CES 2009

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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 11, 2009 Published: Jan 12, 2009 5 comments
Bryston had this classy-looking new preamp-processor, the SP-3, on static display. It will have all the important bells and whistles, including decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio, when it goes on sale, probably in the second half of 2009. No prices were given.
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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 11, 2009 Published: Jan 12, 2009 1 comments
Some audiophiles combine their home theater and 2-channel systems. If they have a modest AV receiver, but want to improve the sound of their system, especially for 2-channel playback, one possibility is to use a separate, quality stereo integrated amp to drive the front left and right channels, with their best 2-channel sources connected directly to it. The receiver's front left and right preamp outputs are then connected to one of the line level inputs of the integrated amp for home theater use. This can be made more direct, with less chance of messing with the calibrated home theater volume levels, if the integrated amp offers a fixed-level, pass-through input (independent of the integrated amp's volume control) to which the receiver's front channel preamp outputs can be connected.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 12, 2009 3 comments
CES attendance was down a bit more than expected, according to figures released on the last day of the show by the Consumer Electronics Association. 2008 attendance had been 147,000. Estimated attendance for 2009 had been 131,000. But in its press release, CEA has revised those numbers downward to 110,000.
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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 11, 2009 Published: Jan 12, 2009 2 comments
The new Mythos 9 ($800) from Definitive Technology may be used as an on-wall LCR speaker, or alternately as a center channel with Def Tech's Mythos STS Super Towers.
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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 11, 2009 Published: Jan 12, 2009 3 comments
Usher showed up with a whole new line of relatively affordable speakers, the NV series. They're still being refined, but should be available in a few months. The NV 601 is the smallest model in the line. I was one of the first to hear it; they hooked it up for the first time at the show (they claimed) just before I walked into the room, and a few minutes from the close of the show (they had been featuring their more upscale models in their two rooms throughout the show). The sound was impressive, with a solid midrange, good balance, and detailed but very sweet highs— just the right balance for home theater and music. Estimated price will be in the neighborhood of $1100/pair (stands not included). There are also two floor standers and a center channel, the NV 603.
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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Jan 11, 2009 0 comments
Hitachi showed a prototype of a motion sensing TV that could be controlled simply by waving your hand in front of its sensor. On screen circles and arcs help you determine the volume levels and other controls. Simply applaud the end of your show (clap your hands) to turn the TV off. It’s estimated that this won’t be available until 2010 or 2011.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 11, 2009 1 comments
The RBH 8300 tower ($8300/pair) is second from top of the line. It has three eight-inch woofers, two 6.5-inch mids, and a 1.1-inch silk dome tweeter. Except for the tweeter, sourced from ScanSpeak, all drivers are proprietary. Thirty finishes are available. Matching center and other models will spring from the loins of RBH's designers in due time.
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Shane Buettner Posted: Jan 11, 2009 0 comments
JVC’s TH-SB100 raises the soundbar to a new level. Not only does it ship with a BD-Live capable Blu-ray player, this “3.1-channel” system includes left, right and center channels plus a wireless subwoofer for the boom king. Ok, like all “wireless” speakers we’ve seen AC is required, but you get the drift. Available in April for $699.
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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Jan 11, 2009 1 comments
Panasonic showed a prototype of a TV remote control that works on technology like that of a mouse touchpad on your laptop. Actually, it is equipped with two touchpads and is motion sensing. A point and click technology, the secret is in the onscreen navigation and onscreen virtual remote. Turning it sideways you can thumb-type—like you would for texting—on the onscreen virtual keyboard. The cartoon thumbs that appear onscreen to show you what you are clicking on definitely add a comic personality to this interface.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 11, 2009 0 comments
This company, once known for beautifully simple and relatively affordable British-made turntables, has branched out into other territories, including the Screen 2 on-wall speaker ($4399/pair). It's roughly four feet tall, and weighs 44 pounds, but is just four inches deep. The driver array includes an eight-inch woofer, two five-inch mids, and one-inch tweeter. The wall bracket is a simple two-piece affair. One part attaches to the wall and the other part to the speaker, so it's easy to remove the speaker from the wall. Revolver has an even bigger on-wall in the planning stage.
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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 11, 2009 0 comments
Chario is Italy's largest high-end speaker manufacturer.The setup here shows the Academy Serendipity (far left and right), Academy Sovran, and Academy Solitaire center channel—the Academy series sits at the top of Chario's line, and fall into the "if you have to ask" price category. The Solitaire ($17,000/pr) was recently reviewed in Stereophile.
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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 11, 2009 2 comments
Anthem showed two new projectors, the LTX 500 at $7500 and the LTX 300 at $5500. Both will ship in April. My photos did not come out, but visualize if you will JVC's newest LCoS models. For that's what they are—JVCs with Anthem logos. The Anthem folks freely admitted this; why deny a good thing. I didn't get to experience the Anthem demo; they closed it down three hours before the official close of the show.
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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 11, 2009 1 comments
In the TAD room at the Venetian, speaker engineer Andrew Jones was demonstrating the $30,000/pair TAD Compact reference stand-mount speaker, which features a sophisticated coaxial midrange tweeter driver with beryllium cone/dome material (Similar drivers are used in the far less expensive Pioneer speakers also designed by Jones, though they use beryllium only for the tweeter dome.
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Shane Buettner Posted: Jan 11, 2009 0 comments
Now this is an IPTV. Or a PC TV. Or a home theater pc built into a TV? Or a TV with an HTPC built in? Who cares! Anyone who’s used an iPhone or an iPod Touch or a Sooloos knows the future of interface is in touch screens. Allio’s IPTV’s are built around a Vista Media Center platform and have touch screen options on their smaller models. The screen you see here has two Internet-driven streams playing on screen with a third window showing Hulk on Blu-ray (that’s the ever so lovely Jennifer Connelly there). I was able to move, manipulate and resize these windows, images and media using my fingers like Tom Cruise in Minority Report. It’s striking how much the PC gets out of the way when controlled by touch. Cool stuff.
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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Jan 11, 2009 1 comments
LG’s new feature, the “Picture Wizard” aids the average viewer in optimizing the TV’s picture by offering onscreen examples of what is the optimal setting. They can then see the effect of the changes they’ve made in the setting as compared to the onscreen examples. Setting adjustments in the Picture Wizard include: black level, white level, color, backlight adjustment, tint, vertical sharpness and horizontal sharpness. Calibration made easy.

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