Toshiba had two big announcements at the show. On the TV side, two new 1080p LCDs in their Regza line are sporting what they claim to be the thinnest bezel on the market, at 0.9 inches. As you can see in the pic, it is indeed very thin. Look for them this month for $1,900 for the 40RF350U and $2,500 for the 46RF350U.
Pioneer let loose a new Blu-ray player, the BDP-95FD. It’s part of their Elite line, and has the usual 1080p/24 output and HDMI 1.3. What’s different is that it will actually output the bitstream of Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS-HD High Resolution and DTS-HD Master Audio. Up until now, even the HDMI 1.3 BD and HD DVD players all converted these formats to PCM before outputting them digitally. Look for it in October for around $1000.
Panasonic has two new plasmas and two new projectors. The plasmas use the same glass as the 700 series, but lose an HDMI input, the anti-reflective coating, and about $200 each. The TH-42PZ77 is $1800 and the TH-50PZ77 is $2800. Both are scheduled to ship this month.
HP showed off their latest version of their MediaSmart TV. Unlike the last generation, this one has the entire MediaSmart bits all integrated into the TV (as in no more butt mounted box or rabbit ears). It’s 1080p, and has a revamped user interface (as you can see in the pic). They’re shipping now and are $2,099 for the 42-inch and $2,499 for the 47-inch.
After handing out a pair of boxer shorts with the slogan, "We've got your bottom end covered.", honcho John Miller showed off the newest, smallest Velodyne subwoofer. Called the MicroVee, it uses one 6.5" active driver, two 6.5" passive drivers, each with 5" piston diameters. The active driver has a 2" dual-layer voice coil and a 64 ounce magnet structure. Velodyne rates the Energy Recovery System amplifier at 2,000 watts of Dynamic Power. The cabinet is made of ribbed (no snide comments, please) extruded aluminum, which makes the sub cool - both in terms of heat dissipation and looks. The sub is only 9" x 9" x 9.6" (HWD), and Miller says it kicks butt. (What else was he going to say?) Oh, yeah, the MSRP is $999, but you could very likely see it on sale for $799 when it arrives in October.
Sonance took great pleasure in touting their lifestyle approach to in-wall/in-ceiling/on-wall/the-wall-is-the-speaker speakers. One of the coolest of the new speakers was a model that used a circular mounting plate that could be mounted on the surface of a wall or flush with the wall. The speaker itself attached to the mounting plate using an array of very powerful magnets, and the wiring is routed through the wall plate. When in place, the speaker almost looks like a light fixture.
Looking to the future of lifestyle sound, Sonance showed a preview of possible upcoming products, one of which was a ceramic hanging thing that looked pretty cool. It wasn't playing, so we couldn't tell how it sounded. No pricing or estimated availability was given, but it's pretty certain that you can expect to see something like this -and other exotic speakers - from Sonance in the near future.
The people at Boston Acoustics couldn't resist assembling a bunch of their colorful Horizon speakers into a chandelier (and we couldn't resist taking a picture of it). Injection-molded plastic enclosures, shaped to maximize the front and minimize the back, are braced both by the molding and by MDF. Complete 5.1 systems range from $499-700 with black or white grilles plus optional grilles in eight other colors for $19-100 depending on size. Boston also showed the SoundWave cubes, which stand on one of their corners, in seven colors for $99 each. They're indoor/outdoor.
Transparent enclosures are a staple of product exhibits but in the case of the Velodyne DD-10 ($1999), this is the actual product! Good art is destiny in this cynical blogging game, so you don't get to see the arguably newsworthier MicroVee six-inch sub, with front-firing driver and passive radiators on the side, and 1000 watts of Class D power. Velodyne, ever versatile, also has in-wall and in-ceiling models. And it showed, yet again, the 1812 Digital Drive monster sub, one of the few subs with a crossover--from a 12-inch driver to an 8-inch one. We never tire of seeing and hearing its mighty cones vibrate.