Photos by Tony Cordoza With the popularity of flat-panel TVs exploding and companies straining to create speakers that will mate with the unobtrusive sets, it seems like the era of hulking home theater gear - towering speakers, massive subwoofers, video projectors hovering above your head like an F-15 - is over.
AT A GLANCE Plus
Spacious bipolar sound
Ample bass for a desktop speaker
Slightly edgy midrange at high volume levels
Def Tech’s desktop speaker succeeds in bringing dynamic hi-fi sound to the home office.
Most early examples of desktop computer speakers were funny-looking, bad-sounding, cheaply constructed things. There were exceptions (models from Audioengine come to mind), but these tended to be rare. Although things have improved somewhat since then, any new desktop speaker trying to earn some respect still has its work cut out for it.
Along with a deluge of bigger, flatter HDTVs of various technological stripes, a hot TV news item at CES 2005 was the arrival of digital cable-ready TVs with slots for a CableCARD. This credit-card-size device was designed to eliminate set-top cable decoders - those ugly black boxes that have squatted, like parasites, on or below our TVs for the past two decades.
Digital Projection showcased its two newest DLP projectors at CEDIA, the updated single-chip M-Vision Cine LED1000 ($12,995) and the 3-chip Titan 1080P LED 3D ($80,000). And when I say showcase, I mean showcase: Both PJs were projecting images on a huge 165-inch screen that made you feel as if you were sitting in a real cinema.
Q I am building out a dedicated 7.2-channel home theater and was planning on buying dipolar surround speakers to help “spray” sound along the side and back walls. After reading a few articles on Dolby Atmos, however, it seems that direct-radiating speakers would be the more appropriate option since they can better pinpoint objects in the room. Am I correct in thinking that direct-radiating speakers would serve better in an Atmos environment, or do I have things totally wrong? —Adam Tremai / via e-mail
Drones are big news these days (a recent 60 Minutes piece on Amazon’s drone package-delivery plans drove the hype machine to full throttle), so it comes as no surprise that drones—or Unmanned Aerial Systems, as manufacturers of consumer-grade drones like to call them—are a category here at CES. One maker, DJI, even held a press conference to introduce its new Phantom 2 Vision, a quadcopter with a built-in 14 megapixel camera capable of recording 1080p video (4 GB micro SD card included).
Everybody wants a monster-size HDTV, so it came as no surprise when readers wrote in asking for head-to-head comparisons of the big-screen HDTV technologies. The first round came with "Plasma vs. LCD" (February/March, available on the S&V Web site). After reading our unflinching test of those popular types of hang-on-the-wall TVs, you asked to see LCD take on DLP.
Q I recently went to my local electronics store to check out the TVs. Every set, whether 4K or 1080p, was displaying 4K programming, and I have to say that even the 1080p sets looked great when showing 4K. Here’s my question: Do 1080p TVs downscale 4K video, or does the 4K server perform that function before passing the signal on to the TV? —Bill Carman / via e-mail
Q I am in the market for a new 3D player and have been looking at the Oppo 103 and 103D. But the various online forums I’ve visited all say that there is hardly any picture quality difference between the Oppos and other Blu-ray players like those from Sony and Panasonic. Is that true? —Joe Montanez / via email