CES 2013

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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 08, 2013 1 comments
Panasonic is introducing 32 new HDTVs at the 2013 CES—16 plasmas and 16 LCDs. The Plasmas range in size from 42- to 64-inches, and the LCD sets cover the ground between 32- and 65-inches.

When Panasonic first started shipping LCD displays a couple of years back, it restricted the LCD lineup to sizes impractical for its HD plasmas, that is, under 42-inches. No longer; bigger sets are now “in,” so the company clearly sees a future in both technologies. But rumors to the contrary, plasmas remain an integral part of Panasonic’s HDTV lineup.

Only brief comments at the press event related to any improvements in basic video performance. As we’ve witnessed from some manufacturers so far on this CES press day, the presentation centered on enhancements to the set’s “Smart” features. This year, Panasonic’s interactive menus allow each member of the family to customize the menu to favor their favorite sites. It can save separate favorites for each member of the family, and even recognize each viewer with its built-in camera (scary!) and switch to the appropriate menu for that individual.

So when I turn on one of these new Panasonics, will it default to the calibration controls?

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 08, 2013 0 comments
Lacking the high-end street cred of a boutique brand, Sony probably won't get much credit for producing the best sound of CES 2013 (at least so far) with its new ES speakers. The NA-2 tower ($10,000/pair), NA-5 monitor ($6000/pair), N-8 center ($3000), and matching sub ($4000) have the same Scandinavian-made multi-chambered birch cabinetry of the existing AR-1 and AR-2. Note the triple tweeter configuration, shown here on the center but present on all the new models. No, you're not seeing two super-tweeters flanking a tweeter, just three tweeters, though they're not the same size and are not all getting exactly the same frequencies (we'll have to get into the intricacies some other time). Fed by Pass amps and high-res sources including vinyl and DSD, the tower established an instant comfort zone with its super silky sweet top end, fatigue-free and convincing midrange, and controlled bass. In addition to today's press announcement at the Venetian, Sony is also showing the ES speakers in a 9.2-channel configuration at its gigantic booth in Central Hall.
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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Jan 08, 2013 0 comments
Although the idea of a digital antenna to receive over-the-air broadcasts with a built in media streamer makes odd bedfellows, it could be the answer to cutting the cable cord. Voxx Accessories announced that it is developing a digital TV antenna with Roku streaming capabilities. The product will be released under the RCA and Terk brands.

Part of Voxx's Roku-Ready partnership, the photo showed a Roku stick attached to a flat omnidirectional powered antenna. It is slated to be released in the fourth quarter of 2013. Few other details are available and I have a lot of questions about how it will work.

For now, it looks like a great solution for TV viewers who like network broadcast TV and a variety of streaming movie options like those available from Roku. We'll keep you posted as we get more details.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 08, 2013 0 comments
Morel's high-performing SoundSpot satellites have a new iteration in the SP3. It has a larger orb with a new 4.5-inch woofer that enables it to perform better at the low end, lowering the formerly 120-150Hz sub crossover to 90dB, so the sub won't have to do so much work (and call so much attention to itself). The Lotus grille pattern makes it acoustically transparent.
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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 08, 2013 0 comments
I guess it's a toss-up as to who thought of a curved OLED first, but LG's 3D-capable EA9800 (no word on price or availability) looks appropriately cinematic as well. OLEDs are uniquely suited to curved designs, as they're so thin they can be twisted or rolled into forms impossible up to now with other display technologies.

LG's OLED employ 4-color pixels--sort of. The fourth color is white, along with the usual red, green,and blue.

