This year most TV manufacturers are pairing tablets with TVs to create what they call a “second screen” or “Dual Screen” experience. Why interrupt what you are watching to bring up menus that shrink the screen or overlay TV guide grids that block your picture, when you can bring up the menus and guides on your tablet?
Toshiba, Samsung, Panasonic, Sony, LG and others showed up their apps that run on tablets to control and enhance your TV viewing experience. Although they would like you to buy their tablets, the apps will run on any Android or iOS device.
Attendees of the Monster Retailer Awards could wax nostalgic with Chicago. Many who swayed and sang along with the hit-filled concert could not have been born 45 years ago when the band began, yet the audience sang along with hits from five decades.
You will see a few asides in these postings that are not speaker-related, but interesting nonetheless. Shown in the photo is the first preamp ever produced by audio specialist Audio Research, the SP-3 from the mid 1970s. It was on static display in the Audio Research room. Audio Research founder William Z. Johnson passed away in 2011. Johnson and his company were key players in the birthing of high-end.
Fortunately, RBH does make speakers for the rest of us, I didn't get sufficient information on the model shown here, but it appears to be an update on the RBH 8300-SE which sells for $9700. That's hardly cheap, but not outrageous in today's high-end speaker marketplace.
I'm fascinated by the drive units manufacturers select or design for their speakers. Here and in the following entries I'll cover a few of them. Shown in the photo above are the midrange and tweeter in the new Aerial Acoustics 7. The midrange is made by SB Acoustics and the tweeter by Scan-speak, customized for Aerial.
Technicolor showed off M-Go, the robust new media app for TVs, tablets, smart phones and computers that makes it possible to access anything you want to watch on the device or thrown to your TV. Through a simple menu on your mobile device or computer you can get to your desired movie or TV show without the need to navigate to each service, comb through the TV program guide or scroll through your DVR to find it.
Along with control and second screen capabilities, TV manufacturers are pairing their tablets to TVs allowing users to send media to their big screen directly from their tablet.
The TV apps make it possible to “fling” photos, music, or movies that are stored on the tablet towards the TV and have it play on the big screen. Most apps will be able to find media stored on other sources--computers, media servers--in a home network and push that media to the TV (Media Renderer capabilities).
Both the tablets apps and the TVs are DLNA certified which makes the media sharing possible. While this is possible on other DLNA certified media apps, the paired apps will undoubtedly create a seamless experience.
I remember CESs of long agothat's about five to ten years, an eternity in CES time when all of the literature handed out was in print form. Now it's typically on a flash drive, a disc (and even they are getting thinner on the ground—particularly the tiny ones that can't be used on Mac computers) or a simple card with directions to a news-release website. But not always; there's still a pile of paper to deal with, like the 6-inch stack I brought home with me. Luckily I drive to the show.
One of the realities of blogging at CES is that we here at Home Theater cover the video news first, which means that most of the video-related entries end up at the bottom of the blog pile, with the later, heavily audio-related entries at the top. That's why the blogs here are front-loaded with audio. Much of the serious high-end audio is at the Venetian Hotel, well removed from the of the circus atmosphere at the Las Vegas Convention Center where just about everything else, including the video, resides.
You may see a lot of audio entries below and wonder why? Well, for my part, I can't escape my roots of a dozen years or more writing the Stereophile. But more importantly for our present purposes, speakers are speakers, and I spent most of my time at the Venetian scoping them out. While many speakers that you'll see here will be inappropriate for home theater, largely because their manufacturers don't see fit to make matching center channel speakers for them, the technology involved is still fascinating. To me, anyway.
Take me to your leader. The 8T is the leader, or at least the first entry in a new line of speakers that's an offshoot of RBH. The four midrange drivers in the upper array have beryllium cones. The tweeter is a beryllium dome tweeter from Scan-Speak. At $50,000/pair, however, they're not for most of us, though the layout is vaguely similar to a B&W home theater speaker system from the late 1990s. The shape of the woofer enclosure here also suggests an intriguing configuration for a floor-mounted center channel speaker for use below a projection screen—though no center speaker is likely to match the 8T.
Wisdom launched several new in-wall speaker systems that would be well-suited to a home theater setting, particularly one using a perforated screen. The demoed units were the P4i ($1500 each) and L8i ($5000 each). While neither could match the sheer majesty of the Wisdom LS4s, both of them (with a smaller Wisdom subwoofer) provided sound of a quality I never thought possible from small in-walls,m with none of the usual in-wall colorations. One caveat here is that the temporary walls used in the demonstration may not be typical of real walls, either in the size of their internal cavities (the Insights do not use a backbox) or in rigidity and lack of resonances (the walls here appeared to be made of MDF, not the sheetrock of most residential construction).
Your universal remote control may become a thing of the past. TV manufacturers are creating apps that can not only control the TV, but can be programmed with macros to control your whole home theater system.
Remote control apps have been appearing over the past year. These apps work over wifi to control connected TVs and devices.
This year, Sony and Samsung are showing tablets with IR (infrared control), that can send commands to most any home theater device.
What do you think? Are you ready to chuck your home theater remote for an app on a tablet?
Samsung announced a Blu-ray Disc player that let’s you get digital copies of your movies. This does not mean that the Blu-ray Disc is making digital copies of your movies. Instead, you put a DVD or Blu-ray Disc into the Blu-ray Disc player, and it will access Ultraviolet where you can purchase a digital copy of the movie and save it to your Ultraviolet cloud locker.