CES 2010

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 10, 2010 0 comments
XStreamHD is a high definition media via satellite delivery service provider that's been gearing up for the last year. We've followed their progress, and now it looks like XStreamHD will be launching at the end of April. The XStreamHD hardware will let you rent HD movies (with Blu-ray bit-for-bit HD quality) with many other media-centric service to come, including game downloads. There's a $10/month subscription fee - after that, you simply pay for the movies/games/etc. that you want to rent or buy. Everything gets stored on the XStreamHD HD Media Server that comes standard with a 1TB drive (but is upgradeable to 2TB and 4TB). Movies can be streamed to HDTVs throughout your house using the basic HD Media Receiver or the more advanced PRO Media Receiver, which includes high-end DACs and 8-channel analog audio out for use with pre/pros that lack HDMI inputs. The basic package (1 Media Server + 1 HD Media Receiver) is scheduled to sell for $399. A Server and PRO Receiver package will be $499.
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Shane Buettner Posted: Jan 10, 2010 0 comments
The group at Anthem/Paradigm now offers complete turnkey home theater solutions comprised of separate electronics, speakers, a Blu-ray player and a front projector and screen. The results almost shook the Venetian hotel to the ground. The Anthem line brought in Statement series electronics with the D2v processor, A5 power amp, three BLX-200 Blu-ray players (continuous demo, no disc swapping), and an LTX-500 LCOS projector driving an SI Black Diamond screen. Paradigm’s Signature S6 speakers held down left and right duty in this surround system, but my eyes and ears went immediately to the presence of two ginormous SUB 2 subwoofers at the front of the room. The $7499 SUB 2 uses six 10” woofers in its unusually shaped cabinet. And get this. Wiring 240v AC to the SUB 2 Paradigm claims 4,500 watts RMS sustained with its Class D amplification. If you can only wire for 120v, don’t’ feel too bad. Paradigm claims 3,000 watts RMS sustained over old-fashioned 120v lines, which isn’t exactly anemic either. The cabinet/driver configuration cancels cabinet vibration, and all that’s left is earthshaking bass. The versatility of this system was extraordinary, bringing me to my emotional knees with an evocative KD Lang concert performance before shattering that blissful calm with a bonecrusher (ok, hunter-killer) scene from Terminator Salvation (all the demo material was Blu-ray). Then Anthem/Paradigm’s Rob Sample played Nine Inch Nails Beside You in Time, and we were whisked off to the concert arena. I’ve never heard rock concert bass portrayed as convincingly in a home theater system. Not only was the bass pounding at startlingly high SPLs, the air in the room was fully charged. I saw NIN live in 2008, and this is as close as I’ll get to that energy until they come around again. This is powerful stuff. So powerful that I need to know more. Paradigm’s on the hook to send me a SUB 2 review sample. My neighbors have no idea what’s coming for them!
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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 10, 2010 0 comments
My search for home theater displays at the Venetian hotel, home of the high-end audio exhibits, was frustrating. And while I enjoyed checking out the audio rooms, looking mainly for speakers suitable for home theater (but also for the fun of it!), their prices were often a put-off for multi-channel applications). The Meridian room did not break the price barrier either, but the quality of the system was outstanding. The company left its big 4K projector at home and settled on the smaller DLA-MF10 with an ISCO anamorphic lens (about $28,000 --$15,000 without the lens) and 8-foot wide (approximately) 2.35:1 Stewart Studiotek 130 screen. Even though this projector is based on an older JVC DLA design (extensively modified courtesy of video expert William Phelps) the picture was to die for.
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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 09, 2010 Published: Jan 10, 2010 0 comments
You can be forgiven if this looks like one of those odd, transparent speaker systems. But it wasn't put in the Avalon room to compete with the Avalon Time. Its a passive room treatment device from Acustica Applicata (sounds like a singing technique, like a capella), an Italian company. The visible "eye" is a mechanical iris diaphragm, which combined with a port in the base with an adjustable opening and an internal membrane can tune the device to between 26Hz and 60Hz. This is said to improve the low frequency resolution by tuning out bass problem areas over a narrow or broad range. $3600 each.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 10, 2010 0 comments
If I'd had $299 for the Show special price, I'd be flying home with one of these RCX4 Stryker RC flying X-wing craft from EZ2Fly, Inc. (The regular price is $399.) They say it's a full-function 4-channel hovercraft with an integrated 3D gyro system. It's not quite as cool as Parrot's AR Drone quadricopter that uses Wi-Fi, has two on-board cameras, and can be controlled by an iPhone or iPod touch - but the AR Drone isn't available for purchase yet.
