Ah, the splendor of the high-end table radio. SoundWorks i765 is a fab-sounding 2.1-channel system with built-in DVD/CD player plus a radio with improved AM and FM tuners over all previous models. It also now docks, charges, and provides video pass-through for all of the latest iPods, which allegedly is a very complicated affair.
Far from the madding convention center, Dolby provided A-B comparisons of their new Dolby Contrast technology, part of their HDR ("High Dynamic Range") tech family. The interesting part is that it is a video technology, for adjusting the range of dark to light in the LED backlighting of LCD TVs. By precisely dimming the right area of the screen at the right time, contrast can be heightened as never before, for a very film-like effect. (As the exciting screen image suggests, Blu-ray and DVD playback will both benefit.)
Nestled among Ion's various USB turntable offerings was this different spin on analog-to-digital conversion: The TAPE 2 PC copies old audiocassettes to MP3s, and even grabs track names off the internet via Gracenote MusicID. So all of you erstwhile Walkman enthusiasts (and we are legion) can now transport your library into the 21st century without breaking the bank on hundreds of Duran Duran and Rick Springfield downloads.
Demonstrating their wireless 7.2 channel speaker / amplification system, Neosonik's system uses a proprietary 5 GHz wireless system to transmit signals digitally to each speaker. A central controller will accept an HDMI input and then transmit audio digitally to each speaker. Each speaker in turn has digital amplification for each driver. I asked about the video portion of the HDMI signal that had been routed to the controller. They've a device that transmits that signal digitally as well to a small receiver connected to your display.
Olevia will be adding 120 Hz technology to many of the models in this year's line of 1080p LCDs, so their booth is filled with demonstrations of the technology's potential benefits. There aren't a lot of specifics available about the new line just yet, but the first 120 Hz models are expected to be released around April, with more models coming later in the year. Olevia also announced that they've teamed up with Universal Electronics to offer the Taurus RC-LRN learning universal remote with some of this year's new models.
Jon Banner took this wonderful picture with my Panasonic Lumix TZ3 camera. Those are Ultimateavmag's Product of the Year Awards lined up on the table in the SourceInterlink suite at the Venetian. Outside the window is a long view of Las Vegas.
Designer Kevin Voecks accepts the Ultimate AV magazine's 2007 Speaker System of the Year award for Revel's Ultima2 Studio2 system. This $36,000 system <a href="http://www.ultimateavmag.com/news/1207poty/" target="new"> (click here to see a full list of this year's award recipients) </a> earned high praise indeed from Tom Norton in his review when he referred to it as the best sound he has ever heard in his home theater.
In fact, these glass-enclosed speakers work amazingly well. The advantages of glass are high density, rigidity, and (with the aid of a damping chamber behind the drivers) "no vibrations," presumably meaning none of the bad kind. Warmth, depth, and solid controlled bass were what I heard and quite liked. Waterfall will also offer on-walls when the French manufacturer gets its U.S. distribution nailed down, which should happen any minute now.
Totem Acoustic enters its third decade with a 20th anniversary version of the venerable model known as The One. The stand-mount monitor features a new crossover, platinum speaker terminals, and redesigned drivers. Exhibited with always-fabulous Naim electronics, this was the best sound I heard at the show, with an up-close laser-like focus that turned a guitar pick scraping steel strings into a revelation. Plenty of woody guitar-body midrange detail too. And the depth, oh, the depth. The price is $3595/pair, you can buy a surround configuration if you want, and act now because only 2000 pairs will be made.