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CES 2011

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jan 11, 2010 3 comments

Samsung's flagship C6000 ultra-thin LED LCD TV provides a super-cool, full-color touchscreen remote. In addition to controlling the TV, it can also display a live video signal, though I can't see why you'd want to watch the remote when you have a big, beautiful TV in the same room.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jan 11, 2010 0 comments

Sensio is one of several companies that provide 3D infrastructure to manufacturers. In fact, Vizio announced at the show that it will use Sensio technology in its XVTPRO720SV LCD TV, and THX Media Director now incorporates Sensio's 3D flag, which allows a compatible TV to automatically switch between 2D and 3D depending on the content. According to the company, the algorithm encodes the right and left views of a 3D image into one datastream that requires no more bandwidth than a 2D signal, and it works with any type of 3D display technology.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jan 11, 2010 0 comments

In addition to all the 3D flat panels on the show floor, there were also a few 3D front-projection demos, including one from Optoma at the low end of the price spectrum. I've always been impressed with the quality and value of Optoma DLP projectors, but its 3D demo was very disappointing—it wasn't even 1080p! The projector was the 720p HD66, and the source was an HQFS (High Quality Field Sequential) DVD playing at 480i through a composite connection. There were jaggies galore, and the sense of depth was very unconvincing. A separate demo of 3D stills, from which this photo was taken, looked better, as I would expect with no motion.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jan 09, 2010 Published: Jan 10, 2010 1 comments

My impression of Westinghouse LCD TVs has steadily improved with each one I've reviewed, so I was eager to see its new line of LED edge-lit models. The larger screen sizes—42, 46 (pictured), and 55 inches—are 120Hz, and all are quite slender as you would expect from LED edge lighting. The 46- and 55-inchers will be available in the fourth quarter, while the smaller sets will ship in April. Prices were not disclosed, but a company rep said it would be "comparable to CCFL pricing today."

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jan 09, 2010 Published: Jan 10, 2010 1 comments

B&W announced that it has updated the 800 series with diamond tweeters in all models as well as improvements in the other drivers and crossovers, resulting in greater dynamic range, lower distortion, and higher power handling. Prices range from $2750 for the HTM4D center-channel to $24,000/pair for the 800D, and all models should be available to consumers by April. You can read more on the 800 series and diamond tweeters, <A href="http://blog.ultimateavmag.com/ultimate-gear/diamond_john/">here</A>.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jan 09, 2010 Published: Jan 10, 2010 0 comments

As I was wandering around the 3D Tech Zone, I stumbled upon a small booth with an autostereoscopic 3D LCD TV&#151;in other words, no glasses. Technicolor was demonstrating its algorithm that takes in right and left images, derives depth information for each pixel, and interpolates six additional views between the right and left images, a process that cannot yet be performed in real time.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jan 09, 2010 Published: Jan 10, 2010 2 comments

IDT isn't the only company working on cleaning up low-quality Internet video—Anchor Bay demonstrated its solution to this problem in a Hilton suite. Looking at 480i from DVD, 720p from Apple TV, and video from an iPhone, the new DVDO chipset did a great job at smoothing out jaggies as shown in the split-screen photo above (processed image on the left), but not so well at reducing noise. The new chipset is less expensive than the company's PReP (Progressive Reprocessing) technology and is intended for products such as iPod docks and the like.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jan 09, 2010 Published: Jan 10, 2010 0 comments

I profiled the KEF Concept Blade speaker <A href="http://blog.ultimateavmag.com/ultimate-gear/blades_of_glory/">here</A>, but since there's only one pair in the world, there was no way for me to hear it until the company brought it to CES and set it up in a room at the Hilton with an Audio Research CD5 CD player and DSi200 integrated amp. Listening to Patricia Barber in a live recording and a tenor sax with rhythm section, it sounded quite good overall, with very clean, tight low bass, but the upper bass and vocal range was slightly congested. The KEF rep agreed and said it was the room, and I couldn't disagree—hotel rooms generally make lousy listening environments.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jan 09, 2010 1 comments

Another Vizio concept demo was a 56-inch "Quad HD" LCD with a pixel resolution of 3840x2160. What a picture! Super-sharp and detailed, a noticeable improvement over 1080p even at a reasonable viewing distance. Initial applications include medical imaging and other high-res rendering, but it could find its way into the consumer marketplace if and when 4K content becomes available.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jan 09, 2010 2 comments

About a year ago, Philips introduced an LCD TV with an aspect ratio of 21:9 (2.33:1), but it was never made available in the US. Now, Vizio is working on the same idea as demonstrated by this concept piece. It measures 58 inches diagonally with a pixel resolution of 2560x1080, perfect for displaying movies without the hated letterbox bars. The prototype uses CCFL backlighting, but the final version could use LEDs. I was told it could become an actual product by the third quarter of this year and that it would be "Vizio priced."

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jan 09, 2010 0 comments

Thin was definitely in at Vizio, which showed several super-slim LCD TVs with LED edge-lighting as a concept demo. The 42-inch Blade seen here in profile is only 6.8mm (1/4-inch) thick, making it the thinnest flat panel I've seen at the show so far, with the electronics in an outboard box. The 26-inch version is 1/2-inch thick with the electronics in the base.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jan 09, 2010 3 comments

The model number may be a mouthful, but this mammoth LCD TV from Vizio is certainly an eyeful. Measuring 72 inches diagonally, it offers Sensio 3D with active shutter glasses, Vizio Internet Apps (which provide access to online content from a wide variety of sources), WirelessHD connectivity (the 60GHz variety of wireless HDMI), LED local dimming, and 480Hz refresh rate (actually 240Hz with backlight scanning). It should be available in the third quarter of this year at a cost of&#151;wait for it&#151;less than $4000! The XVTPRO will also be available with screen sizes of 55 and 47 inches for even less.

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uavKim Wilson Posted: Jan 09, 2010 6 comments

I've seen the XStreamHD satellite service demonstrated for the last couple of years at CES, but so far, it hasn't actually been available to consumers. Well, that's finally about to change&#151;the service is due to launch on April 30. It allows users to download movies, music videos, and games from a satellite to a hard-disk-based server, from which they can be streamed to several receivers in the home&#151;in fact, up to four HD streams can be served simultaneously. Users have the option of renting or buying the content, and they can even order physical discs if they wish. Movies are downloaded in 1080p/24 format with up to 7.1 DTS-HD MA audio (Dolby TrueHD is not supported as of now), and the server can download up to two titles at once, each with a maximum bandwidth of 100Mbps per stream.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jan 09, 2010 1 comments

When the 3D Blu-ray spec was announced, everyone said it would require HDMI 1.4, which implied the need for new HDMI hardware. But then I learned that the Sony PlayStation 3, which has HDMI 1.3, can be updated to provide 3D capabilities with new firmware. That seemed odd, so I visited the HDMI Licensing booth and found out that all the versions of HDMI are merely specifications that define what features they will support, and manufacturers are free to implement all, some, or none of them. Also, HDMI 1.3 and 1.4 are capable of the same maximum bandwidth—10.2Gbps.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jan 09, 2010 0 comments

Many video reviewers use the original <I>HQV Benchmark</I> DVD and Blu-ray test discs in their evaluations of displays, players, and processors, but those discs are getting a bit long in the tooth, and there are a couple of errors on them that limit their usefulness in certain tests. Now, IDT has released version 2.0 of both discs, and they look fantastic. (During the development process, IDT solicited feedback from several reviewers, including Tom Norton and me, and I'm gratified that they actually took our advice.)

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