Sound bars are becoming popular for flat panel displays. While we prefer a typical setup with separate left, right, and center speakers arrayed properly across the front (which will always produce a better soundstage than any single enclosure serving all channels), that type of setup doesn't work for everyone. To that end, Definitive Technology demonstrated two new sound bars, or in their words, Mythos Solo Surround Arrays: the SSA42 ($899 for panels from 30" to 46") and SSA50 ($1099, for panels 50" and up).
Back in late July I blogged about a demo kiosk at my local Best Buy. You can scroll down and read about it. It was set up in a DirecTV promotion kiosk, but it wasn't clear whether or not it was also intended to promoting Best Buy's new video calibration services.
There was a definite shortage of home theater exhibits at this year's home entertainment show. But no shortage of interesting products. When faced with limited home theater presence, I go to plan B: look for loudspeakers. Speakers do of course, handle two types of program material in most homes: music and films. If they sound good on music that's more than half the battle. And if they don't, even Angelina Jolie can't help them.
LG’s signage more clearly explained their demos than that of most other manufacturers. The 75 series, with local dimming for improved blacks, was very impressive. It won’t be available until sometime in the second half of 2008. LG also had some of the best-looking demo material.
In my review of Samsung’s flagship UN75ES9000, 75-inch LCD-LED HDTV, I remark that potential buyers should beware of bad demos of this very expensive set ($9000). Such a demo could make it very difficult to justify the expense.
The McIntosh XRT2K speakers sounded as big as they look, driven by a pair of the company's MC2KW, 3-module, 2000W (into 8 ohms), modular monoblock amps. Each speaker has six 12" aluminum cone woofers, sixty-four titanium-cone midranges, and forty " titanium-cone tweeters. The speakers are $45,000 each (and a quarter ton of weight, or 590 lbs.). The amps will cost you $30,000 each (they're nearly as heavy as the speakers at 495 lbs.!).
As the biggest entry in its premier line of DLP rear projection HDTVs, not to mention that Mitsubishi is the last holdout in this product category, this set has to grab attention. When I was there, however, there were more passers-by than onlookers. A shame; it offers a lot for the money if you want a really big screen and space is not an issue.