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.
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.
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.
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?
Well the answer to that questions appears to be 9mm. Pioneer intent is to have your next HDTV appear to be floating on the wall. Kuro's slim bezel flat panel HDTV is pretty cool looking, appearing to be a thin sheet of glass.
Also, Pioneer is making the claim they have made a major breakthrough in contrast ratio. Its so amazing that it is beyond measurement. They call it the Extreme Contrast Concept Model and it eliminates all idling luminance. Can't wait to actually get a demo of it.
What if Nielsen ratings new for SURE what you were watching? I mean, you turn on the TV, go make a sandwich, heck go sking come home, and what have they got? Worse, all those stupid, stupid log books that a) you have to fill out if you're one of the lucky Nielsen families and b) they have to decipher. I'm betting most of them are more "wish list" than reality.
As home networking not only becomes more popular but has become a necessity in complex home entertainment centers, Sharp introduced a new and simple networking solution, the Powerline Communication (PLC) adapter. It enables users to send high-definition data to their Internet-ready televisions, computers or other peripheral devices through a home’s existing power lines, offering a much easier alternative networking method that doesn't expensive installation of in-wall cabling. Users can connect multiple devices, such as TVs, set-top boxes, gaming consoles, PCs, and routers, using Sharp’s PLC adapters wherever there is a power outlet.
The PLC's offer stable communication with a high-speed connection of 85 Megabits per second (Mbps). Additionally, Sharp’s PLC networks achieve one of the highest levels of security with a government-adopted AES 128-bit encryption, ensuring data passes safely through the network.
Considering the potential cost of running long lengths of cable through the house, the Sharp PLC's are a bargain and about the same price as a high quality router. Three models will be available in March 08 for the following retail prices:
Every year the press corps gets some sort of bag or other as SWAG (Stuff We All Get—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.
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.