On the video side, CES is a flat screen HDTV-fest, not a projector show. Nor is home theater a common site at the audio-centric Venetian Hotel exhibits, dominated by expensive 2-channel audio. But I was delighted to come across at least one superb audio/video setup. The new Gray Wolf is the latest 3D LCOS projector from Wolf Cinema, and at $8000 the company's lowest price projector to date. It looked amazing--and amazingly bright on a 132-inch wide, 2.35:1 Screen Innovations Black Diamond 0.8 gain projection screen.
The program material I viewed included the latest Mission Impossible flick (from Wolf's collection) and scenes from Prometheus. The latter was one of the three discs I had brought to the show (which also included Thor and How to Train Your Dragon. I was surprised to see a bigger crowd in the room when the selections were finished than before--given the 2-channel-centric leanings of most of those who visit the exhibits at the Venetian. (All of my choices, by the way, were based primarily on their music and visuals, not their action.)
In the TAD room at the Venetian, speaker engineer Andrew Jones was demonstrating the $30,000/pair TAD Compact reference stand-mount speaker, which features a sophisticated coaxial midrange tweeter driver with beryllium cone/dome material (Similar drivers are used in the far less expensive Pioneer speakers also designed by Jones, though they use beryllium only for the tweeter dome.
TI featured SIM2's new 3-chip 1080p projector at their booth. While it looked great for the most part, it was hard to get a handle on just how good it really is since three of the four demo clips relied heavily or entirely on computer animation, and the fourth was a grainy, oversharpened trailer for a new upcoming <I>Rocky</I> (!) movie. Rocky 12, I think. An lovely but alarmingly enthusiastic presenter extolled the praises of TI's DLP technology until my teeth hurt. This must have been for the benefit of those in this professional CEDIA audience who may have never heard of DLP before.
Every live action 3D sports broadcast will require special cameras for image capture. This one was on display in the Sony booth (though it's not made by Sony). Even the individual who has everything won't want to use it to cover that cruise of the Greek islands.
Samsung’s new model 450 plasma is said to be the first flat panel display that’s 3D-ready. The 3D image was very good, though I’m still not sure I’d want to watch many movies this way. But I suspect 3D has a big future in video games.
In these still early days of HD DVD, it's a little creepy that three of the releases have been films about bad cops: <I>Assault on Precinct 13</I>, <I>Training Day</I> (see below) and now <I>16 Blocks</I>.
I've been experiencing an unusual run of good films on standard definition DVD lately, though most are not of any special demonstration quality, nothing gets blowed-up real good in most of them, few were big hits, and several are set in the past. But I'm a sucker for almost any historical film or TV miniseries (HBO's two part <I>Elizabeth I</I> resides on the HD PVR in my cable box even now waiting for me to find the 4 hours I need to invest in watching it!)
When a rogue Russian extremist seizes control of enough of Russia's armaments to nuke the US, the <I>USS Alabama</I>, along with other nuclear missile subs, is sent in harm's way as a deterrent or possibly even a first-strike weapon to take out the Russian missiles before they can be launched.