Tiny projectors - like this one from Microvision - are big this year, although picture size and quality isn't necessarily so. I overheard one presenter say you could project an image up to 200 inches with one of these types of projectors. Technically, I suppose you could send a photon from one of these projectors to Mars, but that doesn't mean it's watchable at that size or distance.
Gefen's new ToolBox line includes wall-mounted "system integration devices" used for HDMI connectivity and distribution. The new models are designed to be installed on the wall near the gear rather than in a rack. Each unit comes with locking HDMI cables and are available in glossy cream or black. In addition to HDMI splitters and switchers (including matrix switchers), the line will include a wireless HDMI transmitter/receiver package that will extend HDMI signals at 1080p/60 full HD resolution up to 30 feet.
B&W's MM1 multimedia speakers are two-way babies with three-inch woofer and one-inch tweeter, 18 watts, and the company's DSP, which is said to eliminate the need for a sub. Look for them in February, price n/a.
We've missed Optoma's engaging big-screen demos the past few shows, but we had to miss them again this year. The featured attractions here were several project 3D demos using video projectors. Unfortunately, they were disappointing compared to the 3D demos elsewhere at the show, with decent 3D effects but noticeably compromised resolution.
DTS, one of the home theater world's guardians of surround standards, was showing these dongles which are designed to adapt stereo signals to surround headphone use. The resemblance to vacuum tubes was neither here nor there. The company was also talking up its DTS Premium Suite of licensed DSP technologies. They include DTS Connect, for upconverting two channels to 5.1; DTS Surround Sensation, for headphones; DTS Symmetry, which balances levels among input sources; and DTS Boost, which makes laptop sound louder, clearer, and more immersive. Also new to us was the 7.1-channel version of Neural, the stereo-to-surround technology purchased from original developer THX a year ago.
Pure Acoustics, hitherto a pure speaker manufacturer, is moving into compact systems both surround and stereo. In the former category are the RZ-3200 5.1-channel system and the UX-99 5.0-channel system, both with DVD drives plus USB and iPod connectivity. Pure also showed a bevy of colorful satellites, pictured.
The Sound Egg is a complete 5.1 personal surround sound chair with five speakers and an integrated 10-inch subwoofer under the seat. The company says "the chair is a mobile acoustic chamber that will give you the most realistic sound in audio technology with a full 20 Hz to 20 kHz frequency spectrum." The Sound Egg chair is available in a variety of colors for $1,450 (shipping included).
Toshiba's big announcement concerned the incoporation of the advanced Cell processor into selected models of its new, 2010 Cell series of HDTVs. The Cell was developed by Toshiba but is best known up to now as the brains in Sony's PlayStation3.
We hope Bowers & Wilkins will forgive us for using the once ubiquitous acronym B&W – we are old fashioned that way. Any changes in the company's world-beating 800 line, lately known as the Diamond Series, qualifies as major news. The original 13 models have been reduced to 7 ranging in price from $2500 to $24,000. Lineup is what you see here plus two centers not pictured. New stuff includes new crossovers, magnets, gloss black finish, and every model has the cool Diamond tweeter.
Every day, I wake up and think I've seen it all when it comes to iPod accessories; and then something comes along to renew my faith in the amazing power of human ingenuity to create ever-more-useless stuff. On my way through the international section of the convention center, a series of wooden iPod covers caught my eye. That's wooden as in real wood - not a vinyl or plastic lookalike. I don't know if any store sells these in the U.S., but if they did you'd probably pay $24.95 or more for one. (I'm sure the name on the package has some significance overseas, but it's just aching for bad puns and innuendo here in good old America.)