You think being a member of the press is a swanky existence? Banish all such thoughts from your mind. When I attended my first CES in 1985, a few people who knew each other had convivial hot lunches in the press room and everyone was guaranteed a seat. The proliferation of bloggers now has people sitting on the floor eating box lunches and most of them are strangers to one another.
The audience is all ears listening to the flagship home theater system from Swans (more below), via Arcadia of California via Hi-Vi in China. For those who are interested, they were listening to Yanni Live at Mandalay Bay on a multichannel DVD.
Sennheiser's RS170 headphones are full-sized, wireless, and surround-savvy -- the latter coming in the form of a proprietary, not licensed, technology. The company's previous surround products had used adaptation technology licensed from SRS. Price $150.
A few years back the maker of Energy and Mirage speakers, Audio Products International, was bought by Klipsch. Then a company celled Gentec International gobbled up all three brands. Unfortunately, Energy and Mirage went through the succeeding years with little new of interest to the serious audiophile. A shame, because the Energy Veritas v2.8 from 1994 remains one of my all time favorite (and underappreciated speakers). I still own a pair and although they were never ready for home theater (a matching center channel was never made for the original Veritas'). I break them out every time I need a (still excellent) 2-channel referenced. That's not often these days, but as little as time as they get in my listening room they aren't going anywhere.
These massage chairs from Weightec use lighted, moving symbols to let you know what kind of massage you're going to get. We like the one with the little footprints at far right. It will free up children, pygmies, and monkeys for other kinds of work.
LG's new LED LCD TVs are now ultra slim, including one model that is an incredible 6.9mm thin. The Infinia range includes full LED backlighting technology (Full LED Slim, in LG's phrase, but a bit thicker than that 6.9mm set). Some LG sets will now offer 480Hz operation thanks to a newly developed ASIC. The company also plans on marketing a 15" OLED display.
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.