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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Jan 08, 2013 0 comments
Bang and Olufsen announced its new flagship TV, the Beovision 11 with SmartTV features. Users can customize their SmartTV hub from a number of available apps.The first Smart TV for the upscale company, the TV includes access to not only the typical U.S. streaming services but services from all around the globe
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 08, 2013 0 comments
Though the Mirage brand name is on ice, its Omnipolar speaker technology lives on in two new 360 Series satellites from Jamo. The larger of the two, the S35, is the size of a grapefruit, has a 3.5-inch woofer, and will be sold in groups of four with a conventionally shaped center and sub. The smaller S25 has a 2.5-inch woofer and will be sold in a five-pack. Available colors will be determined based on dealer feedback at the show with shipping later in the year.
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Tom Norton Posted: Jan 08, 2013 1 comments
Vizio’s new top-of-the-line range of 2K (1920 x 1080) LCD HDTVs is the M-Series shown here. The 3D models are expected to be available later this year in 50-inch ($859) 55-inch ($1200), 60-inch ($1600), 70-inch ($2500) and 80-inch ($4500) sizes. All will have a 240Hz refresh rate, passive 3D, Vizio’s Internet Apps, an ultra slim, thin bezel design, and local dimming. It was not clear from Vizio’s press materials, but we assume from the ultra slim design and the prices that the local dimming is edge-lit rather than the more complex and expensive to implement full backlit zone dimming. The picture here shows all but the 55-incher; only one of the four employs an IPS panel (which typically offers better off-axis performance). Ignore the room reflections and guess which one.

The M-series also includes 32-, 40-, and 47-inch models, which are 2D only.

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Jan 08, 2013 1 comments
You might mistake it for a high-end Blu-ray player at first glance but, no, the Parasound Halo CD 1 introduced at CES 2013 is definitely a Compact Disc player (remember those?) and it costs $4,500. Designed in collaboration with Holm Acoustics of Copenhagen, Denmark, the player uses a Linux-based computer running proprietary software and a CD ROM drive running four times the speed of a conventional CD drive to read and process data in a new way. Vast amounts of data are analyzed and read multiple times to reduce errors and, in turn, the negative effects of error concealment. The result is said to be a nearly bit-perfect data stream.

In keeping with the high-end legacy of the company's Halo line, the C1 has a heavily shielded aluminum chassis, separate power supplies for its analog and digital sections and several output options, including balanced XLR, gold-plated RCAs for analog, and digital audio via BNC, coaxial and optical connectors. A novel “Discrete OpAmp” selector offers a choice between listening to the analog outputs directly from the player’s low-noise op-amps or via discrete transistor output stages.

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 07, 2013 0 comments
Call it a wireless musical gulleywasher. NuVo’s (accurately but very dryly named “Wireless Audio System”) uses both dual-band Wi-Fi and MIMO technologies to transmit up to 16 simultaneous audio streams at 600 kbps each, a feat that NuVo claims is the highest throughput of any Wi-Fi music network system. The system connects to home networks to play iTunes and Windows Media libraries and to the internet to access streaming services (Pandora, Rhapsody, SiriusXM, etc.) The system consists of three primary components, including two music player devices with built-in stereo amplifiers (P200, 60-watts x 2; and P100, 20-watts x2) and a network gateway (GW100). The P200 includes built-in aptX Bluetooth technology for wireless music streaming from tablets and smartphones. Each GW100 gateway has a range of about 300 ft (enough to cover an “average” 4,000 sq ft home), and multiple GW100s can be used in combination for larger homes. Prices are: P200, $599; P100, $479; GW100, $199. And, unlike when I first saw (and really liked) the system at CEDIA last year, NuVo says the Wireless Audio System is shipping now.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 07, 2013 0 comments
Thanks to a bit of serendipitous timing, GoldenEar Technology's Sandy Gross gave a lucky trio of us a sneak peak at (and a quick listen to) the company’s newest tower speaker, the Triton Seven. Although the speaker is short on inches compared to the other Triton Towers (it’s only 40 1/4 inches tall) and is the first GoldenEar tower to come without a built-in powered subwoofer, the new Triton Seven is extremely long on performance. The Seven features a D’Appolito array of two 5.25-inch bass-midrange drivers above/below the same High Velocity Folded Ribbon Driver (HVFR) tweeter that’s in the taller Triton Two and Three siblings. Bass output is enhanced by a pair of side-mounted sub-bass radiators placed near the floor on the sides of the angled cabinet.

The clarity of sound and super-silky imaging definitely make the new Seven speaker a worthy addition to the stunning Triton family, but the depth and authenticity of the bass response makes it hard to believe there’s not a built-in powered subwoofer hidden behind the grille cloth. Even though we were limited on time for the demo and it’s always hard to truly evaluate speakers in a show environment, the combination of modest dimensions, phenomenal sound, and high affordability ($699.99 each), make it a good bet that the Triton Seven Tower is going to be on nearly everyone’s short list for Speaker of the Year in 2013.

