According to the CEA (the Consumer Electronics Association, the CES show-runners) the CES exhibit space covers the equivalent of 34 football fields likely enough to hold all of the NFL playoff games with room left over for the Super Bowl, both this year and next. Sony's booth must be occupying at least two of those fields, with the same dizzying array of new products as in all the big booths, from the sublime to the gadgety. More than a few of those products are mentioned in these pages; for more on several of them, including Sony's Crystal LED technology demonstration, see our video blogs.
It may have been one of the less dramatic introductions at CES, but Sony's new, lightweight active 3D glasses will be welcomed by those of us with red bumps decorating the bridge of our nose after every 3D movie.
SRS Labs is well known for various sound-enhancement and surround-simulation algorithms found in many consumer-electronics products, such as TVs, AVRs, and soundbars. Among the new items being demonstrated at CES is PureSound, a suite of bass-enhancement and equalization algorithms intended to improve the quality of a TV's internal sound system.
The screen shot above shows the frequency response of a TV before (black) and after (green) applying PureSound, and the improvement in sound I heard was dramaticmuch more bass and a fuller, richer sound with less ringing than without the processing. The first application will give manufacturers the ability to improve their TVs' sound, but SRS envisions the day when consumers will be able to auto-tune the TV to their room, much like auto-setup systems in AVRs do now.
Also being demonstrated in the SRS suite at the Trump was StudioSound, which combines PureSound (described in a recent post) and NviroSound (discussed in yet another recent post). The demo consisted of the custom-created short The Escape played on a JVC TV's internal sound system as well as a Samsung soundbar. The spatial depth was not very pronounced on the JVC's internal system, but it was much more apparent and convincing from the soundbar.
Take me to your leader. The 8T is the leader, or at least the first entry in a new line of speakers that's an offshoot of RBH. The four midrange drivers in the upper array have beryllium cones. The tweeter is a beryllium dome tweeter from Scan-Speak. At $50,000/pair, however, they're not for most of us, though the layout is vaguely similar to a B&W home theater speaker system from the late 1990s. The shape of the woofer enclosure here also suggests an intriguing configuration for a floor-mounted center channel speaker for use below a projection screen—though no center speaker is likely to match the 8T.
Until now, DLNA certifications were used for personal content--movies, music, and photos--stored in media libraries in your home network.
This is a revolutionary advance because manufacturers have been searching for a way to make movie and TV studios comfortable with sharing premium content in a way that cannot be pirated. Premium Video certified products will communicate digital rights management information for each movie or TV show and allow the streaming to take place but will not allow recording. In fact, devices that can record--NAS drives, computers--will probably not be Premium Video certified.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a one-eyed Cyclops or a three-eyed alien being locked away deep in some secret laboratory in Area 51 - no one likes the idea of wearing glasses to watch 3D video. Stream TV hates glasses for 3D, too, and this morning they showed off the company’s Ultra-D technology that can produce a glasses-free 3D image that’s watchable across a wide range of viewing angles. (Just to eliminate any confusion, “glasses-free” doesn’t mean you get “free glasses” with the system. It means you don’t need no stinkin’ glasses at all to watch 3D on the screen.) According to Stream TV, the proprietary technology can be used with all types of displays; and they anticipate we’ll see Ultra-D technology in everything from flat-panel TVs to tablets to smartphones.
Dolby announced that movies and TV shows from HBO Go will include Dolby Digital Plus. Dolby Digital Plus supports up to 7.1 channel surround sound so you can experience a movie, or TV show, the way the director intended. This means that viewers can have a high definition movie experience with full surround sound similar to that of watching a Blu-ray Disc.
Dolby previously announced that Dolby Digital Plus is available Netflix and Vudu streaming services. Initially, the multichannel surround sound format could only be played through a Playstation 3 or XBox 360 video console.
With the CES announcement, Dolby Digital Plus will be available on TVs and Blu-ray Players with these video on demand apps.
The coolest trick at CES was Summit Semiconductor's WiSA (Wireless Speaker & Audio) technology and the way it could literally move the sweet spot from the usual front-and-center position off to the side or to the back of the room. It was uncanny. WiSA spreads uncompressed high-res signals wirelessly among powered speakers. You're looking at the power/receiver board that makes it work. WiSA will surface first in Aperion products. The loudspeaker industry would be crazy not to jump on this, especially since it can be built into speaker systems selling for less than $1000.
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.
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.
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?
Russound showed off the company’s AirGo Outdoor Sound System, which Russound says is “a portable amplifier speakerdock for an Apple® AirPort Express”. (You supply the AirPort Express.) The single-point stereo speaker sounds fantastic, and the incorporation of the AirPort Express means you can stream music from any compatible device to the AirGo wherever you can connect to your network. Since AirPort Expresses can simultaneously be used as a WiFi repeater, the AirGo will also act like a local hotspot and extend your network for backyard parties. Because the amplifier is a beefy 40 watts, anything but a car battery (pretty difficult to carry) would be drained in short order. So the AirGo Outdoor Sound Station is designed for AC use only. Not to worry, the speaker is fully weather-resistant (don’t plan on submerging it, though). According to Russound, the AirGo Outdoor Sound Station is just the beginning of a series wireless and outdoor products.