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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 09, 2010 Published: Jan 10, 2010 0 comments
A proprietary master clock , specially designed disc mechanism, and a rigid, die-cast aluminum chassis are only a few of the reason's why TAD's new D600 CD/SACD (2-channel) CD and (two-channel) SACD disc spinner commands a price of $26,500. Available in spring 2010.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 10, 2010 1 comments
Summit Wireless is coming closer to bringing their super-easy, super-robust, super-sounding wireless technology to the market. In addition to being able to deliver uncompressed 24-bit 48 kHz audio wirelessly without interference or dropouts, the system can handle up to 7.1 channels of audio. Ease of setup is also part of Summit Wireless's technology. Pressing one button on the remote control allows the equipment to automatically determine the position of all the speakers in relation to the holder of the remote. The system uses that info to set delays and output levels. The demos I heard at CEDIA were extremely impressive, and the latest round of demonstrations Summit Wireless did for me here at CES were even more engaging. The chip that contains all the horsepower and the wireless antennae can built into AVRs, TVs, speakers, and subwoofers. Summit Wireless doesn't intend on bringing out branded products, but they will be announcing partners in the very near future. We could even begin seeing product by Christmas of this year. That's the most exciting part of all, because if the systems perform in the real world as well as they have in the demo suites this is going to make the dream of a high performing wireless home theater system a reality.
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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 09, 2010 Published: Jan 10, 2010 0 comments
Atlantic Technology was showing a near finished prototype of its H-PAS speaker, first seen in early form at CEDIA. H-PAS stands for Hybrid Pressure Acceleration System, a fancy name for what is claimed to be a breakthrough in bass loading. It combines several speaker technologies, including bass reflex, inverse horn, and transmission line. The system is purely passive;there is no subwoofer hidden in the box and the only drivers in the design are the two 5.25" woofers and soft dome tweeter seen in the photo (which does not do the gloss black design justice).
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 10, 2010 1 comments
Billy Mays, were he still with us, along with Andy Sullivan, the Slap Chop guy, and the rest of the TV pitchmen won't like this new outboard device from SRS Labs. Hook it up between your satellite or cable box and your TV or AVR, and it will use its processing magic called SRS TruVolume, to reduce the volume of those annoying commercial interruptions down to a more listenable level. The MyVolume Volume Leveling Adaptor is available now for $99.95. The analog audio version is $49.95. CHECK ONE OUT...I mean, check one out.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 10, 2010 0 comments
According to the CEA, over 110,000 bodies came to swarm the Las Vegas Convention Center and environs for the 2010 CES. Even though there were still two days to go when I took this picture, CES had already taken its toll on these two gentlemen.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 10, 2010 0 comments
Yeah, it's one of those kinds of things. We're sworn to secrecy (hopefully not too much longer), but we were one of the few who were given a glimpse at a new speaker line from a brand new company called GoldenEar Technology. New companies come into existence all the time, of course, but what makes this one so special is the fact that it's being started by Sandy Gross and Don Givogue, two of the founders of one of our (and many, many other' people's - if all of the stellar reviews and impressive sales numbers are anything to go by) favorite speaker brands, Definitive Technology. Gross was also one of the founders of another speaker brand you might have heard of: Polk. So when we heard Sandy Gross was working on a new speaker, our ears started to tingle (and not just from being at CES for several days). We can't tell you many of the details, but what we saw was elegant, affordable, and has all the makings of another blockbuster line of gear. To use a Vegas analogy, it's the kind of thing you might get if Frank Sinatra and Elvis had a love child. (Yeah, I know it's not biologically possible, but this is Vegas, after all...)
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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 09, 2010 Published: Jan 10, 2010 0 comments
Though I've covered only a fraction of the rooms at the Venetian so far, with a day to go, my favorite rooms today were the Thiel (above) and the Avalon, where the new Avalon Times were making terrific sounds, driven by monoblock power amps from Jeff Rowland. The Time employs two 11" Nomex-Kevlar composite woofers, a 3.5" concave Ceramic Dome midrange, and a 1" concave Diamond diaphragm tweeter. The Thiel and Avalon systems could not have soundxed more different (Thiel leaner, Avalon warmer and richer) but both flattered a wide range of the music I tried on them. The Avalons, however, will cost you a lot more, at $49,000/pair -- and the fijnish shown is a $4000 option!
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 10, 2010 5 comments
When your woofer is so big you need an engine hoist to lift it, I think you might have gone a bit too far. I see counseling in your future - and maybe hernia surgery.
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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 09, 2010 0 comments
As with all of the major set manufacturers, Sony introduced more new sets than any blog can cover. Models in the new LX and HX ranges will be fully 3D capable, using active shutter glasses (most manufacturers plan to use shutter glasses rather than the cheaper but less effective (according to some) polarized glasses). There are models with LED backlighting (edge-lit and backlit local dimming) and others with conventional CCFL lighting.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 09, 2010 0 comments
The Arcam AVR600 is one of the best receivers we've ever reviewed. Making its debut at CES was the slightly slimmed down AVR500, with 100 watts times seven, versus the older model's 120. Arcam's Class G amp topology has to be heard to be believed. A preamp-processor and multi-channel power amp were also on display.

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