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CES 2009

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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 11, 2009 0 comments
We've seen the Meridian 810 Reference Video System before; it's the first 4K x 2K video projector available to the consumer. It won't come cheap a just a few thou south of $190,000 for the projector, video processor (needed to scale available 1920x1080 material up to 4800 x 2400. It looked fabulous, even though even better images are possible from it with native 4K program material (essentially non-existent to you and me). They had to settle for a 10' wide projection screen (a curved, 2.35:1, Stewart Studiotek 130), and were claiming 48 foot-Lamberts! Clearly the projector is intended for a much larger screen.
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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
In addition to its AVR600 A/V receiver (expected to ship in March, which is when we're hoping to get a sample for review), Arcam showed an early prototype Blu-ray player. It wasn't quite bug-free, but then it's probably nine months away from market, leaving plenty of time for Arcam to sort them all out. To our knowledge, this makes Arcam and Cambridge Audio, both of them UK companies, the only two small, specialty manufacturers to come forward with a Blu-ray player. The system was producing great sound through a pair of Totem Wind speakers and an Arcam subwoofer
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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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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 09, 2009 Published: Jan 10, 2009 2 comments
UK-based Cambridge Audio announced both the Azur 640R V2 7.1 A/V receiver ($1799, spring 2009), an update of the original Azur 640. It also launched its first Blu-ray player, the Azur 640B ($999 spring 2009).
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 10, 2009 0 comments
The Suite 7.1HD surround preamp-processor from Audio Design Associates, second from bottom in picture, supports Dolby Volume as well as the new lossless surround codecs. It costs $5500 and will ship in a few months. There are eight HDMI ins and two outs, which should cover every high-def contingency known to humankind. Rather than introduce new amps, ADA is sticking with the existing PTM-6150 and -8150, which is absolutely the right decision, as they are (I'll stick my neck out) the best outboard surround amplifiers in the industry.
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Debbie Stampfli Posted: Jan 09, 2009 Published: Jan 10, 2009 0 comments
If you want to take your personal listening experience to the next level, Sennheiser has a set of headphones they’d like you to try on. The HD 800 headphones combine innovative transducer technology with groundbreaking design for an unmatched experience.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 10, 2009 1 comments
Which some might construe as weightist. The composite fiberglas, carbon fiber, and resin enclosure makes damping material unnecessary. Two 9-inch woofers share the enclosure with a 6.5-inch mid and 1.1-inch tweeter. The $32,000 pricetag (per pair) may seem stiff but the composite enclosure trickles down to the monitor-size Super Octave. Morel also offers three Sound Spot satellites, all of which have coaxial drivers in a metal pedestal enclosure, but the drivers differ, so pricing ranges from $1500 to $2000 to $2500. The best version has a resin-covered silk tweeter.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 10, 2009 0 comments
If you like your speaker bars under a thousand, try the Phase Technology Teatro V3.0 for $800. Besides the half-dozen woofers and tweeters on the front, it also has side-mounted drivers, something it has in common with the one above.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 10, 2009 0 comments
While I liked the HDMI-equipped jack panel at the Mirage -- and envied Tom's at the Hyatt even more -- the aspect ratio on my Philips LCD set left something to be desired. The hotel appeared to be feeding 4:3 analog signals and using the stretch mode. Suze Orman and Anderson Cooper couldn't have gained that much weight, could they?
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Debbie Stampfli Posted: Jan 10, 2009 0 comments
These Academy Sovran speakers should certainly get the award for the most-travelled consumer electronics equipment. Koetsu USA, a distribution company connected to the well-known Japanese cartridge manufacturer turned to the Italian company Chario for this particular speaker, which makes it one of the most transcontinental speakers out there.
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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 10, 2009 0 comments
SIM2's Domino 60 single-chip 1080p DLO was making sweet pictures on a 2.35:1 screen together with a static anamorphic lens from Panamorph. The projector can process the image so that a conventional 1.78:1 image will be properly proportioned when it passes through the lens. $8300 for the projector and Panamorph (the projector is also available separately).
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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 10, 2009 0 comments
The bottom floor of the Hilton Hotel's convention center (adjacent to the Las Vegas Convention Center) is home to hundreds of small stands hawking every description of small electronic thingamajig, most of them representing small Chinese companies. I searched out two of them, only to find that they didn't market anything like what I expected to find: speakers (Dayton) and projectors (Sharpvision).
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 10, 2009 0 comments
The Paradigm Seismic 110 sub has a rounded top, and to complement the Millenia Series speakers, a diecast chassis. And it makes the best picture. But the Paradigm subs that will really raise eyebrows are the marginally less photogenic Sub 12 ($1999) and Sub 15 ($2999), each of which has dual 800-watt amps and dual voice coils driving a single cone. Why? More output, better control, less distortion. And there's USB input for fine tuning via the Perfect Bass Kit.
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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 09, 2009 Published: Jan 10, 2009 0 comments
Mark Fleischmann raved about the input jack panel to his hotel TV in an earlier post. Here at the Hyatt Place we have even more flexibility, including component, HDMI, and a myriad of other connections. And the TVs in the rooms are 42" LG plasmas! If I had only had brought along something to plug into them, like a Blu-ray player!! And this hotel is cheaper than the Mirage, with parking right outside the door and no noisy casino to traipse through from car to room. In exchange, all we have to put up with is being under the takeoff leg at McCarran airport 18 hours a day. Actually, we're under it 24 hours a day. The hotel doesn't move for those other six hours; there are no flights from midnight to 6AM.

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