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CES 2014

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Lauren Dragan Posted: Jan 11, 2014 0 comments
Stop me if you’ve heard this one: a quarterback, a UFC fighter and the CEO of an electronics company walk into a press conference. They’re there to talk about the newest bluetooth sport headphones that SOUL, the headphone company in question, are releasing this spring. There’s a video presentation, some polite applause, and then… things start to get awkward.
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Lauren Dragan Posted: Jan 10, 2014 0 comments
Let me begin by saying that upon arrival to CES, I did not anticipate getting liquid silicone injected into my ear canal. But we’ll get to that. I actually stopped by to check out the new Westone W60, Westone’s new 6 driver balanced armature in-ear headphone. They come with two removable cords, one with Apple remote (an Android cord will also be available) and one standard braided. They’re expected to be available Feb 1st, and retail for about $999. That puts it in the same price point as the Shure SE846, which is one of the best non-custom in-ears I’ve ever heard. I did get to listen to the Westone W60 while I was on the LVCC floor, and was really impressed. That said, anyone who ever has been to CES knows that the show floor is no place to do a listening test, so I’ll have to refrain from official judgement until I am somewhere not flooded with blasting music and the walla of thousands of people. I will say, however, that based on what I heard, I’m really excited to hear the final retail model. Also worth mentioning is that they’re universal fit and comply tipped, which is a big deal for Westone, who are known for their high-end custom in-ear monitors.


Which is how we get to me having silicone injected into my ears. Westone was doing free molds to demonstrate how their custom monitors are made, and I got a chance to experience the process. If I’m honest, I was really nervous, as my ears are a large part of my ability to make a living. Needless to say, someone with a syringe shooting pink gloop into my ear canal isn’t on my “top things to do” list. But the folks at Westone are pros, and it was a really easy experience (if just a bit bizarre.) In case you want to try it for yourself: they start by placing a small foam piece right against your eardrum in to protect it, and then the silicone is gently pushed into your ears. You then have to sit with a piece of styrofoam in your mouth between your teeth, to create the correct spacing in your ear canal. It takes about five minutes, and then boom! You’re done! The finished mold is gently slid out, and you’re on your way to a custom set of in-ear headphones. Rumor has it that this process may soon be replaced by something involving lasers, so if you want to feel like Slimer from Ghostbusters is whispering sweet nothings to you,  get your customs made in the next few years. Not your thing? No worries. Hold out for Feb 1st and check out the W60s instead.
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John Sciacca Posted: Jan 10, 2014 Published: Jan 11, 2014 0 comments
If you thought that 4K images were the height of pristine image quality without any room for improvement, then you needed to stop by DarbeeVision’s suite in the LVH and experience what 4K images look like when processed with Darbee Visual Presence DVP processing!

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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Jan 10, 2014 0 comments
With Sony’s One Flick Entertainment menu, finding something you want to watch is as easy as flicking back and forth (or up and down) through the list of services
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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Jan 10, 2014 0 comments
Sharp moves into high end audio with its wireless audio and video Universal Player.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 10, 2014 Published: Jan 11, 2014 0 comments
ivee Sleek is a “hands-free, voice-activated, internet-connected assistant for the home that answers questions, obeys commands and controls other internet-connected devices.” ivee Sleek uses the AT&T Speech API powered by the AT&T Watson speech recognition engine to begin the process of turning voice commands or questions into system actions or answers. ivee Sleek has the smarts and the capabilities to understand and answer questions in 33 categories, including time and weather conditions and stock prices. The smart assistant is also able to integrate with Iris from Lowe’s and Staples Connect systems, giving it the ability to control internet-connected devices, such as smart thermostats, motorized locks, security cameras, and smart plugs. Oh, yeah, it’s also a digital clock, too. ivee Sleek is available for pre-order now for $229.99. No subscription fees are required.
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John Sciacca Posted: Jan 10, 2014 Published: Jan 11, 2014 1 comments
DarbeeVision, manufacturer of the Darblet and the company behind Darbee Visual Presence DVP video enhancement processing, demonstrated the DVP-5100CIE (Custom Installer Edition) which was manufactured with direct input from custom installers. The product features the same terrific depth and clarity processing found in the Oppo BDP-103D and Lumagen Radiance video processor.

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John Sciacca Posted: Jan 10, 2014 Published: Jan 11, 2014 0 comments
Traditional window treatments – blinds, drapes, curtains – may give you some privacy and block the sun, but they really aren’t that cool. Motorized options from the likes of Lutron and Hunter Douglas certainly raise the high-tech bar and add some remote control capabilities, but even they look like old news when you watch SONTE Film in action.

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 10, 2014 0 comments
EcoHarvester is a startup company that uses “green technology” to engineer consumer electronics devices that do not require batteries. Instead, the devices are “human-powered” and rely on power generated by the users’ own movements or micro-kinetic energy. The company’s first product, the BonsaiLight, is a desk/tabletop dimmable LED lamp that comes with a battery-less wireless on/off switch that uses “a razor thin mechanism to capture motion, yielding a significantly larger amount of power-for-size than other battery-free switches…” Because the wireless switch “harvests” the power it needs from the kinetic energy expended when the user turns the switch, it can be mounted anywhere without the need for running new wires. The BonsaiLights will likely incorporate Bluetooth connectivity and other wireless protocols. The company anticipates beginning a Kickstarter campaign within the next several months, with production to begin as soon as possible. Exact pricing of the hardware was not available, although the wireless switches will hopefully sell for under $40 each.
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Leslie Shapiro Posted: Jan 10, 2014 0 comments
When wandering around the convention floor gets overwhelming, it’s always interesting to head over to the LVH (aka The Old Las Vegas Hilton) to check out the smaller booths and hospitality suites. It’s quieter, and the food is usually better. That’s where I found Peerless-AV demonstrating their latest product release, the Peerless-AV 47” Ciil Outdoor TV, designed for consumers. They also have a line of commercial products.

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Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: Jan 10, 2014 0 comments
It's Friday. The International CES is winding down. As I pack my bags, I wonder how I'll ever carry on 100 pounds of earbuds and flash drives, as well as all the other flotsam of show coverage. All in all, it was a pretty good show. Some observations....

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 10, 2014 0 comments
Instead of formally exhibiting at the CES this year, Harman International set up shop in a large ballroom at the Hard Rock hotel. When we were there, the place was jumping, despite the relatively remote vernue.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 10, 2014 1 comments
The bipolar dual tweeters on the opposing front faces of the Infinity Reference Series surround speaker are said to produce a very uniform front dispersion. The mid/bass driver is mounted on the back, where a metal bracket keeps it spaced out from the wall by a couple of inches.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 10, 2014 1 comments
Brent Butterworth covers the details on the new Infinity Reference Series below. Here’s a look at the three-way center ($499). Its vertical orientation for the midrange and tweeter is, in my opinion, the only proper way to design a center channel speaker —other than using a speaker identical to the left and right, which can only work if the screen is very high or acoustically transparent, or the system is used for music only with no images.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 10, 2014 0 comments
Lexicon’s venerable MC-12 preamp-processor, which has been on the market for over ten years (with important upgrades alinbg the way to accommodate the changing times) is about to be replaced by the MC-14. The latter (April, $10,500) will offer a full complement of inputs and other ports, including HDMI, USB, 7.1-channel analog, Ethernet, RS-232, and a headphone output. It accepts all current consumer sources, and also has a selectable analog bypass for playback. Oddly, however, there is no provision for any form of manual or automatic room compensation.

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