Wisdom launched several new in-wall speaker systems that would be well-suited to a home theater setting, particularly one using a perforated screen. The demoed units were the P4i ($1500 each) and L8i ($5000 each). While neither could match the sheer majesty of the Wisdom LS4s, both of them (with a smaller Wisdom subwoofer) provided sound of a quality I never thought possible from small in-walls,m with none of the usual in-wall colorations. One caveat here is that the temporary walls used in the demonstration may not be typical of real walls, either in the size of their internal cavities (the Insights do not use a backbox) or in rigidity and lack of resonances (the walls here appeared to be made of MDF, not the sheetrock of most residential construction).
I'm fascinated by the drive units manufacturers select or design for their speakers. Here and in the following entries I'll cover a few of them. Shown in the photo above are the midrange and tweeter in the new Aerial Acoustics 7. The midrange is made by SB Acoustics and the tweeter by Scan-speak, customized for Aerial.
Driver manufacturer SB Acoustics showed an array of their drivers, available both to manufacturers (either stock or custom) and DIY enthusiasts. Shown here is a new SB 8-inch woofer with an aluminum cone. It resembles (and may be) the woofer seen in some of the new Revel Performa line on display at the show and available in mid 2012.
There are specialty manufacturers that make various parts for loudspeaker drivers, and when ordering specialty drivers it is possible for a manufacturer of finished speakers to select the cone, surround, frame, voice-coil, etc. from various sources and have these parts assembled by a finished driver specialist. That's way it's possible to experiment with different configurations without the expense of fabricating the individual (very expensive) parts only to discard them if the results prove unsatisfactory.
That may or may not be how Wilson or any other specific manufacturer orders its custom drivers, only that it's possible. Note how the midrange driver used in the Sasha from Wilson Audio (and in variations in most of that company's newer speakers) at first glance resembles the driver from SEAS shown below. However, if you look closely the resemblance is mainly in the cone material, with significant differences in the dust cap, frame, surround, and presumably the internal structure as well.
Technicolor showed off M-Go, the robust new media app for TVs, tablets, smart phones and computers that makes it possible to access anything you want to watch on the device or thrown to your TV. Through a simple menu on your mobile device or computer you can get to your desired movie or TV show without the need to navigate to each service, comb through the TV program guide or scroll through your DVR to find it.
This year most TV manufacturers are pairing tablets with TVs to create what they call a “second screen” or “Dual Screen” experience. Why interrupt what you are watching to bring up menus that shrink the screen or overlay TV guide grids that block your picture, when you can bring up the menus and guides on your tablet?
Toshiba, Samsung, Panasonic, Sony, LG and others showed up their apps that run on tablets to control and enhance your TV viewing experience. Although they would like you to buy their tablets, the apps will run on any Android or iOS device.
Your universal remote control may become a thing of the past. TV manufacturers are creating apps that can not only control the TV, but can be programmed with macros to control your whole home theater system.
Remote control apps have been appearing over the past year. These apps work over wifi to control connected TVs and devices.
This year, Sony and Samsung are showing tablets with IR (infrared control), that can send commands to most any home theater device.
What do you think? Are you ready to chuck your home theater remote for an app on a tablet?
Along with control and second screen capabilities, TV manufacturers are pairing their tablets to TVs allowing users to send media to their big screen directly from their tablet.
The TV apps make it possible to “fling” photos, music, or movies that are stored on the tablet towards the TV and have it play on the big screen. Most apps will be able to find media stored on other sources--computers, media servers--in a home network and push that media to the TV (Media Renderer capabilities).
Both the tablets apps and the TVs are DLNA certified which makes the media sharing possible. While this is possible on other DLNA certified media apps, the paired apps will undoubtedly create a seamless experience.
Attendees of the Monster Retailer Awards could wax nostalgic with Chicago. Many who swayed and sang along with the hit-filled concert could not have been born 45 years ago when the band began, yet the audience sang along with hits from five decades.
Samsung announced a Blu-ray Disc player that let’s you get digital copies of your movies. This does not mean that the Blu-ray Disc is making digital copies of your movies. Instead, you put a DVD or Blu-ray Disc into the Blu-ray Disc player, and it will access Ultraviolet where you can purchase a digital copy of the movie and save it to your Ultraviolet cloud locker.
Las Vegas was built, in large part, on the acquiring and spending of golden nuggets. Today, of course, golden nuggets (in the form of dollar bills) are handed over to the casinos in enormous quantities. There was a huge golden nugget, however, to be found in the GoldenEar suite at the Venetian - and this one didn’t get put on the closest gaming table. Sandy Gross and team have put together an absolutely unbelievable LCR soundbar that’s so flipping good, it was THE most exciting audio product I heard the entire Show. Somehow this amazing 49-inch wide soundbar sounded as if it were more like 15 feet wide; and combined with two of GoldenEar’s ForceField 3 subwoofers ($499/each), the $999 SuperCinema 3D Array was easily one of the best sounding soundbars I’ve ever heard in just about any price range, especially when it came to reproducing two-channel music - a task most soundbars fail abysmally at. Thankfully, in this case, what happens in Vegas isn’t staying in Vegas - and we’ll be getting one of the first samples for review in the next few months. Stay tuned...