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Jan 07, 2013 0 comments
When it comes to headphones, for Monster it’s all about fashion with lots of color and style, a parade of headphone-wearing models, celebrity endorsements and marketing—lots of marketing. A host of celebrities—including recording artist and former Prince collaborator Sheila E, boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard, America’s Got Talent host Nick Cannon and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees—were on hand at Monster’s pre-CES 2013 press event to help Monster introduce a slew of new headphones.

Highlights include the gaming-focused EA Sports MVP Carbon by Monster headphone ($270), featuring proprietary surround processing and available in black or white beginning in February/March; the in-ear ClarityMobile line with three models aimed at business travelers—a $50 model with an in-line microphone and two $70 models—slated to hit stores in April; an angular on-ear addition to the Diesel VEKTR line offered in military green and chrome ($280); three washable iSport in-ear models for the work-out crowd, ranging from $80 to $160; seven on-ear and in-ear DNA models, featuring a triangular ear cups and dual inputs that allow five ‘phones to be connected at once, ranging in price from $130 to $230; new on-ear and in-ear Bluetooth-powered wireless models with noise cancellation for the Nokia Purity line; and the youth-focused N-Pulse headphones, a new addition to the NCredible line developed with Nick Cannon and available in black or white for $200.

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Jan 07, 2013 0 comments
Dish, the satellite TV provider that pleased TV viewers and upset broadcasters last year with the introduction of the Hopper DVR that automatically skips commercials on recorded prime-time shows, today introduced a second-generation Hopper with built-in Sling capability. The upgraded box lets users watch and control live TV and DVR recordings from smartphones, tablets and PCs, essentially replicating the living room TV experience wherever they go, and has built-in Wi-Fi for accessing a home network. Dish also upgraded processor speed to 1.3 GHz, which is said to deliver the fastest guide scrolling in the pay-TV industry.

Dish officials said the new Hopper, which has a 2-terabyte hard drive that holds more than 500 hours of high-def programming, will be offered to new customers at the same price as its predecessor with no monthly fee for the Sling functionality.

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Barb Gonzalez Posted: Jan 07, 2013 0 comments
At the CES 2013 NETGEAR press conference, the company announced NeoTV PRIME, a Google TV streaming player that is available now for $129.99. Like other Google TVs, a growing number of apps can be added from the Google Play store. And like other Google TVs, it has global search to find the titles you want whether they are on live TV, streaming Internet services, web pages, or your own media on your home network.

What NETGEAR brings to the PRIME is a full access Chrome web browser. With Flash and HTML 5 plug-ins, it will (theoretically) play videos from any website (though certain websites have blocked Google TV access).

The included two-sided remote has a QWERTY keyboard, appears to be identical to the Vizio's Co-Star Google TV keyboard. The other side has a touchpad mouse control, directional navigation buttons and direct play buttons to immediately access Amazon on Demand, HBO Go, Crackle, Netflix, and YouTube. The YouTube smartphone app will have a "play to Google TV" button to send a video directly to the Google TV YouTube app. There is also a button for MyMedia that brings up the network attached storage (NAS) drives and other DLNA sources including ReadyShare available on NETGEAR routers.

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 07, 2013 0 comments
Just when you thought eating utensils couldn’t get any better than the plastic spork, HAPILABS develops the HAPIfork – “an electronic fork that monitors your eating habits…and alerts you with the help of indicator lights and gentle vibrations when you are eating too fast.” In addition to larding it over the knife and spoon, the HAPIfork also connects to your iOS/Android/Windows device and keeps track of your eating performance, or you can use an online dashboard at HAPILABS website. (Now that I think of it, it could also be used to aid in training aspiring eating contest champions…) The HAPIfork has a unique HAPIbutton that lets you track HAPImoments by pressing and holding in the HAPIbutton from 1 (“meh”) to 10 (“orgasmic”) seconds. No doubt the next HAPIgadget to appear will be a HAPIremote that will warn you when you’ve been sitting on your butt for too long in front of the TV. It should also track how often you change the channel. And how often your family fights over who gets to hold the remote control.

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