CES 2012

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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Jan 15, 2012 0 comments
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.

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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 15, 2012 2 comments
I remember CESs of long ago—that'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.

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 14, 2012 0 comments
Las Vegas was built, in large part, on the acquiring and spending of golden nuggets. Today, of course, golden nuggets (in the form of dollar bills) are handed over to the casinos in enormous quantities. There was a huge golden nugget, however, to be found in the GoldenEar suite at the Venetian - and this one didn’t get put on the closest gaming table. Sandy Gross and team have put together an absolutely unbelievable LCR soundbar that’s so flipping good, it was THE most exciting audio product I heard the entire Show. Somehow this amazing 49-inch wide soundbar sounded as if it were more like 15 feet wide; and combined with two of GoldenEar’s ForceField 3 subwoofers ($499/each), the $999 SuperCinema 3D Array was easily one of the best sounding soundbars I’ve ever heard in just about any price range, especially when it came to reproducing two-channel music - a task most soundbars fail abysmally at. Thankfully, in this case, what happens in Vegas isn’t staying in Vegas - and we’ll be getting one of the first samples for review in the next few months. Stay tuned...
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 14, 2012 2 comments
Once a bustling center of earth-changing activity, the CES2012 Press Room at the Las Vegas Convention Center looked dull and dismal (well, more so than it did earlier during CES) fifteen minutes before closing time on Friday. Gone is the jovial camaraderie, the fighting for seats, the wrestling matches for the last (free) press lunch, and the incessant questioning. (It’s usually one of two: “Are there any lunches left?” or “What’s the login and password for the Press Room WiFi?”) I was one of the last few stragglers to inhabit the large conference room that’s housed the CES press for as long as I can remember - which, considering the state of my mind at the end of CES, is not too long - Friday, showing just how dedicated I am (and what a loser I am, too). The most important journalist question I asked during the CES grind? “Where are the f’ing free cookies and brownies that they used to give us?”

(On a brighter note, that’s the Griffin HELO TC iOS-device-controlled helicopter I convinced the Griffin booth guy to allow me to leave with.)

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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Jan 14, 2012 0 comments
In case you thought 3D was dying out, LG’s booth was proof that 3D is alive and well, and expanding. As you walked into the LG booth, you were urged to grab passive 3D glasses. Once in the booth almost every TV was set to show 3D content. Most visitors of the booth who donned the new stylish LG glasses were treated to butterflies floating in mid-air, baseballs soaring toward home plate and other fantastic 3D images.

LG showed also showed off their 3D mobile phones that come equipped with 3D cameras to shoot photos and videos that can be transferred for viewing on LG’s 3D TVs.

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 14, 2012 0 comments
One of the best parts of CES is the intellectually stimulating entertainment you’ll find at the various booths. Instead of the traditional scantily clad young women with heels so high they can barely walk, this booth chose to use a slightly different type of bird to draw attention.
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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Jan 14, 2012 0 comments
LG smart TVs will have voice recognition capabilities in 2012. LG’s new magic wand remote will act as a microphone that can be used to speak commands to your TV.

Play, pause or stop the current movie you are streaming. Or change the channel with simple voice commands.

Voice recognition can be used to tell the LG to search for a specific movie title or TV show. It can also be used to dictate tweets or Facebook updates.

Details of the LG voice recognition’s full capabilities and features will be announced when the TVs are released in Spring 2012.

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 14, 2012 0 comments
Sometimes you wonder how some companies get involved in seemingly unrelated product categories. Amidst more traditional iPod/iPhone/iPad add-ons, accessory manufacturer Griffin was showing off a pair of IR-controlled helicopters that you pilot using your iOS touchscreen device. The $49.95 current model (HELO TC) will be joined soon by a $59.95 version (HELO TC Assault) that was shooting small plastic “missiles” at unsuspecting CES booth gawkers. Although a little tricky to fly at first, the helicopters were a lot of fun to fly using the included iOS app. Movement is controlled either with a virtual joystick or by tilting the iOS device. When asked how Griffin got involved selling remote-controlled helicopters, I was told the “unofficial” story: the staff all like flying them at the office.
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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Jan 13, 2012 0 comments
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Jan 13, 2012 0 comments
GenAudio astounded me at last year's CES with its AstoundSound 3D audio system, which creates a convincing spherical soundfield from two speakers. This year, the company announced that its launching AstoundSound for CE, an application that manufacturers can include in their products, such as iPod speakers, soundbars, and TVs—in fact, GenAudio is partnering with Analog Devices and other DSP makers to include the algorithm in their chips.

I heard a clip from Kitaro's Earth in Bloom that was downmixed from 5.1 to 2 channels and then expanded by AstoundSound in real time played first on a $12,000 pair of Gheithain pro studio monitors and then on a $300 2.1 Panasonic soundbar, and the result was remarkable, with various sounds flying all around the room, including overhead. Of course, the studio monitors had better sound quality, but the effect was quite pronounced—and enjoyable—from both.

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Rob Sabin Posted: Jan 13, 2012 0 comments
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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Jan 13, 2012 0 comments
If you have any TVs or monitors with a vertical HDMI connection where the HDMI cable comes loose and wriggles itself out, you’ll appreciate the locking HDMI cables being shown by Perfect Path. The cable locks into place because its end cover slides back and forth to lock or release the cable.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 13, 2012 0 comments
Griffin’s new smartphone universal remote control uses Bluetooth to send commands to an IR emitter that sits near your home theater system. As a result, the $69.99 Beacon doesn’t require the user to attach any dongles or special transmitters to the phone (something that makes other smartphone remotes a pain in the butt). The IR emitter is battery powered, so it can be placed wherever is most convenient without the need for running a power cable to it. Models are available for both iOS and Android smartphones.
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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 13, 2012 0 comments
Welcome to the wonderful world of high-end audio. After two eventful days scoping out the latest in video at the Las Vegas Convention Center venue I retired to the relatively relaxing confines of the Venetian Hotel, where I could listen to some tunes played back on deliciously succulent 2-channel gear. Yes, mainly 2-channel. There were a few interesting surround setups, such as in the Atlantic Technology booth where they were showing off the new H-PAS bookshelf speaker, and even a few rare full home theater setups, such as in the Wolf Cinema room. But the Venetian was mostly a 2-channel world.

But an interesting one. I wanted to scope out loudspeakers in particular, some of which have also been covered here by Home Theater's audio tech editor, Mark Fleischmann, and others. But what follows here is what caught my eye…er, my ears.

In the photo above is the new Magico Q7, the largest offering from that loudspeaker specialist. Each speaker is 750 lbs, 60-inches high, and 32-inches deep. A pair of them will set you back $165,000. That’s three zeros, and is not a typo. But they sounded astonishing, as well they should. Don't look for a review of five of them in Home Theater any time soon. In fact, Magico, like many high-end speaker makers, does not offer a center channel speaker.

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