With an ad campaign and slogan like this, you'd never guess that one of the products this company makes is a Touch Pad Digital Bible Reader. No, seriously. (They also make digital media players, digital video recorders, and digital picture frames.)
If I tried to list all the new Samsung HDTVs launched at the show I'd go blind, so with deference to those who say I already am, and in the interests of my being still able to review a few of them later this year, I'll hit the highlights. With a full, new lineup of HDTVs (LED sidelit LCDs, conventional CCFLfluorescentbacklit LCDs, and plasmas), new BD players with faster claimed booting and loading times, and three complete BD audio systems, Samsung is ready for the 2010 retail wars.
Sharp's big announcement, apart from listing of their new models, was Quad Pixel Technology. Instead of the usual red, green, and blue sub-pixels that make up each pixel in the LCD image, Sharp adds a fourth, yellow-filtered sub-pixel. This is said to increase the number of colors up to 1 trillion. But who's counting?
The Zeppelin now has a little sister, the Mini Zeppelin, and it offers a new feature: PC streaming via USB. The iPod dock swivels so your touch or iPhone can be used vertically or horizontally. Unlike the original Zep, which could dominate a large room, the Mini Zep is designed for more intimate spaces. Price $399.
How do we know that? Because these prototypes were labeled Premium Speakers. Looks like they'll include a three-way, four-driver tower, a three-way center, smaller surrounds, and a pretty substantial and handsome sub with rounded hardwood side panels. The orchestral music trying to be heard above the hubbub of the show floor was as pleasing as anything could be under such circumstances.
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.