CES 2012

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 17, 2012 0 comments
If you were exhibiting at CES and you didn’t have any earphones or headphones to demonstrate, then you must not have gotten the memo that said everyone must make earbuds. Amidst the bewildering variety of mostly mediocre offerings, Sonomax was showing off their latest eers - custom molded earphones. Unlike most other custom molded earphones which have to be professionally fitted, eers come in a do-it-yourself kit that includes a special goo that flows into your ear and hardens to create a custom-fit for your specific ear. According to Sonomax, "Since ears are more unique than fingerprints, perfect fit and comfort can only be achieved with custom-fit earphones.” The PCS-150 uses a single driver. The PCS-250 uses dual drivers and a crossover. Both models include in-line microphones for use with mobile phones. Pricing will be approximately $199 and $299 respectively.
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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Jan 17, 2012 0 comments
Netgear showed off the new Smart Network Cloud Application Platform on its 2012 routers, network attached storage (NAS) drives, and media players, where users can access a number of useful home networking apps through a dashboard called the AppManager. These third-party-developed apps include home lighting and power control, media search capabilities, and internet usage meters.

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 17, 2012 2 comments
Somebody at Newer Technology finally got fed up with all the USB wall wart chargers taking up all the available outlets - not to mention looking like a charger jigsaw puzzle. The company's Power2U AC/USB wall outlet combines two AC wall outlets with a pair of powered USB ports that'll charge and power up to four iOS/Android/etc devices - including being able to charge the amperage-hungry iPad. Unlike traditional wall-wart power supplies, the USB charging ports in the Power2U utilize a "Smart Power" design that is supposed to reduce your energy consumption costs by providing only the charging amount necessary for the connected devices, as well as turn off power to the USB ports when the connecting cable is removed. Safety shutters over the USB ports slide closed when not in use.

The UL-Listed Power2U installs into a standard single-gang outlet box (16 cubic inches or larger) with a 15A circuit and comes with detailed instructions for the intrepid do-it-yourselfer. In fact, Newer Technology says it can be installed in as little as 20 minutes. At the moment, the wall outlets are only available in an off-white finish. The wall plate itself has small caps to cover the wall plate's screws. The Power2U AC/USB wall outlets are available now for $39.95/each But if my house is any kind of a guide, you'll need more than just one to satisfy all your voracious portable devices.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jan 17, 2012 0 comments
As one of only three major manufacturers of plasma TVs, Samsung continues its tradition of excellence with the E8000 flagship line, which offers screen sizes of 60 and 64 inches. A dual-core chipset is said to provide enhanced performance, with excellent 2D and 3D picture quality and deep blacks thanks to the company's Real Black filter. Its Smart TV functionality includes Samsung's Smart Content and Smart Interaction technology that lets you control the TV by motion and voice, and Smart Evolution lets you upgrade the hardware as new features become available.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 17, 2012 1 comments
At CES, legendary audio company McIntosh introduced a special 50th Anniversary Limited Edition McIntosh MC275 tube power amplifier. According to McIntosh, the 75-watt x 2 MC275 was designed and engineered in 1961 by McIntosh co-founder Sidney Corderman and the McIntosh Engineering Team, and it's been an object of desire for McIntosh aficionados ever since. Adding to the excitement of the introduction, McIntosh handed out what has to be one of the best press kit flash drives in the history of CES: a miniature version of the MC275 with 4 GB of flash memory hidden inside one of the output transformers. McIntosh says they are only building 275 of the 50th Anniversary Limited Edition MC275 (hmmm, I wonder where they came up with that number?), so it's destined to be a highly sought after piece of gear. I'm not sure how many mini-MC275 flash drives McIntosh has to give out, but I know it's going to be quite a collector's item, too. Now, if I could just figure out where to connect the speaker wires...
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jan 17, 2012 0 comments
Samsung's booth was dominated by flying video cubes overhead, making it easy to find from just about anywhere in Central Hall.
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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Jan 17, 2012 1 comments
Dolby announced that movies and TV shows from HBO Go will include Dolby Digital Plus. Dolby Digital Plus supports up to 7.1 channel surround sound so you can experience a movie, or TV show, the way the director intended. This means that viewers can have a high definition movie experience with full surround sound similar to that of watching a Blu-ray Disc.

Dolby previously announced that Dolby Digital Plus is available Netflix and Vudu streaming services. Initially, the multichannel surround sound format could only be played through a Playstation 3 or XBox 360 video console.

With the CES announcement, Dolby Digital Plus will be available on TVs and Blu-ray Players with these video on demand apps.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jan 17, 2012 1 comments
I learned more about the flagship of Samsung's 2012 LED-LCD TV lineup since the press conference last Monday. For example, it will be available in screen sizes of 55, 60, and 75 inches. Like all Samsung LED-LCDs, this one is edgelit along the sides, and a new Micro Dimming Ultimate algorithm provides pseudo local dimming with more zones than previous versions. Also, Smart Evolution lets you upgrade the TV's hardware as well as firmware, making it essentially futureproof.
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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Jan 16, 2012 0 comments
Until now, DLNA certifications were used for personal content--movies, music, and photos--stored in media libraries in your home network.

This is a revolutionary advance because manufacturers have been searching for a way to make movie and TV studios comfortable with sharing premium content in a way that cannot be pirated. Premium Video certified products will communicate digital rights management information for each movie or TV show and allow the streaming to take place but will not allow recording. In fact, devices that can record--NAS drives, computers--will probably not be Premium Video certified.

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