CES 2009

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Shane Buettner Posted: Jan 11, 2009 0 comments
OK, I added the "sinister" part. But doesn’t it still sound like a super secret weapon employed by an evil genius in a Bond flick? Sharp showed two new BD players at CES. The most compelling of the two is the BD-HP22U, which is BD-Live out of the gate, including 2GB of onboard storage and a USB port that can be used to expand storage capacity and upload new firmware. The audio decoding is murkier- Sharp’s reps and the logos on the player indicate decoding capability for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. The press release is only specific on its ability to output the advanced codecs as native bitstreams. The BDP-HP22U will be available in May for $299.
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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 11, 2009 0 comments
The Panasonic Z1 series should be in a store near you come June. The TC-P54Z1, shown here, is not only roughly 1.5" thick, but can wirelessly transmit a full 1080p/60 image up to 30 feet in the same room without adding additional compression to the image data. Moreover, it weighs just 67 lbs. The inputs are located in a separate box together with the wireless transmitter (shown below the screen, along with the receiver box which must sit near the set.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 11, 2009 1 comments
The 1.25-inch Teteron tweeter in this year-old DCM speaker line is called "synthetic silk." It's said to be as thin as silk, distinguishing it from other synthetic drivers, but is stronger and impervious to moisture. Here it's part of the TFE200 tower ($1000/pair), TFE60C center ($350), and TFE160BDP bipole/diple surround ($500/pair). DCM makes it and the other drivers used in the series, which include 6.5-inch kevlar or glass fiber woofers.
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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 11, 2009 0 comments
This diminutive speaker (about as high as the water bottle sitting beside it), uses two 3.5", full-range drivers. While it may be used as a surround, its real purpose is as the first speaker specifically designed for use in the new Dolby height format, Pro Logic IIz (discussed in an early blog). No price as yet; this was an early prototype.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 11, 2009 1 comments
The AVR600 ($5000, bottom) is the first HDMI receiver from British manufacturer Arcam and therefore the company's first model to support lossless surround. It's HDMI 1.3, of course -- otherwise why bother? -- with five ins and two outs. The seven times 120 watt amp is Class G, which combines Class AB power output with a linear tracking power supply that ensures peaks are well-supplied with juice. Though Arcam had previously used Class G in HTiB products, this is the first implementation in an a/v receiver. Shipping in February. The company also showed a prototype of a forthcoming Blu-ray Profile 2.0 player (top) – Tom has the details below.
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Shane Buettner Posted: Jan 11, 2009 1 comments
Both of Samsung’s new BD players, the uber cool hang-on-the-wall BD-P4600 (shown here) and BD-P3600 look good and are fully loaded BD players with BD-Live and full audio decoding. But finally, a manufacturer has acknowledged that not everyone has hardwired Ethernet near their AV gear. Samsung includes a W-Fi dongle for both of these players. The PlayStation 3 has been alone in offering this feature far too long. Bravo Samsung!
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Shane Buettner Posted: Jan 11, 2009 0 comments
No pricing or availability was set yet, but Panasonic showed this portable Blu-ray player, which includes the same capabilities as its standard players. It uses the same outstanding UniPhier decoding/processing chip the standalone players do, and here’s a trick- it also has an HDMI out so you can plug it into your TV when you get back home from your road trip. Because you can doesn’t mean you will, but that’s still kinda cool.
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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 11, 2009 0 comments
This new spectroradiometer was brought to my attention by William Phelps, video expert and currently working with Meridian on its digital projectors. A spectroradiometer is a sophisticated test tool used to measure and calibrate video displays (we use the Photo Research PR0650 in much of our testing). This SP-100 from Orb is not a product for the average consumer, but something for the calibration specialist, or well-healed video perfectionist, to know about. Not cheap at about $8000, it's nevertheless less expensive than much of its direct competition. According to Phelps, it compared favorably to a $30,000 Minolta device.
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Shane Buettner Posted: Jan 11, 2009 0 comments
Vivitek was the only manufacturer I found showing DLP projection with an LED light source. And there’s good reason for that- the company claims an exclusive deal with Texas Instruments on its LED-based DLP light engines. This technology is significant in two areas- no bulb replacements, ever, and no more color separation “rainbow” artifacts. The H6080FD is full 1080p, and incorporates TI’s DynamicBlack dynamic iris system. The image was being shown on a very small screen by front projection standards, but had a lot of pop and detail with rainbows nowhere to be seen. The 6080 is due later this year at an MSRP of $19,999. This is a new wrinkle we’re very anxious to get a closer look at!
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Shane Buettner Posted: Jan 11, 2009 0 comments
The vibe of CES is hard to imagine. This show couldn’t be anywhere but Las Vegas. This picture of this sweet rig parked in the middle of the showroom floor says something about the experience.
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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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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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