CES 2009

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uavKim Wilson Posted: Jan 06, 2008 0 comments

I was up at the crack of dawn to make sure I made it to LG Electronics annual 8am press conference. One of the major announcements was their commitment to quality audio performance to accompany their high definition flat panel TVs. Audio has never been a major product category for LG Electronics so this new venture is extremely ambitious. They have partnered with legendary audio designer, Mr. Mark Levinson. Together they have collaborated on the development of two new home theater products that deliver enhanced sound quality accented by a stylish design.

The AP3133 is a high-definition AV home theater system featuring multi-driver floor standing loudspeakers, a center channel speaker, surrounds, and powered subwoofer. The system includes a 7.1-channel AV receiver with 150Watts X 7 , Burr-Brown PCM 1796 24bit/192kHz DAC, multi-input HDMI switching with near 1080p upscaling [whatever that means] and Audyssey Auto Room Multi EQ Adjustment. Moreover it is built around LG’s “Super Blu” dual-format player. However, since WB's recent announcement to go Blu and drop HD-DVD, it may not matter much.

The LHT888 was inspired by the slim elegant form of the champagne glass, which can be seen in the loudspeakers unique parabolic housing and tapered integrated pedestal. The system includes a 700W 5.1-channel DVD receiver with near 1080p upscaling, a built-in wireless kit, HDMI output and LG's SimpLink™ multi-device control (HDMI-CEC) and multi-format playback compatibility.

There were no images in the press kit and it wasn't until I left the standing room only crowd did I learn there was some demo models off the side of the stage. So the image here is just from a banner behind the podium. I hope to hear a sample of both systems at some point in the show, so I can provide more details and images.

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Fred Manteghian Posted: Jan 06, 2008 0 comments

Panasonic added the DMP-BD50 to their line of Blu-ray players. The DMP-BD30 is profile 1.1 and can decode and output lossless Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio™ (the last is new if it truly is Master Audio and not just the DTS core), but you'll have to wait until I get to their booth to find out if it can <i>pass</i> either of those as bitstreams for decoding in a newer receiver.

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uavKim Wilson Posted: Jan 06, 2008 0 comments

I was encouraged by the amount of time Sharp investing in their press conference addressing the real problem of electronic waste. Its a huge problem and one that is only going to get a lot worse as our rampant consumerism for our favoite gadgets increases.

Sharp has formed a joint venture with Panasonic and Toshiba to provide a recycling service called MRM (Manufacturers Recycling Management Company) to electronics manufacturers and others, including state and local governments. Currently they are setting up recycling programs in several states from late 2008 or 2009, including Connecticut, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas and Washington. They anticipate eventually creating a long term national solution. A spokesperson for Sharp said, the formation of an independent company to manage collective electronic recycling programs is the best way to achieve the economies of scale and efficiencies necessary to create a sustainable recycling system for used electronics products. MRM has already entered into collection and recycling agreements with Hitachi Electronics, JVC, Mitsubishi, Philips, Pioneer, Sanyo and Olevia brand maker Syntax-Brillian. More will surely sign on.

Sharp also commented on their continued commitment to toward solar cell research and that they are working on new cost effective ways to further worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.

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Fred Manteghian Posted: Jan 06, 2008 0 comments

Regza has been a huge seller for Toshiba, growing their panel business by 350%. Over the last few years. Toshiba will be concentrating on providing solutions between $500 and $2,500 where they think the biggest market exists. Like LG, Toshiba realizes that cosmetic design is key for consumers these days. And to think, we used to put walnut encased CRT tubes in our living rooms. Yeech!

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uavKim Wilson Posted: Jan 06, 2008 0 comments

In the first two press announcements of the day we are seeing manufacturers stepping up and making a strong commitment to audio, once again.

PIoneer has created a new subsidiary called the "Technical Audio Devices Laboratories" or TAD Labs for short. The purpose is to elevate the
standard of performance for high fidelity audio equipment. During CES, they will showcase the Reference One loudspeaker [which is already available] and a new power amplifier. There was no demo at the announcement but I'll be checking them out once them out once the show starts . So stay tuned.

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Fred Manteghian Posted: Jan 06, 2008 0 comments

LG demonstrated what may be the most exciting at the show. Mobile-Pedestrian-Handheld (MPH) technology piggy backs TV broadcasting to handheld mobile phones over fringe portions of existing DTV broadcasts. Working with Harris Corporation, a leader in communication infrastructure technology, you'll be able to watch Seinfield reruns on your phone for free or watch a premium service. While there's no anticipation that this is going to be high-def (hell, I'd settle for the right aspect ratio), it's going to be really, really hot.

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Fred Manteghian Posted: Jan 06, 2008 0 comments

Kenwood is working with LG and their MPH (mobile video) project team to develop a mobile digital television receiver, and I don't mean a 13" Sanyo on a hospital cart either. Hook up a Kenwood receiver to an LCD in your car, and you'll be able to zoom around the country picking up digital TV signals optimized for easy reception while traveling. I'll know more soon (like what it looks like), but seeing it work in their booth won't tell me how well it works driving around city streets or cruising down the highway. Vroom Vroom.

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uavKim Wilson Posted: Jan 06, 2008 1 comments

During a press conference, Sharp announced a second generation Blu-Ray player, the BD-HP50U. It ships in spring '08 and will sell for either $699.99 or $799.99 (I received two press releases with different prices). The player provides Full HD 1080p digital output and supports the BD-ROM Profile 1.1, allowing consumers to tap into supplemental interactive material without leaving the movie. Some of the interactive features include movie trailers, special subtitles, and director's commentary.

Of course, its compatible with HDMI 1.3 technology and outputs the most advanced lossless surround-sound formats including Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD via HDMI. The BD-HP50U outputs 1080p video at 24 frames per second [frame rate of the original film], which eliminates the need for any frame-rate conversion.

A welcome addition is Sharp’s proprietary Quick Start feature, which takes viewers from disc loading to viewing in less than 10 seconds. What I want to know is when did a fast starting DVD player become a proprietary feature?

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Fred Manteghian Posted: Jan 05, 2008 7 comments

I was actually sad, sad for a consumer electronic company, when I saw what I saw over at the convention center late Saturday afternoon. Toshiba has always been an outstanding company, from the days of making some of the better rear projection (CRT) TVs, to their headlong dive into HD DVD, a format that offered a lot, most importantly, the potential for a single SKU with their Combo format.

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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 05, 2008 0 comments

Every year the press corps gets some sort of bag or other as SWAG (Stuff We All Get&mdash;though probably not Stuff). I have so many of them I could almost furnish an army. I'm sure it was too late this year to change the embroidery.

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