They won’t be available until later in the year, so no prices were yet available, but Vizio joins other HDTV manufacturers (with Panasonic a notable exception) in making this CES the year of 4K launches—though 4K source material will be very thin on the ground. Nevertheless, this Vizio 70-inch 4K set looked outstanding in upconverting what was apparently a standard Blu-ray source. 65- and 55-inches Vizio 4K sets will also be available, though the latter size seems a tad small to take full advantage of the format.
Next to the 4K display, Vizio also showed a glasses-free 3D prototype, though this was apparently a technical demonstration rather than a product we should expect anytime soon. The 3D effect was modestly effective, but not equal to the glasses variety. And the picture was otherwise rather grainy (possibly due to the screen treatment needed for the glasses free experience) and not yet quite ready for prime time. As with other glasses free 3D we’ve seen, the 3D effect was only visible at several specific zones across the viewing area, but unlike those other sets, the picture merely went to 2D in the areas between those zones rather than breaking apart into the two separate eye images.
Vizio’s new top-of-the-line range of 2K (1920 x 1080) LCD HDTVs is the M-Series shown here. The 3D models are expected to be available later this year in 50-inch ($859) 55-inch ($1200), 60-inch ($1600), 70-inch ($2500) and 80-inch ($4500) sizes. All will have a 240Hz refresh rate, passive 3D, Vizio’s Internet Apps, an ultra slim, thin bezel design, and local dimming. It was not clear from Vizio’s press materials, but we assume from the ultra slim design and the prices that the local dimming is edge-lit rather than the more complex and expensive to implement full backlit zone dimming. The picture here shows all but the 55-incher; only one of the four employs an IPS panel (which typically offers better off-axis performance). Ignore the room reflections and guess which one.
The M-series also includes 32-, 40-, and 47-inch models, which are 2D only.
Panasonic is introducing 32 new HDTVs at the 2013 CES16 plasmas and 16 LCDs. The Plasmas range in size from 42- to 64-inches, and the LCD sets cover the ground between 32- and 65-inches.
When Panasonic first started shipping LCD displays a couple of years back, it restricted the LCD lineup to sizes impractical for its HD plasmas, that is, under 42-inches. No longer; bigger sets are now “in,” so the company clearly sees a future in both technologies. But rumors to the contrary, plasmas remain an integral part of Panasonic’s HDTV lineup.
Only brief comments at the press event related to any improvements in basic video performance. As we’ve witnessed from some manufacturers so far on this CES press day, the presentation centered on enhancements to the set’s “Smart” features. This year, Panasonic’s interactive menus allow each member of the family to customize the menu to favor their favorite sites. It can save separate favorites for each member of the family, and even recognize each viewer with its built-in camera (scary!) and switch to the appropriate menu for that individual.
So when I turn on one of these new Panasonics, will it default to the calibration controls?
With new HDTV technologies flying around fast, Sharp wasn’t about to be left out. This year, it’s hot on a new display technology called IGZO (Indium, Gallium, Zinc, Oxygen) said to offer twice the resolution of conventional LCD, together with significant energy savings and better touch screen performance than present display devices.
Don’t expect to see technology in Sharp’s big screen HDTVs this year (with LCD displays ranging up to 90-inches, Sharp claims to lead the industry in sales of sets 60-inches and above). But it is or soon will be available in a 32-inch, 4K monitor (particularly useful in medical imaging), a new 4.9-inch smart phone to be introduced in Japan in March, and a 7-inch tablet.
Significantly missing from the press event was any mention of Sharp’s Elite line. We’ll be checking on the show floor to see what that might mean.
With its line-array Model LS at the left and right consisting of fifteen 5.25-inch woofers and eight AMT tweeters, a similar array in the center partially hidden by an acoustically transparent screen, a stack of eight 12-inch woofers in each front corners, and a complementary setup in the rear, Steinway-Lingdorf produced the most dynamic sound, by far, at the CEDIA EXPO. All of the speakers were multi-amped, and Lingdorf’s proprietary room compensation was included. The gunfight from Open Range was so loud, but clean, that I needed ear muffs. None being handy, fingers in the ears sufficed after the first few volleys whizzed over my head. It can all be yours for a few bucks short of $500,000.
The BluWavs Headset from Mozaex is the first truly discrete 7.1-channel headphone, with 10 individual and individually driven drivers. They come with a console that provides full amplification for a package price of $1299. An optional multiband graphic equalizer (for the front channels only) adds $300. They were effective, though the frequency balance of the prototypes on display needs a little more TLC, as does the comfort for this large, heavy design.
Schneider displayed its extensive range of anamorphic lens options. The company makers some of the best (and most expensive) such devices on the market, with a wide range of mechanisms to move the lens into and out of position. The device on the right is the latest such rig.
Marantz was on hand with its latest surround preamp-processor and 5-channel amp. Apart from slightly increased price, the AV7701 7.2-channel pre-pro ($1700) is similar to last year’s model. The 5-channel, 140 WPC, MM7055 power amp is priced at the same $1700.