-rental industry, and they think they can do it by charging you $199.99 for the box (after $50 introductory rebate), a one-time service activation fee of $29.99, and between $1.99 and $3.99 per movie (add a $1 surcharge for HD - that's right, HD - titles).
Two new wall-mountable LCR systems from Paradigm are now shipping. The company says that, unlike earlier Cinema models that were designed for smaller rooms, the new models were developed for use in larger rooms.
Unlike other notable engineers in the industry who've managed to closely associate their names with the products and technologies they've developed, William Hecht, the inventor of the soft-dome tweeter, has had a quite successful career working behind the scenes. Although most of us take the soft-dome tweeter for granted, it's been the most widely used tweeter design worldwide since it was first patented in 1967.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) - soon to be known as the Fickle Communications Commission by television programming providers - has had second thoughts about whether or not it's a good thing for you to be able to pick and choose among the TV channels you subscribe to.
Tributaries Cable, guys better known for high-end cables and the like, are introducing their first power-protection component, the TX500 Power Manager. The new unit is man enough to handle up to 10 components with 1,800 watts of combined demand. (That's almost enough juice to power a small, third-world nation.) After a surge of inspiration, Tributaries included protection for two telephone connections and for a pair of fully independent RF signal paths engineered specifically for cable, satellite, or antenna connections. Image quality is protected by an RF circuit design that maintains a consistent 75-ohm impedance with bandwidth capability in excess of 1.5GHz. (That kind of bandwidth capability could most likely carry the entire broadcast TV channel lineup of a small, third-world country.)
After simmering on the back burner for lack of compelling performance and ease-of-use, "convergence" was once again a hot topic at the 2006 CES. Sure, it wasn't as ubiquitous as things designed to work with Apple's iPod (including a toilet paper dispenser/iPod dock combo - hey, I'm not making that up), but convergence wasn't far behind. Some items were just plain bizarre (like that iPod toilet paper thingee). Others made you think, "Hey, that's cool!" And then there were the ones that made you say, "Man, I think I'd actually use that."
JVC is coming to the rescue of all those multichannel-challenged folks wandering the planet listening to two boring channels flowing from iMP3 players to their ears through a standard pair of headphones or earphones. JVC's new SU-HD1, about the size of a typical wallet (bifold, not trifold), will accept analog (via an analog input cord that can be stored in the bottom of the slender gadget) or digital (courtesy of an optical digital mini-jack input) audio. Built-in Dolby Headphone technology provides a 5.1-channel surround sound experience through standard cheap or really good two-channel headphones. The SU-HD1 runs off of two AA batteries and weighs a mere 3.5 ounces when fully loaded.