CES 2009

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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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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 11, 2009 1 comments
3D was a big story at CES. Or at least with several manufacturers, apparently looking for the Next Big Thing. Most of the demos were dismal. The best was from Panasonic. It used shuttered glasses and claimed full HD resolution. More on Panasonic's 3D initiative near the bottom of this blog file (it was posted on the first day). Even Panasonic's however, conducted on their big 103" plasma, suffered from motion lag, uncharacteristic of that form of display, on some of the clips. Much of the material, however, looked stunning.
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Shane Buettner Posted: Jan 11, 2009 1 comments
Panasonic’s DMP-BD35 and DMP-BD55 players have been ensconced in our Top Picks since last fall. That they’ve been replaced by the DMP-BD60 and DMP-BD80 is significant in and of itself, but that’s not the half of it. The core DVD/BD functionality remains the same on the new players, which means top notch BD and DVD playback. Both are BD-Live capable (and they still require the user to buy SD media for storage which remains my only gripe with the players). But what’s new is Viera Cast. Through this networked player users can now access Internet sourced content from YouTube, Picasa photo sharing, Bloomberg Weather Channel and now Amazon Video On Demand. I think players like this one, and those from LG and Samsung will expand Blu-ray’s growth exponentially this year. I think there’s a better opportunity for players with more value-add features at higher prices than players that only play movies at even cheaper prices. Not forcing users to choose between Blu-ray and streaming/downloading is a big plus in my book. Plus, nothing will make Blu-ray’s strengths more apparent than easy direct comparison to streaming video. The new players will be available this spring. Pricing was not determined yet but I'd expect them to be in line with current pricing on the BD35 and BD55.
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Shane Buettner Posted: Jan 11, 2009 2 comments
Consumers can now pump up their DVR experience with Digeo’s Moxi high-def DVR. This HD DVR is aimed solely at digital cable subscribers. It requires a multistream CableCARD, and allows users to record two shows while watching already recorded programs. In addition to a slick proprietary interface, the Moxi ships with 500GB of internal storage. That’s 75 hours of HD recording, which more than doubles what I’ve got in my Comcast DVR. But cooler still is that the eSATA port is active and you can increase that storage to 2 terabytes! Remote web scheduling is allowed and happens in real-time. Although On-demand dover cable doesn’t work with Multistream CableCARD there is a host of content that can be streamed from the Internet, including Flickr photo sharing, Finetune, and weather and sports info. Digeo says more will follow. HT has already acquired one of these units for review, so there’s more to follow. Digeo also threw out another tidbit- the Moxi Mate pictured here on top of the DVR will allow users to network the Moxi experience throughout the house cost effectively. As a sign of the times, Digeo is launching this component with Amazon as its exclusive retailer. Or, e-tailer if you will. Available now at $799.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 10, 2009 0 comments
Phase Technology's Teatro PC310 ($1200) has three 5.25-inch woofers, five 1.5-inch soft dome midranges, and three 1-inch soft dome tweeters, some of which you see here, and some of which are mounted at the sides. Imaging was wide, the feel was smooth and natural (more so than most sound bars), and if the regular one-size grille doesn't match your flat panel display, you can have one custom cut.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 10, 2009 34 comments
"We like the sound," said the MK Sound folks in response to my question -- "why an analog bass management controller?" The DMC-1 accepts five XLR input for line-level loop-through. Available in February for $1200. MK is the newly returned heir to the M&K legacy, so expect to see lots of classic models return with upgraded parts to make them even better.
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Debbie Stampfli Posted: Jan 10, 2009 0 comments
It’s no revelation that Blu-ray players have become more and more accessible to the general public. Now the question has turned from “Do you have a Blu-ray player?” to “What can your Blu-ray player do?” NAD aims to answer the latter question with its new, fully featured T 587 Blu-ray player.
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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 10, 2009 0 comments
Epson demonstrated its top of the line ProCinema 7500UB LCD projector at CEDIA. It looked excellent there, but after undergoing further refinements to smooth out some pre-production wrinkles, its finally ready for prime time, with one of the best-looking images at the show. With a claimed native contrast ratio of 6000:1, it didn't appear to need the help of a dynamic iris (though it has one) to produce convincingly deep and rich blacks. Worked great with an anamorphic lens, too, on a 101" wide Stewart Studiotek 130 projection screen. The projector uses an HQV REON processor, has a full color management system, red, green, and blue-only modes for setup, and a claimed tight color alignment of the three panels. The best part may be the $4199 price.
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Shane Buettner Posted: Jan 10, 2009 0 comments
Sharp’s DLP front projectors have always been overachievers that offered a ridiculous amount of performance for the money. Nevertheless, with the company’s sharp (ahem) focus on LCD flat panels, I wasn’t certain we’d see any new front projector products from Sharp at this show. Well, I was wrong!
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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Jan 10, 2009 0 comments
HDMI Licensing LLC, who won a Technology and Engineering Emmy for their contribution of the HDMI™ single cable audio and video standard, has announced the development of a new HDMI specification beyond the current 1.3 version. While not final, it is expected that the new standard will include transfer of Ethernet over the new HDMI cable. The other significant addition will be an “audio return channel.” Currently when a source—say, your HD satellite—is connected directly to a TV, an optical audio cable must be connected to an AV receiver to hear your satellite programming in surround sound. This new bi-directional feature brings it back to a single connection that will send the sound back to AV receiver without the need for an additional cable. Woohoo! We’re getting closer to a single cable connection, I’m all for that type of simplicity. Go HDMI!
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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 09, 2009 Published: Jan 10, 2009 0 comments
French audio specialist YBA announced its first one-box media server. Seen at the top in the photo, the Encore falls in the company's Design series (the two pieces below it are the Design series' CDE and DVD player). The Encore will be available with either a 500GB or 1 TB hard drive ($4500 and $5500 respectively).
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 10, 2009 0 comments
Arabesque, from the Crystal Cable folks, is the second manufacturer we know of (in addition to Waterfall) to use glass enclosures. The faceted design of this floorstander came about after the company realized that a curved glass enclosure wouldn't be possible -- but it looks great.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 10, 2009 0 comments
President-elect Obama has been turned into a fuzzy iPod dock with bobbing head. This is what he gets for delaying the DTV transition. If he delays it long enough, we'll turn him into a power strip.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 10, 2009 0 comments
Phase Technology's dARTS has been around for awhile. That stands for Digital Audio Reference Theater System, and it involves custom programming, software tuning and amplification precisely matched to the room. But with the 650 Series speakers, it now has cosmetic sophistication to match its digital smarts. The whole package goes for $20,000, but if you have high-end tastes and a wallet to match, try it before you decide that's too much.
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Debbie Stampfli Posted: Jan 10, 2009 0 comments
Sanyo’s new full-HD LCD projector, the PLV-1080HD, may not sound like an entry-level model at first glance. It comes equipped with 1080p capabilities through its HD 3LCD panel and includes some advanced features that might make you think it’s too good to be true. Along with a contrast ratio of 10,000:1, the projector also offers a newly designed variable iris to make your source material shine. SANYO designed the iris to quickly adjust the amount of light projected every 1/60th of a second. The company says this will make image quality stand out through its rich color and deeper blacks.

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