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CES 2010

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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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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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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 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 Published: Jan 10, 2010 0 comments
TAD's new monoblock power amp outputs 300W into 8 ohms and 600 watts into 6 ohms. What looks like an amp stand under the thick aluminum chassis is actually a cast iron piece of the amp's structure that houses some of the components and adds to the rigidity of the piece. Each $26,500 monoblock weighs in at 200 lbs.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 10, 2010 0 comments
We can't say too much about it, but PrimeSense is working on a 3D motion-control camera system that's extremely inexpensive, amazingly sensitive, and promises to be incredibly fun and useful. (How often does that happen?) Of course, many companies are developing systems that will let you control your computer or home entertainment system using gestures, but seems to have them beat hands down (and up) when it comes to a device that's affordable (and by that I mean really affordable) and yet very accurate. PrimeSense's technology can be used in place of a mouse or other input device for games and picture/movie viewing. You won't be seeing any PrimeSense branded equipment, but the technology will be coming to store shelves as part of at least one well-known company's products. Next year we may see the technology built into TVs, computers, and anything else that needs input from a remote control or mouse.
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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 09, 2010 0 comments
In addition to its usual tsunami of new sets, Sony is offering an optional angled stand for many of its models up to 55". The stand tilts the set upwards slightly, so when the set is positioned on low, European-style furniture (think IKEA) it aims upward at the viewer. If you like the stand but not the angle it will also accommodate the usual vertical stance.
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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 09, 2010 2 comments
Panasonic not only made the biggest push for 3D at the show, it also had the most consistently effective demos. All used shutter glasses, and all of Panasonic's new plasma sets are claimed to use faster phosphor elements to minimize left-right crosstalk (lingering images can be an issue when separate images must be presented for each eye. (Hopefully the new phosphors won't compromise color accuracy. The color in the demos looked fine, but such demos invariably deviate from the D6500 color standard.)

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